I respect the audience's intelligence a lot, and that's why I don't try to go for the lowest common denominator~Spike Lee
I used Spike Lee's quote for this piece because well...read on.
Film. Movies. I love them. My friends love them. Most people do. I have not met a person who has said "I hate movies man, they make me sick man". No never heard that. If you hate films...too bad for your life.
In the last couple of years there have been a kind of resurgence of films with black actors in leading roles. I like Madea and her gang sometimes, but those movies are not what I am talking about. I have also noticed that the number of Asian actors has started to increase, unfortunately they are not yet leads in major motion pictures. I am not talking about the movies that you intelligent people find and watch, I am talking about movies at the cinema; the movies that are shown to mass audiences. Here in Korea, in this homogeneous society, films that show America's dark past of enslaving Africans and racism have been popping up quite frequently and the reception has been...well...interesting. Now, I did not conduct a poll or study of hundreds of people, but I did observe.
When Django Unchained premiered in Seoul last year, Koreans flocked to see it. Why? Because it was an awesome movie? Oh wait, I know Jamie Foxx was in it? Oh Oh, Quentin Tarantino directed it? No, no no....LEONARDO DiCAPRIO. That's why. But wait...is that a poster in the back that says "I love Django"?
I, personally, loved Django Unchained. And I will be honest, I saw it for the first time like four days ago. Stop judging. Anyway, I decided to watch it after I saw the commercial for 12 Years a Slave on my Korean television. A few months back, when I went to see Thor at the theatre, there were posters everywhere for The Butler. I was like...ok then. Suprise surprise. At the Music/DVD store (these still exist and are very popular in Korea) there were copies of a boat load of "black films".Sidenote*China had many of the "violent" scenes edited or deleted for its audience. Then, they pulled the film from theatres, only to release it again a month later.
Yet, I wonder: without the "Leonardo DiCaprio" factor can these films do as well as Django? Could Django have stood a chance in the Asian market without the Leo factor? I understand that when you spend millions of dollars on a film you must use your best marketing tools to turn a profit. Maybe Brad Pitt will have to make a trip to Korea. Even though he is in 12 Year a Slave for all of 15 seconds.
The point is many black folks love Asian Drama (We have been down the road of the obsession with Korean-Everything). Its fine to love the movies, dramas, and music...I do. But is it fair that they don't give two scoops of poop about our stuff. Am I generalizing? Should we expect Asian audiences to understand and have in-depth conversations about the African experience in America? Or should we just be happy that they are watching even if only to see the Leonardo DiCaprios?
What do you guys think? Should we respect the audience's intelligence?
Until next time, Good People