Director Wes Anderson’s latest film,’ Isle of Dogs ‘ was accused of cultural appropriation by a film critic.
Celebrated director Wes Anderson’s latest film “Isle of Dogs” was accused of cultural appropriation by a film critic.
Justin Chang, who critique movies for the Los Angeles Times wrote the film is “beautiful”, but “cultural sensitivity is lost in the translation.”
“Frankly, these white-American filmmaker is to be very selective, idiosyncratic view of an East Asian society form a sincere act of tribute, or a clueless failure of the sensitivity?” Chang wrote.
The film, which is set in Japan, 20 years in the future follows a group of dogs that are relegated to the “Trash Island” after-canine-borne illness breaks out in the country. The voices of the dogs are A-list crowd such as Edward Norton, Scarlett Johannsen, Bill Murray and Bryan Cranston.
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Chang wrote the people in the film speak Japanese, but English subtitles are strangely omitted from the screen. However, the dogs speak English, which Chang found “ridiculous.”
“The dogs, for their part, all speak clear American English, which is ridiculous, charming, and a little revealing,” he wrote. “You can understand why a writer as distinctive as Anderson would not wish to be playful way with the English language to get lost in translation. But all of these compagnie linguistic layers amount to their own form of marginalization, it can effectively reduce the unfortunate, unsuspecting people of Megasaki [the film is fictional Japanese city of] foreigners in their own city.”
The film follows a group of dogs exiled from Japan after a disease breaks out.
Chang wrapped the review by noting he understood the film was set in the “Wes Anderson Land,” but “some parts are less fun than others, and what we see of the ‘Isle of Dogs’ is finally ugly ways than what even the author could have intended.”
After the review, which was published on Wednesday, Chang took to Twitter to clear in his analysis of the film.
“Frankly, these white-American filmmaker is to be very selective, idiosyncratic view of an East Asian society form a sincere act of tribute, or a clueless failure of the sensitivity?”
– Justin Chang
“My problem is not that Anderson is the set of a movie in Japan, but how he went about it.”
“My job is to assess what is happening on the screen, not the intentions behind it, but since you ask, I do not think that Anderson’s were malicious,” he wrote. “My main problem — the treatment of language — feels like the result of a compromise, instead of blunt negligence, or a desire to give offense.”
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Chang’s co-worker Jen Yamato, supported Chang’s review and thanked the writer for “paying a lot more attention than most critics will see much of the design faithful ways Wes Anderson appropriates and marginalizes the Japanese culture and the people in his so-called tribute. It is ugly indeed.”
#IsleOfDogs: Thank you @JustinCChang for paying a lot more attention than most critics will see much of the design faithful ways Wes Anderson appropriates and marginalizes the Japanese culture and the people in his so-called tribute. It is ugly, indeed. https://t.co/GtbWVg40YF
— jen yamato (@jenyamato) March 22, 2018
Other publications praised the film, including The New York Times and Rolling Stone. However, Vox said that the film lacked depth and The Washington Post said, the film is the script “feels less like an organic whole than an attempt to build a lean central starting point until it felt like a movie.”
The film currently has a 97 percent rating on Rotten tomatoes.