Hawaii Film Blog

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Cultural Insensitivity

Kayo Hatta, who died last week, was not only a talented filmmaker, but an advocate for Asian America. Some may remember Hatta objecting to Miramax's decision to promote "Picture Bride's" video release with artwork featuring an exoticized, mostly nude Asian woman. Hatta told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in 1999, "That photo was horrendous; they made it look like soft porn." AsianWeek's Philip Chung recently named this move by Miramax as one of "Hollywood's 25 Worst Asian Pacific American Blunders":

Japanese American filmmaker Kayo Hatta made a splash with audiences at Sundance with her 1994 debut feature Picture Bride, prompting indie powerhouse Miramax Films to purchase and release Hatta’s sensitive story about a Japanese picture bride who comes to Hawai‘i in the early 1900s. Miramax’s marketing campaign for the video release tried to “sex up” the film with artwork on the package emphasizing the back of a nude Asian woman — something which had nothing to do with the film itself. Asian American critics, including Hatta herself, cried foul at the blatant misrepresentation, but the brothers Weinstein refused to budge.

Take a look at the rest of AsianWeek's top 25 racist flubs: Part 1; Part 2. Asians, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and other ethnic minorities have long battled with (and are still battling) racist and stereotypical depictions of themselves in film and television. Check out (and add to) the list of the latest offenders in ModelMinority.com's Asian American Media Stereotypes Database.

>> Hollywood's 25 Worst APA Blunders, Part 1 [AsianWeek, 2/25/05]
>> Hollywood's 25 Worst APA Blunders, Part 2 [AsianWeek, 3/4/05]
>> Asian American Media Stereotypes Database

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