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Need help for a paper, re: Asian American Cinema

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Need help for a paper, re: Asian American Cinema

Old 12-07-05, 12:01 PM
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Need help for a paper, re: Asian American Cinema

hey guys, i could use some advice in finding any movies or articles/books you might be familiar with regarding the subject i have chosen to write my final paper on for a course on Asian American Cinema. i'm basically looking to explore the notion of what it means in Hollywood to be "asian american," and want to look into the ideas as to why the Middle East is not considered Asian. I have a bunch of films with Chinese- and Japanese-American actors that I plan to reference, however I am having trouble finding films where there are actors of Middle Eastern descent portrayed in American films - the best one I have thus far is The Siege (the Denzel Washington film). I know Natalie Portman is Israeli, but as far as I know she is always portrayed as a white American (a point I plan to use, but I still need more films to reference). thanks for any help-
Old 12-07-05, 08:16 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...li_backgrounds

Are you sticking mainly with actors or can you use directors and producers?
Old 12-08-05, 02:24 AM
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mainly actors, because i'm trying to focus on how Middle Eastern actors are portrayed in their roles specific to their casting in the Hollywood system. and thanks for the link, its good stuff. i always forget about wikipedia.
Old 12-08-05, 02:41 AM
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Off the top my head - Tony Shaloub - Monk, Spy Kids -Lebanese
Three Kings might have a couple actors, though they may be from N. Africa now that I think about it.

Maybe hit up some professors at the other universities with Middle Eastern/Asian Studies/centers. I'm sure one of them must of written a scholary book you can cite.

http://blogs.nitle.org/almusharaka/a...s/2003_10.html
Old 12-08-05, 02:56 AM
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oded fehr is israeli.

and the reason why, the middle east is split of from the rest of asia is just convention. just like western european is split off from eastern europeans sometimes. around here, the middle east, south asia (india, pakistan), east asia (china, japan, korea) and now southeast asia (indonesia, malaysia, thailand, philippines, et al) are sometimes classified into distinct regions. asia is a big place. but during the Asian games (our version of the Olympics) everybody competes from Israel to Kazakhstan to us here in Manila. Russia, on the other hand, is considered european even though a lot of their country is in Asia. Not like we really want to compete against them in sports.

countries competing in the Asian games

Last edited by joeydaninja; 12-08-05 at 02:59 AM.
Old 12-08-05, 03:05 AM
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Well, with regards to Portman, she may have been born in Israel, but she was raised in the U.S. How people look and speak have more to do with who they portray than where they were born. You don't see Charlize Theron portraying an African, after all.

I think it may be because the people who started calling themselves "Asian Americans" had roots in the Far East, not the Middle East. Many Americans with Middle Eastern roots call themselves "Arab-Americans" (I think). It's not that the Middle East isn't part of Asia (except for Egypt, which is in Africa), it has more to do with what "Asian-American" is supposed to mean.

Oh, and speaking of Egypt, that's where Omar Sharif is from. You have to mention Lawrence of Arabia in the paper somewhere, don't you?
Old 12-08-05, 03:16 AM
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I remember when the BBC used to report about Asian riots in London, I used to get confused because they looked mostly Indian to me. And then when I thought about it, India is part of Asia too. It's just that when we think of Asian we think Oriental or perhaps even Malay. For awhile I also got a kick out of the difference between an American Indian and an Indian American. So like Drexl said, the Arabians decided on Arab-American. And culturally and racially, the Arabs, Indians, Orientals and Malays are really quite different.

Just like when people talk about American filmmaking, they usually only consider films made in the U.S.A. when Mexico, Guatemala, Canada et al. are all part of America.

Last edited by joeydaninja; 12-08-05 at 03:24 AM.
Old 12-08-05, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by joeydaninja

Just like when people talk about American filmmaking, they usually only consider films made in the U.S.A. when Mexico, Guatemala, Canada et al. are all part of America.

But none of those contries call themselves American. They would say Mexican or Guatemalan or Canadian. The Americas is a different term


As to the topic on hand. You could consider some Indian films as there are a ton that come out of Bollywood. And a couple like Bend it like Beckam that are more westernized.

You gotta mention Joy Luck Club. Maybe some films about WWII would fit in as well such as Tora! Tora! Tora! or Midway. Try doing some research into specific actors such as Pat Morita or George Takei. I'm sure some of the have autobiographies.
Old 12-08-05, 08:05 AM
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Although I have not seen in, Better Luck Tomorrow comes to mind immediately.
Old 12-08-05, 11:03 AM
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Thanks for all the help guys, given me a lot to think about, and that Asia Games site adds a new perspective, cool stuff. To the above poster, if you haven't seen Better Luck Tomorrow, please do so when you have a chance, great movie and interesting effect in trying to deconstruct the model minority myth...also read Ebert's review of it from Sundance if you get a chance, very interesting stuff.

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