Film News – Director Aneesh Chaganty Talks About Searching + Asian-American Representation

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TheTurnerTalks

TheTurnerTalks

Freelance Writer. History Graduate from the University of Southampton. Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the articles and reviews I publish here on my personal blog theturnertalks.com.

Recently, films such as Crazy Rich Asians and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before have had Asian-Americans in prominent roles. This has been a rarity in Hollywood for many years. Indeed, it has led some to dub this month as #AsianAugustSearching continues this trend of Asian-American led films in recent times. The director of this movie is Aneesh Chaganty and, in an interview with Variety, he talked about Searching as well as Asian-American representation in Hollywood.

Searching

This is what Aneesh Chaganty had to say about what cyberspace, a key aspect of Searching, lends to films nowadays:

The reality is that we all live our lives on screens, and Hollywood, I don’t think, has figured it out yet — how to show that and how to dramatize that in a way that is cinematic and thrilling and consistent with the style and tone of your movie.”

“We saw early examples — with ‘Unfriended,’ or with ‘House of Cards,’ which was the first kind of — I felt like, on a cultural level — the first [project] to use pop up texts in a way that felt like it was part of the story.”

Since technology has pervaded our lives, as storytellers we’ve been trying more and more to figure out what the way is that we get to depict these things because we use them so much. But in my experience, every single example of using tech onscreen is false. Whenever you cut to a phone … or cut to a laptop and it’s a weird website that doesn’t actually exist.”

But our bet — the bet that ‘Searching’ made and the bet that I will continue to make, overall — is that there is a way to cut to technology and to frame it in a way that you are still using camera shots, that you can be consistent with your style, tone, and genre — your whole piece, even if it’s a live action piece — and still maintain one unique, consistent vision.” 

“It’s a matter of, this is a new thing, and we’re still trying to figure out how it fits into the larger thing that is capital ‘S’ story.”

Asian-American Representation

Asian-American representation has a heavily discussed topic in recent weeks and here is what Aneesh Chaganty stated on the responsibility that any film with large Asian casts should have in portraying a wide range of Asian diversity:

They should have none, but they’re treated like they should have all of it. The second that you say any one idea, any one person, any one product, any one film represents an ‘entire’ anything, you’re already setting yourself up for failure.”

“If a white character is in a movie, no one says, ‘Is that white character representing all white people?’ The way that you solve for representing communities at large is not with a single product — it’s with many products.”

Quantity solves this issue. Quantity, as a whole, will hopefully represent all facets of people and all facets of a community. ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ is not going to speak to the entire Asian-American community. It shouldn’t, and it shouldn’t have to have that responsibility. It can speak to a few people in it who maybe relate to it.”

Maybe ours can speak to a few others. Maybe ‘To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before’ speaks to a different community, and hopefully stuff moving forward speaks to more and more, but it’s quantity that ends up solving these issues, not one thing.”

Thank you for reading this article! You can find my other articles here on Soapbox as well as my reviews which you can also find at my blog theturnertalks.com.

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TheTurnerTalks

TheTurnerTalks

Freelance Writer. History Graduate from the University of Southampton. Reviews Films, TV and Video Games and you can also find the articles and reviews I publish here on my personal blog theturnertalks.com.

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