[Videolib]

MileFilms@aol.com
Thu, 3 Jul 2003 13:09:43 EDT

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In a message dated 7/3/03 9:49:27 AM, jrosner@kino.com writes:

> I believe NAATA is hypocritical in condemning the Fox Chan series
> as perpetuating racist stereotypes WHILE at the same time often supporting
> and encouraging research & presentations of films starring Anna May Wong &
> Sessue Hayakawa, the two seminal figures in Asian American film history
> In many of their films both portrayed the worst kind of Asian stereotype
> lustful, greedy, evil figures out to destroy white Christian society. NAATA
> feels THESE films should be studied but the Fox Chan's in which the Asian
> character is smart ,sympathetic and heroic should be banned largely because
> a white actor plays the lead.
>

Jessica,
Okay, this is where I have to step in and strongly disagree. A blanket
statement about Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa's contribution to cinema just to
attack NAATA is just as wrong-headed as any statement NAATA has made. (And
coincidently, our mutual friend making the documentary on Anna just called me as
I'm writing this...)

Working on two of their films and studying the rest of their work, it's true
that there are works in their career I'm sure they'd would look back on today
(if they weren't already dead) and regret, but Hayakawa's own productions and
several of Wong's films are quite remarkably advanced for the time. The fact
that they were big stars in Hollywood and around the world during an era where
options for non-white actors were limited, is enough reason to study and make
documentaries about them.

As for NAATA, they have every right (or wrong) to excercize free speech and
protest -- I'm surprised people are attacking them for doing so. It's certainly
something I would do if a distributor or broadcaster showed films from the
Third Reich or Stalinist era without any context. Not to confuse Charlie Chan
with Jew Struss, but NAATA can protest, and Fox can stand up for what they
believe in and what is right -- if they believed in anything, of course. They
certainly were willing to take a brave stance with Jar Jar Blinks when they were
grossing millions of dollars with Star Wars Phantom Menace. ;-)

So the disturbing fact -- though long obvious at most of the studios -- is
that Fox caved in because they have no moral or intellectual imperative to what
they show or why. The days of Bill Paley at CBS are definitely over. Turner
Classic Movies, when they showed Birth of a Nation, had a wrap-around featuring
a film scholar as well as director Charles Burnett discussing the pros and
cons of the film -- they even left in Charles suggesting that Turner shouldn't
even be showing it in the first place! This is good broadcasting (and the people
at TCM are indeed remarkable).

Fox bent to pressure because they have no real ethical backbone. That's why I
sent a letter of protest.

(And by the way, I have seen the Charlie Chan films as well.)

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
www.milestonefilms.com

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In a message dated 7/3/03 9:49:27 AM, jrosner= @kino.com writes:

I believe NAATA is hy= pocritical in condemning the Fox Chan series
as perpetuating racist stereotypes WHILE at the same time often supporting and encouraging research & presentations of films starring Anna May Wong= &
Sessue Hayakawa, the two seminal figures in Asian American film history
In many of their films both portrayed the worst kind of Asian stereotype
lustful, greedy, evil figures out to destroy white Christian society. NAATA<= BR> feels THESE films should be studied but the Fox Chan's in which the Asian character is smart ,sympathetic and heroic should be banned largely because<= BR> a white actor plays the lead.


Jessica,
Okay, this is where I have to step in and strongly disagree. A blanket st= atement about Anna May Wong and Sessue Hayakawa's contribution to cinema jus= t to attack NAATA is just as wrong-headed as any statement NAATA has made. (= And coincidently, our mutual friend making the documentary on Anna just call= ed me as I'm writing this...)

Working on two of their films and studying the rest of their work, it's true= that there are works in their career I'm sure they'd would look back on tod= ay (if they weren't already dead) and regret, but Hayakawa's own productions= and several of Wong's films are quite remarkably advanced for the time. The= fact that they were big stars in Hollywood and around the world during an e= ra where options for non-white actors were limited, is enough reason to stud= y and make documentaries about them.

As for NAATA, they have every right (or wrong) to excercize free speech and=20= protest -- I'm surprised people are attacking them for doing so. It's certai= nly something I would do if a distributor or broadcaster showed films from t= he Third Reich or Stalinist era without any context. Not to confuse Charlie=20= Chan with Jew Struss, but NAATA can protest, and Fox can stand up for what t= hey believe in and what is right -- if they believed in anything, of course.= They certainly were willing to take a brave stance with Jar Jar Blinks when= they were grossing millions of dollars with Star Wars Phantom Menace. ;-)
So the disturbing fact -- though long obvious at most of the studios -- is t= hat Fox caved in because they have no moral or intellectual imperative to wh= at they show or why. The days of Bill Paley at CBS are definitely over. Turn= er Classic Movies, when they showed Birth of a Nation, had a wrap-around fea= turing a film scholar as well as director Charles Burnett discussing the pro= s and cons of the film -- they even left in Charles suggesting that Turner s= houldn't even be showing it in the first place! This is good broadcasting (a= nd the people at TCM are indeed remarkable).

Fox bent to pressure because they have no real ethical backbone. That's why=20= I sent a letter of protest.

(And by the way, I have seen the Charlie Chan films as well.)

Dennis Doros
Milestone Film & Video
PO Box 128
Harrington Park, NJ 07640
Phone: (800) 603-1104 or (201) 767-3117
Fax: (201) 767-3035
Email: milefilms@aol.com
www.milestonefilms.com
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