[dropcap size=big]A[/dropcap]fter decades of being kept in the dark, a revolutionary story of cultural representation and authenticity has emerged that has not only awoken Hollywood but the world. All thanks to Warner Bros. alongside Director Jon M. Chu and author Kevin Kwan for bringing to life a story that finally exposes the rich culture of the East. They had faith in the impact of the narrative to the extent that they turned down a huge deal at Netflix in order to have it released in theaters.
According to Forbes, Crazy Rich Asians is the leading studio produced rom-com, earning approximately $126,452,165 as of its 3rd week in the box office and the response worldwide has been off the charts, leading to them fast-tracking a sequel.
They had faith in the impact of the narrative to the extent that they turned down a huge deal at Netflix…
A Cut Above the Rest
This romantic comedy tells the tale of Rachel Chu, a middle-class Chinese-American girl from New York who embarked on an adventure to Singapore to meet her Asian-born boyfriend’s opulent and traditionalist family.
The story is not rocket science. Some skeptics even argued that it’s just a typical love story comprised of an all-Asian cast, however, it’s a story of substance that the world needs to be exposed to. Yes, it’s a boy meets girl narrative, but if people are only seeing what’s on the surface, it only goes to show that society is not ready to embrace cultural diversity.
It effectively encourages traditionalist parents to be open-minded as well as empowers Western born Chinese kids to stand up for themselves.
In Asian culture, family customs and traditions are a way of life. It is the core of one’s upbringing and it is highly respected and passed on from one generation to another. In today’s society where everything is rapidly changing – technology, environment, societal norms, sexuality – it’s hard for traditionalist families to cope and accept these changes because they are fixated on what already works for them, oftentimes resulting in family separation and retaliation. This is what Crazy Rich Asians has successfully shed a light on by giving a voice to Chinese Americans who have been rejected simply because they are not what is considered as “pure” Chinese. It effectively encourages traditionalist parents to be open-minded as well as empowers Western born Chinese kids to stand up for themselves. Not to mention, Hollywood has long been scrutinized for the lack of diversity and proper representation in its movies, and Crazy Rich Asians has proved that the audience yearns for truthful storytelling above all.
A couple of months ago, I was one of the lucky few to see this film for the first time at Warner Bros. Studio. Last April, I was also given the opportunity to attend the VIP advance screening of this film and meet the talented cast and crew who worked tirelessly to bring this amazing story to life. To say it was the best two and a half hours of my life is an understatement. Brilliant storytelling, dialogue, cinematography, production design, acting – everything. From the plant and payoff of the mother’s wedding ring, the parallelism of the principles of mahjong with Rachel’s relationship to Nick’s mother, Astrid being a strong independent woman undefined by a man, eccentric characters that represent real personas in every Asian family, and the hawker scene that symbolizes the reality that food brings people together despite their social classes.
…Director Jon M. Chu said that this story will be the catalyst that will greatly change how studios greenlight projects…
I cannot emphasize enough the fact that Director Jon M. Chu and Author Kevin Kwan are creative geniuses. During the premiere, Director Jon M. Chu said that this story will be the catalyst that will greatly change how studios greenlight projects, forcing them to diversify their slates that will cater to every audience demographic – he was right.
The magnitude of this masterpiece turned heads in one of the most complex movie markets, China, due to its notorious content regulation and censorship rules. Nonetheless, Crazy Rich Asians made the cut of their annual quota allotted for foreign films after a grueling negotiation between Warner Bros. Studio and China’s film board despite the decadence that’s involved in the story.
Beyond the picturesque sights and sounds of Asia is indeed a remarkable story…
The Chinese film industry is dubbed as the wealthiest box-office market, which is undoubtedly a huge asset to Hollywood and a crucial factor that comes into play when developing films in today’s highly competitive setting. Since the worldwide hit film is scheduled to be released in Beijing on November 30, studio executives and creatives behind this film must be pacing back and forth, hoping that Chinese audiences will fully embrace how Asian culture was represented on the silver screen.
Beyond the picturesque sights and sounds of Asia is indeed a remarkable story that reminds us of the value of respect, equality, love, friendship, and family from a whole new light.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.