Yesterday, my boyfriend and I watched Crazy Rich Asians, a film released not too long ago on August 15th.
It’s been reaching headlines and is constantly blasted on social media. Why?
THE FULL-ASIAN CAST
It’s been roughly 25 years since the last full-Asian Hollywood film was released. The Joy Luck Club was an established film, making a dent into film history with the cast’s ethnic diversity. However, it’s been long (far too long, in my opinion) until another film of its kind was released. Ethnic diversity within film and media has been a conversation in the past few years, beautifully portrayed through the iconic Black Panther. The Black Panther stirred social media with its representation, and while CRA and Black Panther are completely different genres – the shared unspoken message behind both films is powerful and needs to be heard.
Representation. What does that exactly mean?
As all films, the way you perceive/analyze/feel about it is different from others. To me, that’s the quality of art mediums, film being one of them. For me, it felt special to watch a rom-com with beautiful Asian folks and recognize my similarities with them. It goes beyond the appearance spectrum, but for an American-raised Asian like me – this film hit really hard. The jokes, the phrases, they all got to me. They target what it feels like to be labeled as a “foreigner”, despite speaking your mother’s native tongue. They depict the harsh realities of family history vs. the nature of your upbringing. It’s frustrating, complex, and awfully unique.
For me, this film represented a great load about me. I could see myself in the film, a perception I haven’t gained in the mainstream media of Hollywood. And this feeling, it’s worthy of holding onto. And definitely worthy of recreating for other folks.
FOR FUTURE FILM
I hope my younger sisters can grow up, saving their allowance, to go sit at a movie theatre showcasing films they find common ground with. It can be a feeling, a situation, a character – I want them to know that there’s more than just white folks on the screen. That folks of all identities can be portrayed, and in more perspectives than just an African American slave story, a single-mother Hispanic working at an American diner, or Southeast Asians in exoticized documentaries.
I want to see films that make me feel special, that remind me that Asian/Asian-American/Pan-Asians are highlighted in the “melting pot” of American “culture”. That we are special enough to be highlighted at all, and not just as a Stanford violin prodigy.
We are meant to talk about art, if it’s not talked about – then why is it created at all?
Art is meant to be criticized, loved, and cause an uproar of emotions. It’s meant to make us feel. I want more films that create space for a variety of individuals to feel. Crazy Rich Asians allowed me to feel. And I loved it.
With much love,
*Featured image was taken from the IMDB profile of CRA.