Remember the Chinese artist who was suing DreamWorks for its disgraceful portrayal of China’s national symbol in Kung Fu Panda? Well, it seems the film is still seen as being at odds with traditional views, even though it’s the country’s top-grossing animated flick.
LA Times: The idea of making a film in which the hero, a Chinese national symbol, is a bit of a slouch just doesn’t wash. Which is also something Po isn’t particularly good at.
“Both Asia and the West have elite culture, but in China, Confucian forms dominate,” said Zhang Nian, a culture critic. “This panda is a flunky who haggles for his own selfish ends.”
Chinese film heroes are generally long on perfection and short on foibles. The men are handsome and robust and the women fair and graceful. And they generally don’t have Po’s willpower problem, eating disorders or tendency to run from danger…
Added to the no-no list for Chinese animators is raciness, particularly in a children’s movie. Witness Po’s joking use of noodle bowls to simulate breasts and his bid to protect his family jewels — known in Chinese as “little brothers” — in the middle of a fight…
Another creative gap centres on the film’s portrayal of teachers.
The idea that Po would lift a hand to his kung fu teacher, a raccoon named Shifu, is beyond the pale in Confucian China, with its deep respect for elders. Nor would a teacher in a Chinese film be so “weak” as to show sympathy for the evil snow leopard character, Tai Lung.
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