Okay, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to explain my feelings about Cloud Atlas for a while now. The yellowface thing, while very problematic, I found internally conflicting because its not the only thing done in the film. Halle Berry is also turned white for one of her character iterations. But I never had a way of explaining my contextual argument.
If the only female representation in a film is a dog (say the woman gets magically transformed into one) then you have something really fucking problematic because of the history of women being dehumanized and compared to animals through objectification and sexualization. However, no one would make that complaint about a film like All Dogs Go To Heaven or Oliver and Company because the entire film is dogs. Despite existing in a world where comparing females to animals is very problematic, when you lower (or raise, I’m not really sure) the base line so that everyone could be interpreted through that same comparison, does it not lose some of its problematic nature?
Just as a disclaimer at the end of this, I’m still not totally sure how I feel about it. I’ve heard Korean-Americans who feel that because of the full context of the film its not problematic and I’ve heard Korean-Americans who have serious problems with it. I’ve just been searching for a way to explain it.