Friday, 5 June 2009

Mulan, the journey of a herione

9am,Bortherton. I still cant concentrate on studying. I tried to read "Orientalism", but tired. Ok, why not a film? Mulan, Yes!

The legend of Hua Mulan is quite famous in China, which is about a young cross-dressing Chinese woman who runs away to take her father's place in the Emperor's army , and eventually, saves the country. The animated film produced by Disney is based on this story.

The story set in Han Dynasty, while Shan Yu invades china , the emperor conscript the male soilders all over the country. Having no son to fight, Mulan''s father is forced to enlist despite his age and disability. In order to protect her father and family, Mulan poses as a man and flees to join the army in his place.

During the time in the army, she overcomes many obstacles . At first, she has to disguize as man in the army and not to be found out. Secondly, she is physically challenged during the training. Nevertherless, she overcomed and eventually saves everybody and the country by using her intelligence and skills. Owing to her prominent deed in fighting Shan Yu, she is rewarded the emperor's crest and Shan Yu's sword. The king offers her a job in cabinet position as well which is at last refused by Mulan.

"You don't meet a girl like THAT every dynasty",advising by the emperor , Shang , the captain who Mulan likes, followes Mulan to return her hometown. Thus, eventually, it's a story with a happy ending which praises love, loyalty,courage, fame. The girl is shaped as a model who devotes to family, country, which are the main concepts in Confucianism.

Clearly, it's a sucessful film, at least it won Chinese audiences(It was said that Disney wanted to smooth the relationship with Chinese goverment after being accused the production of Kundun, the story about Dalai Lama). Moreover, I have to say, it's a film makes me laugh, and relaxed, even cheered me up. It's a fun film with good narrativation, sound effect and design. In all, it's a American story about a heroine who defeat the evil and saves the world , added Chinese traditional elements such as Kongfu , history. Mulan, is a counterpart of Michelle Yoeh? Anyway, it doesn't matter as long as it's a good film to amuse audiences.

However, while watching the film , I am thinking about how western people portray east. 1, While Mulan and her teammembers made up as women to rescue the emperor, why do they appear as Japanese Geisha? 2. the cherry flowers in Mulan's home, is no doubt like the flowers in Japan, not China. Haha.. For western people, the easterns are probably the similiar. 3. I can't forget the eyes of Mulan, really like Lucy Liu. The typical eyes who ancient chinese prefer, afterwards Western people like, and can be found from Chinese girls in all western films. What a typical eyes.. 4. when Mulan was discovered as a girl, she was supposed to excute despite her achievement in war. What a shame! The poor status of female has been shown or criticized in this part of the film .

At last, I was touched by the eastern virtues presented in this film. Love, Faith, Courage, Be loyal to country and family....those virtues we knew by heart gradually has fading away under the impact of western and commercial cultures. From the button of my heart, I recogonize and appreciate those virtues. East culture, for me, likes the old white-haired emperor, who is benevolent, amiable, tolerant, knowledgable and wise.

P.S I recomend an interesting article on http://www.worsethanqueer.com/slander/mulan.

1 comment:

Molly said...

That's really interesting! And so funny about the Japanese Geishas and cherry blossoms, hahaha! Disney isn't very accurate, is it? But at least they've had a Chinese heroine--they've never had a Black or Hispanic one.
Your research sounds really interesting! Good luck!