Monday, December 26, 2011

mixed reviews: Lao princess

as much as i love Laos, i really don't think i will be seeing this movie.  watch the trailer for princess of Laos below and you'll see why pretty durn fast:



bad.

but what's good is reading all the crazy youtube comments under the preview.  many of them are just people of differing opinions fighting back and forth, but the best ones are the comments from the filmmaker, mychal mitchell, and wow... so many things get lost in translation.  i am going to post a few here, and so if you happen across my blog and see your comment... well, then you and you're comment are crazy. 

i will start with this -- many of the comments noted that the girl playing the princess looks mixed Lao/african american.  see some of them below:

I am not a racist person, but isn't the princess in this movie black? doesn't make sense to me. Laos is in Southeast Asia, not in Africa.

Laos in Asia not in Africa, we have no black people here.

Actually..Lao woman is Beautiful more than women in this Video^^

now just read a few of the many many responses by the filmmaker:

i just googled Laos and i found out it is in Africa.

i filmed this movie, i wrote it, i have been married to my Lao wife for 23 years......then someone who doesn't know anything about making a movie says to me (as if i'm stupid) "Laos is not in Africa" because the lead actress appears to be African American....so anyone with half a brain would think i made a movie with over 50 Laotians, have been to Wat Lao 100 times, and think i don't know where Laos is? In the words of Monday Night Football crew C'MON MAN!!!!!!!!

and

ur a 26 year old dummy go watch a show thats more befitting to your intellect like Jersey Shore

if you're trying to promote your movie, why would you go the sarcasm route? and did you really just try to say you understand Laos because you found a Lao woman who'd put up with you for 23 years? or even better: "i'm not racist, i cast 50 Lao people in a movie."

now look at this comment from a youtuber:

I'm very interested in seeing this movie but this trailor gives me a headache trying to sum up what the whole meaninng of the film is about. How is she a princess who inherited a Kingdom when there iz no more Royal Family in Laos. Was this supposed to all happen before the end of the Vietnam War Era... How come my contact Prince Solivang Sovang never mentioned anything about this history? This must be fairytale for entertainment reason, but all in all it should be an interesting watch.

here is the filmmaker's response:

Headache? The story is fiction/drama, i hope that clears your headache. Its a movie just like when you went to see Avatar the flying blue alien. The story is modern day. The untold story is the fact that the lead actress is INDEED the great granddaughter of a woman once married to Kind Sisavangvong around 1910. You can meet her family by visiting the website for the movie www.princessoflaosmovie.com. Im glad you want to see the movie. Have the prince contact me please.

here is one more from our dear filmmaker in answer to a question about when the movie would be released. this comment was coupled with a criticism that the movie was "embarrassing" due to its fictional content:

why do you want to know when an embarassing movie is coming out?....when the movie comes out just stay at home

so my point is this: now i'm not seeing this movie based on my dislike of the guy that made it. mr. mitchell - seriously, why go through all the trouble to make a movie and then bash on people for their crazy comments?  at some point, you must have realized that not everyone is going to like your film; so why not just answer all inquiries gracefully?  or next time, instead of making a film, you might want to just stay home.

but one more comment from a youtuber. i like this one - not because he still doesn't get it that this girl could be mixed-race of an african american father or mother, but because he has such a good explanation as to why she is dark-skinned:

Can a Cambodian/Khmer guy like myself try to explain this. Many peeps here can be shallow. History revealed that the first Lao Kingdom was built by dark skinned Khmers. So there you go.

Also..., during colonial times Laos has 2 kingdoms. Laung Prabang and the lesser known Champasak. The Champasak kingdom was a minor kingdom in the south. And you know how south Laos is, the lower you go the darker the skin. SPOILER ALERT: The girl is most likely from the NaChampasak Royal Lineage.


nice.

5 comments:

Lovely L said...

So many things to say...wow...where do I begin?...

Somchai said...

I think you're being too harsh. I'd see any movie by someone associated with Lao culture, especially for 23 years, if for nothing else than to give it some eyeballs. Youtube comments are like the totally wrong place to respond to anything, over run by juveniles of all ages.

Those royal families were sometimes large. Lotta spare time back in the day and not much TV to distract.

jrm said...

you might be right; maybe i am being too harsh. i think i am reacting to this because as a white person myself with about 20 years of speaking Lao and associating with Lao people, i have found that even though i understand Lao culture to some extent, at the end of the day, i am still a white guy trying to see things through a broader lense, but i know that a lot of times i don't get it right. so i think there is some defensiveness on my part in this regard, bc i don't want to come off sounding like that director.

and so i would hope that the director would understand that some of the queries aren't meant to be critical, but they're just that: questions from sincere people trying to figure things out. but i still love that last comment. the guy is totally genuine and has a pretty good rationale for the dark skin (the champasak kingdom.)

by the way, good to see you with a new blog post. and that toe picture... wow. i have to brace myself when i go on your blog just in case it's right there waiting for me.

Conan said...

i hope this movie comes to Australia! Going to get my whole family to sit around, eat paw paw salad and sticky rice and watch it on the big screen!! It's a comedy right?

jrm said...

hahaha! you know, i think it is a comedy, now that you mention it!

paw paw salad sounds better than papaya salad, even though it's the same thing! and you may be able to get it, since it will probably be a direct to dvd. ha!