Asian Invasion schill at
Wed Jan 17 22:11:23 EST 2001

Joseph Murphy notes that Kehr totally ignores contemporary Japanese films in
his NYT article on the "Asia Invasion." Having read dozens of similar movie
trend pieces in the NYT over the years, I think that, instead of a
semi-scholarly treatise, Kehr was essentially writing a round-up, under a
hot-sounding theme, of Asian films that have recently opened in New York and
elsewhere in the US. This kind of film journalism is very much
flavor-of-the-month -- and this month the flavor happens to be "Yi Yi" and
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." If Kehr had written it three years ago, he
would have no doubt featured "Hana-Bi and "Unagi" prominently, but three
years is an eternity in the journalistic trade.

The omission of Kitano, especially, is a glaring one to Asian film scholars
and buffs, but not  hugely surprising if you are looking at the Asian scene
from the American -- or particularly the New York -- end of the telescope.
Compared with any of the big Chinese names now active in Hollywood, Kitano
looms very small indeed. If "Brother" makes him box office, that may change,
of course.

I found it interesting that, though Kehr mentions animation, he passes over
the Pokemon phenomenon in silence. The first Pokemon movie, not "Life Is
Beautiful," is the highest grossing foreign-language film ever released in
North America, is it not?

I think Kehr is a conscientious critic who may well slap his forehead with
dismay when he gets e-mail from Kine-Japan members pointing out his various
sins, but I wouldn't read too much into his "Japan passing." January just
doesn't happen to be our month.

Mark Schilling
schill at

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