December 1, 2012

Up The Yangtze

Something I found interesting about Up The Yangtze was when the narrator in the beginning said something about the people going on the river cruise to see what they thought was the "Old China," when in fact it was disappearing right before their eyes. The hybridity of cultures on the boat and their perceptions of China gave the documentary depth because they all were experiencing a different China.

The Chinese employee on the boat were working as their home disappeared around them, like in the case of the young girl, Yu. On the other hand, the western passengers were given an entirely different view of China since for most, it was their original perspective.

The interaction between passengers and crew was also interesting because the crew was more westernized to accustom themselves to the tastes of the passengers. With English names and behavioral training, it was like both parties were getting a taste of living in each others' cultures while experiencing something new around them with the exposure to china and the river's rising taking place.

Overall I thought the movie was interesting and I saw these rhetorical situations in the film to create complexities in the story which ultimately created a successful documentary.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

I think your comment on the introduction is very interesting, but I also think it was done on purpose. it shows, as you commented, the hybridity of cultures. As the westernized Americans are entering this area, it is actually disappearing. Could this be symbolism of western culture entering their homes? Do you think there is a reason why the Chinese were portraying their world differently to the tourists? Were they using the pathos effect or purely trying to enhance tourism and make it appealing to the tourist word and western world?

The interaction between the crew and passengers was interesting to watch. It was also interesting to hear the instructions given to the crew in order to please the tourists. Who was this stereotyping? Only Americans and tourists in the way that they were taught in how to address people and what is considered a compliment or offensive? Or does it stereotype the Chinese in that they were adjusting their lifestyle in order to have an effect on others?

There are many different cultural differences presented in this documentary. It was definitely not made to be taken lightly or only address one side of the troubles presented.

Catalina said...

I almost forgot about some of the interactions between the crew and the tourists until I read your line: "...both parties were getting a taste of living in each others' cultures..."
Remember when "Jerry" was talking to those two young men? They were the tourists but they weren't the only ones experiencing a new culture. They all found out girls liked to shop in both cultures and that football/soccer was a global sport. It was a really interesting moment in the film and really spoke to how similar we might actually be, despite all our differences. Is this perhaps an argument for consubstantiation instead of difference?

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