Battlepanda: What's Chinese for "Chutzpah"?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What's Chinese for "Chutzpah"?

China Daily is in a tizzy of Ang Lee's Oscar win:
Ang Lee is the pride of Chinese people all over the world, and he is the glory of Chinese cinematic talent.

That is the refrain reverberating among many cinephiles and professional filmmakers in China after news that the director of "Brokeback Mountain" won the Best Director Award at the 78th Academy Awards.

Lee is the first Chinese to receive the honour, considered the highest in American cinema and the most influential worldwide.
Of course, as Imagethief points out, a few details were omitted, in addition to any mention that Lee is not just Chinese, but from Taiwan:
[R]ank and file Chinese people will have to take it on faith that Lee has engineered a cinematic triumph in their name, as the epic based on Annie Proulx's short story is of course banned in China, where gay cowboys are apparently beyond the pale. Perhaps the censors will be less "outraged" now that Lee is a national hero?
Frankly though, this sentence in the China Daily article pissed me off much more:
An anonymous posting on summed up what many moviegoers expressed in one way or another: "Now that Ang Lee has got all the big international accolades, Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige need not compete for the title of No 1 Chinese Director any more."
Now look, I like Ang Lee. But his work is simply not at the same level as Zhang's and Chen's. Lee's films have won more Oscars because they are more mainstream and more westernized. I get pissed off in general when people use the academy awards as a proxy for cinematic greatness. I get even more pissed off when Chinese people think awards given by foreigners is a better guide to who the number 1 Chinese director should be than what those director's films mean to them. But I guess they have no choice since some of the best works of all of those directors are banned in China.