There are probably four or five individuals out there who weren’t utterly appalled by M. Night Shyamalan’s last film, The Village, who are excited about the release of his newest film, Lady and the Water. Those who absolutely loathed the previous film will have no problem hating this movie too, though, it isn’t as horrible (kinda).
With this new film, however, M. Night involves himself in one of the worst crimes in cinematic history – the stereotyping of a certain ethnic group. We crackers have been doing it for a long time. Watch the westerns of the old days, when “enjuns” (Native Americans) flopped about, hooting and hollering crazy things, with feathers in their head, and so on. Surely this wasn’t the life of a Native American in the Wild West but it’s how we whiteys portrayed them.
Another one that is pretty common is the Asian stereotype. Two of the characters in Lady and the Water happen to be a mother-daughter pair of Koreans Americans (I think, as a friend and I had to search the internet for a possible answer). As I discussed this issue with fellow Film Threat scribe, Stina Chyn, she called what I had described to her of this family, “FOBs”. Fresh of the Boat immigrants. The mother in the film spoke Korean and Korean only (again, I could be wrong, as the film never specifies or it did so when I attempting suicide). The daughter, a so-called college student, spoke English with a horrifically white-sounding Asian accent. She would do typical things that the average white first-grader would mimic from cartoons.
Sayings like, “Young-Soon (her character name) work real hard in school.” People were laughing at the screening almost every time she appeared on screen. Was it supposed to be funny? If it was, only the whiteys in the audience were laughing.
Um, living in the city I do, I know plenty of FOBs and they never, never, refer to themselves in the third person. M. Night himself is an FOB, as he was indeed born in India (according to the IMDB). Does he wander about saying crap like, “M. Night make a movie with a real good ending. M. Night will make a movie about the 1800s but it will really be present day. M. Night will fool the world!”
Another thing crackers usually do when it comes to making fun of Asian immigrants is by having them use “R” sounds a lot. Ever see Christmas Story? “Fa ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra ra.” M. Night stayed away from this one thankfully.
I watched this film with one of my friends who happens to be half Chinese, half Vietmanese. Every time this character came on screen, she squirmed in her seat. She asked me at one point, “Shouldn’t he know better?” I agreed.
Even though, there is nothing I can do about it. Congratulations M. Night, you just brought us back a few decades. Hope it feels good. I bet he wouldn’t smile if some white filmmaker directed a film about his life, casting that white dude who made fun of Kumar (remember that guy who said, “thank you, come again” in full Indian accent?) as M. Night.
Actually, I’d give my life to see that movie.
Posted on July 21, 2006 in Blogs by Michael Ferraro
If you liked this article then you may also like the following Film Threat articles:
- WHEN AUDIENCES ATTACK AT SUNDANCE
- DANCING ON THE MOON
- CROSSING ARIZONA
- NEW AMERICAN SOLDIER
- A MOTHERCLUCKING GOOD TIME…
Popular Stories from Around the Web