您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 观点 >> 正文

亚裔美国人需要更多属于他们的“平庸”电影

更新时间:2018-8-23 20:06:55 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Asian-Americans Need More Movies, Even Mediocre Ones
亚裔美国人需要更多属于他们的“平庸”电影

If you are Asian-American, you have most likely heard of a movie called “Crazy Rich Asians,” based on the popular novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan. If you are not Asian-American, maybe you are wondering why a romantic comedy is causing so much excitement. If you are saying to yourself that it’s just a movie, you probably take for granted that there are many movies that feature people like you. For Asian-Americans, however, one movie can be of enormous consequence.

如果你是亚裔美国人,你很可能听说过一部名为《疯狂的亚洲富人》的电影,改编自凯文·关(Kevin Kwan)同名畅销小说。如果你不是亚裔美国人,也许你想知道,为什么一部浪漫喜剧会令人们如此兴奋。如果你告诉自己,这只是一部电影,你可能会想当然地认为有很多电影里都有像你这样的人。然而,对于亚裔美国人来说,一部电影可能会产生巨大的影响。

One of the movie’s stars, Constance Wu, explained that the importance of “Crazy Rich Asians,” with its all-Asian-American cast, comes from a desire for “narrative plenitude.”

该片主演之一吴恬敏(Constance Wu)解释说,《疯狂的亚洲富人》和它的全亚裔阵容之所以重要,是因为对“丰富叙事”的渴望。

I came up with that idea in my book “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.” Narrative plenitude is what makes it possible for Hollywood to make so many Vietnam War movies. Not just “Apocalypse Now” and “The Deer Hunter” but also “Platoon” and “Full Metal Jacket” and “Rambo.” They are all set in Vietnam, and some of them are excellent works of art, but they are all dramas of white American masculinity. The Vietnamese are extras in these movies, who exist only to mutter, grunt, groan, curse and jabber incomprehensibly until they are rescued, raped or killed.

我在我的书《万物永在:越南与它的战争记忆》中提出了这个想法。叙事的丰富性使好莱坞有可能拍出这么多越战题材的电影。不只是《现代启示录》和《猎鹿人》,还有《野战排》和《全金属外壳》和《第一滴血》。它们都以越南为背景,其中一些是优秀的艺术作品,但他们都是关于美国白人男子气概的故事。越南人是这些电影中的临时演员,他们的存在只是为了含糊不清地咕哝、嘟囔、呻吟、诅咒和喋喋不休,直到他们被解救、强奸或杀害。

But these are American movies, you might say. Of course they should be about Americans. That does not explain why blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, women or yes, Asian-Americans, all of whom served in the American military, barely appear in these movies.

但你可能会说,这些都是美国电影。当然,他们应该关注美国人。这并不能解释为什么黑人、拉丁美洲人、印第安人、妇女,当然还有亚裔美国人——他们都曾在美国军队服役——很少出现在这些电影中。

It matters because I, and most other Asian-Americans, grew up and still live in the opposite of “narrative plenitude.” We live in an economy of narrative scarcity, in which we feel deprived and must fight to tell our own stories and fight against the stories that distort or erase us. Many Americans will take these Asian images — which are usually awful — and transfer them to any Asian-American they encounter.

这很重要,因为我和其他大多数亚裔美国人在与“丰富叙事”相反的社会中长大,并仍处在这样的环境中。我们生活在一个叙事匮乏的经济中,我们感到被剥夺,必须争取讲述自己的故事,抵制对我们的故事的扭曲或消除——因为许多美国人会把这些故事中亚洲人的样子(通常很糟糕)转接到他们遇到的任何亚裔美国人身上。

The most notorious examples are characters like the Japanese landlord in 1961’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” played by a bucktoothed, slant-eyed Mickey Rooney, or the heavily accented foreign student Long Duk Dong of 1984’s “Sixteen Candles,” who was at least played by an Asian-American, Gedde Watanabe. Many Asian-Americans winced at these portrayals, knowing that they might be subjected to the slant-eyed, bucktoothed, ching-chong mockery of their classmates or random people, including adults.

最臭名昭著的例子包括1961年的电影《蒂凡尼的早餐》(Breakfast at Tiffany’s)里的日本房东,由龅牙、斜眼的米基·鲁尼(Mickey Rooney)饰演,还有1984年《十六支蜡烛》(Sixteen Candles)里操着浓重口音的外国学生龙德东(音),他至少是由亚裔美国演员渡边戈登(Gedde Watanabe)饰演的。许多亚裔美国人看了这些描绘,不由得蹙起眉头,因为他们知道,他们可能会受到同学或随便什么人(包括成年人)的嘲笑,当着他们的面模仿眯缝眼、龅牙和口音。

This is narrative scarcity — the lack of characters who looked like us, and when they looked like us, were not really human.

这是一种匮乏叙事——缺少看起来像是我们的角色,而当那些角色看起来像我们时,并不具有真正的人性。

One solution was to change how stories were told. I remember my shock and joy at reading “The Joy Luck Club,” Amy Tan’s best-selling novel, when I was 18. I never even knew there were Asian-American writers (there were actually many before her). Then Wayne Wang made a movie from the book, and for a moment Asian-Americans experienced what it was like to have narrative plenitude — both a book and a movie full of complex, human Asian-American characters and stories.

一种解决方案是改变讲故事的方式。我记得18岁那年看了谭恩美的畅销小说《喜福会》(The Joy Luck Club),感到非常震惊和欣喜。我当时甚至都不知道还有亚裔美国作家的存在(她之前其实还有很多)。然后,王颖根据这本书拍摄了一部电影,有那么一刻,亚裔美国人体验到了丰富叙事——一本书和一部电影,充满了复杂的、人性化的亚裔美国人物和故事。

Still, “The Joy Luck Club” was not the breakthrough that we hoped for. Mainstream movies with Asian-American leads eluded us. Meanwhile Hollywood continues to remake Asian movies with white actors, have characters with Asian names played by white actors and make movies set in Asia with white lead actors.

尽管如此,《喜福会》并不是我们希望中的突破。我们依然没有亚裔美国人主演的主流电影。与此同时,好莱坞继续与白人演员一起重拍亚洲电影,由白人演员扮演有亚洲名字的角色,让白人演员担任主演,拍摄发生在亚洲的电影。

The lesson is that telling our own stories is not enough if we do not own some of the economy as well. We had no influence in Hollywood in the 20th century, just as we had little to no influence in publishing, in politics, in the highest levels of corporations.

教训是,如果不能拥有一部分经济,那么仅仅说出我们自己的故事是不够的。我们在20世纪的好莱坞没有影响力,正如我们在出版、政治和公司最高层几乎没有影响力。

This is why a single breakthrough work cannot, by itself, create an economy of narrative plenitude. If “Crazy Rich Asians” succeeds in transforming how Hollywood perceives and represents Asians and Asian-Americans, it will be due not only to this one movie being good, or at least profitable, but also to the long, slow work done for decades in Hollywood by hundreds of Asian-American actors, writers, directors, producers, agents and more.

正因如此,单一的突破性作品本身不能创造一种丰富叙事的经济。如果《疯狂的亚洲富人》成功地改变了好莱坞观察和呈现亚洲人与亚裔美国人的方法,那么,这不仅仅是因为这部电影很好,或者至少是能盈利,而且还要归功于几十年来,好莱坞成百上千的亚裔演员、编剧、导演、制片人、经纪人等长期、缓慢的工作。

“Crazy Rich Asians” should just be a feel-good entertainment about obscenely wealthy people of Chinese descent from Singapore that happens to star Asian-Americans. But we do not have enough movies about poor Asians, or sane Asians, or Singaporeans who are not Chinese, or revolutionary Asians who want to overthrow a system of global capitalism that enables the lifestyle of obscenely wealthy and oblivious Asians who would be just as problematic if they were white. So “Crazy Rich Asians” becomes more than what it would have to be if it were just about crazy rich white people.

《疯狂的亚洲富人》应该只是一个令人感觉良好的娱乐,它讲述新加坡的富裕华裔人士的故事,并且碰巧由亚裔美国人主演。但我们没有足够的电影讲述贫穷的亚洲人、理智的亚洲人和非华裔新加坡人的故事;还有那些想要推翻全球资本主义制度的革命亚洲人,正是这种资本主义制度,使那些极为富有和无知无觉的亚洲人有了这样的生活方式,如果他们是白人,也会同样问题重重。所以《疯狂的亚洲富人》比只是讲述极为富有的白人的故事更有意义。

For Asian-Americans, if “Crazy Rich Asians” succeeds, we all do; if it fails, we all do. This is what it means to live in an economy of narrative scarcity.

对于亚裔美国人来说,如果《疯狂的亚洲富人》成功,那就是我们所有人的成功;如果它失败了,那就是我们所有人的失败。生活在匮乏叙事经济中就是这样的。

If and when we achieve an economy of narrative plenitude, a bad movie about Asian-Americans will just be a bad movie. An excellent movie would be great, but a mediocre one will be no big deal. A mediocre movie about Asian-Americans will not kill careers or be seen as a failure of and for Asian-Americans, just as a mediocre movie by and about white people says nothing about white people.

如果我们能够实现丰富叙事的经济,那么一部关于亚裔美国人的糟糕电影将只会是一部糟糕的电影。一部优秀的电影会很棒的,但是一部平庸的电影也没什么大不了。一部关于亚裔美国人的平庸电影不会扼杀什么人的职业生涯,也不会被视为亚裔美国人的失败,就像一部由白人拍摄、关于白人的平庸电影对白人没什么影响。

The real test of narrative plenitude is when we have the luxury of making mediocre movies. And after having made mediocre movies, we would be rewarded with the opportunity to make even more mediocre movies, just as Hollywood continues to make enormous numbers of mediocre movies about white people, and specifically white men.

对丰富叙事的真正考验是,当我们奢侈到可以拍摄平庸的电影时,就算拍出平庸的电影,我们还可以得到拍摄更多平庸电影的机会,就像好莱坞可以继续拍摄大量关于白人、特别是白种男人的平庸电影一样。

That is one measure of equality — the right to be mediocre and rewarded for it, rather than the demand, placed on Asian-Americans and “Crazy Rich Asians,” to be exceptional just to be seen.

这是平等的一种衡量标准——平庸的权利,以及从平庸中得到回报的权利,而不是对亚裔美国人和《疯狂的亚洲富人》所施加的那种要求,即必须出类拔萃才能被看到。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表