Today marks the last installment of “Making Till We Meet Again“, a series of interviews with the creators of the award-winning indie film in question. Focused on a handful of tourists making their way through Thailand, many of the questions and answers to date [with director Bank Tangjaitrong and actor/writer Johan Matton] have revolved around depicting another country and culture given that framework.
Actor Emrhys Cooper is the last person to share with us, in particular about how both he and his character, David, have experienced being in the South East Asian country as visitors and guests. Fair warning, this interview contains mild spoilers for Till We Meet Again.
David tells Joanna that being in Thailand “realigns you with who you really are.” Had you been there prior to filming Till We Meet Again? Do you think there’s any truth to that?
Yes, for many reasons South East Asia has pulled me into its orbit. That powerful land mass includes a major portion of this planet’s populations, including both India and China which are the two of the most densely populated nations on earth.
At the naïve age of 18 I went on a backpacking tour of Thailand. What an incredible experience that was. Then, in 2013, I was back again as I was cast in a movie called Kushuthara which shot in Bhutan. That’s a tiny country located up in the Himalayan mountains between India and China; one must go via Bangkok to get there.
This year I returned to Thailand to shoot another movie in Bhutan. I was lucky to get to spend New Year’s Day in Bangkok, followed by an impromptu trip to Vietnam. When I finished shooting in Bhutan I went to Cambodia, which is a country any person interested in animal protection should see. The elephant sanctuary reminds us that we are not God’s greatest creatures, but only the caretakers of his best and most precious treasures. To hear and see an elephant in all its glory, means more than any person’s hug or kiss. All human beings who value our animal companions, both great and small, should understand this.
Traveling helps realign you; travellers look to find themselves or something that will help them grow. In that sense, traveling is one of the greatest therapies. It belongs alongside the couch of Sigmund Freud as a great tool for our minds, to escape from a solely interior world.
Posted in Asia, film, interview, relationships, Travel
Tagged acting, actor, Asia, backpackers, backpacking, Bhutan, film, filmmaking, interview, Kushuthara, loneliness, mrhys Cooper, relationships, South East Asia, Southeast Asia, Thailand, Till We Meet Again, tourists, travel, ugly American, ugly americans, villain
So right off the bat, I want to say that Arthur Chu of Jeopardy-winning fame has already done much of the groundwork for me with his [spoiler-filled] article “Not Your Asian Ninja: How the Marvel Cinematic Universe Keeps Failing Asian-Americans“. In it he recounts his primary disappointment with the second season of Netflix’s Daredevil, namely that the Asians presented in that show are generally villains across the board.
Not only are they of an evil persuasion, they’re also, as the title of his piece implies, mostly ninjas. In terms of sheer volume the vast majority of Asians seen on screen during the season’s 13 episodes are that particular brand of martial artist. The rest are, in terms of representation, gangsters, white collar criminals, and crime lords. It is, as Chu says, “Not a good look.”
He picks the Kitchen Irish, a gang of an obvious ethnic background, as his primary example of the show using nuance with a people group. Matthew Murdock, the titular crimefighter himself, is of Irish descent, and another character nicknamed “Grotto” is a former member of the mob who elicits sympathy from both the show’s cast and its audience. While I understand that Irish heritage is unique and distinct from many others, and that people of Irish descent suffered extreme racism in early American history, what shouldn’t be ignored is the fact that on the surface they are White. As are the members of fellow gang the Dogs of Hell. As are Murdock’s friends Karen Page and Foggy Nelson. As is Frank Castle, the Punisher, as well as newspaper editor Mitchell Ellison. Television is full of White people, and with Daredevil being no exception simply stating that there are varied roles within even one subgroup feels like a given.
Unfortunately, Asians fail even when stacked up against other racial minorities. Continue reading
Posted in Asia, comics, crime, race, television, writing
Tagged Arthur Chu, asian, black, Daniel Yang, Daredevil, Dilton, inscrubtable, irish, martial arts, netflix, Ninja, race, racism, Reggie, representation, Riverdale, Ross Butler, stereotype, token, villain, white
I’ve been waiting for this issue to come around since Ms. Marvel first hit local comic book stores roughly two years ago. Kamala Khan fights crime under the moniker that once belongs to Carol Danvers, and idolizes her to the point that the first ever usage of her powers was actually to transform into the blonde, blue-eyed superwoman. While she’s since realized a lot about her own identity as a hero [and as a person] the fateful meeting between the two is nonetheless a momentous event.
If only it wasn’t being overshadowed by, well, the end of the world.
That’s not to say that it’s being poorly handled, only that this isn’t the way many imagined the two would see each other face to face for the first time. Kamala sees Carol at what is hands-down the lowest point of her short career in vigilanteism. The world is, as mentioned, ending, but more importantly to her Jersey City is in danger. That’s only compounded by the fact that her brother has been kidnapped by her “ex-crush” AKA Kamran. And you thought your teen years were overwhelming. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing
Tagged 17, Aamir, Adrian Alphona, art, brother, Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, character, comics, diversity, end of the world, family, finally, G. Willow Wilson, heartbreak, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Kilowatt, Last Days, Marvel, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, Secret Wars, Terrigen Mist, villain, why is Captain Marvel's costume gray
So . . . Secret Wars. I’m sure there are a number of articles out there that could explain what exactly this event is to those new to the medium, but I’m going to try to do it in as few sentences as possible. Basically multiple earths have been colliding with and destroying one another. The last two earths to play interstellar chicken are Earth 616 [the primary Marvel universe] and Earth 1610 [the Ultimate Marvel universe].
That’s pretty much all the context you need, honestly, because what you should really be focusing on is that the world is ending. The tagline to the event as it started out was “Everything Dies” and the Last Days issues for a number of Marvel titles concern how the characters we know and love will spend what time they have left. Throughout the past fifteen issues we’ve seen Kamala Khan own her identity as a superhero; it goes without saying how she plans on facing the apocalypse.
For the Illuminati, a shadowy group of Marvel’s brightest and most powerful, absolutely everything has been counting down to this final incursion. For Ms. Marvel recent events are also coming to a head as her falling for and subsequent falling out with Kamran has left her in a pretty dark place. Heartbreak plays an enormous role in the life of the average teen and she even admits that it’s “affecting [her] work” to a listening
bartender hot dog stand vendor.
With another planet looming above Manhattan all that is soon washed away as Kamala is reminded that she has another city entirely to protect. She directs Bruno and others to Cole Academic High School and then tends to her number one priority: her parents. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, review, writing, Youth
Tagged 16, Aamir, Adrian Alphona, art, brother, Bruno, character, comics, crush, diversity, end of the world, family, G. Willow Wilson, heartbreak, hipster viking, Ian Herring, Joe Caramagna, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Last Days, Loki, Marvel, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, Secret Wars, villain, ward
So ends the three-issue story arc “Crushed” and any semblance of a relationship that Kamala Khan and family friend [not cousin/blood relative] Kamran once had, not with a bang but with a helping hand. Let me backtrack a little-
Really, this plot in this issue is fairly simple. As I mentioned pretty explicitly in my last review the newest character to be introduced is bad news, his closeness with our heroine seemingly acting as a way for him to more easily serve his master, Lineage. That’s where things get a little less simple, so I suppose I should backtrack yet again and try to explain what’s been happening outside of Jersey City for those of you who are only reading this book out of Marvel’s many, many titles.
To start with, on the recap page you may have noticed the final line: “These events take place between Inhuman #14 and the Inhuman Annual.” Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, relationships, review, writing
Tagged 15, Aamir, art, Bruno, character, comics, coup, Crushed, diversity, friendship, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Lineage, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, review, Sana Amanat, she isn't, Takeshi Miyazawa, villain
Before we really delve into this review, can we please pause for a moment and gush over its cover? Jake Wyatt returns after providing art duties for issues 6 and 7 last year, reminding us that if he wasn’t doing his own thing with his creator-owned Necropolis we would fully welcome him back with open arms. No offence to Alphona, of course, but Wyatt’s about as great a fill-in artist as you can get for whenever the Canadian needs to take a break.
Which of course isn’t to deride current artist Takeshi Miyazawa, because he is likewise killing it. We’ll get there when we get there, though, because this latest arc, “Crushed” is a ride.
Yes, the very handsome Kamran is very much still a factor, and yes, he is also an Inhuman. Just in case it wasn’t a big enough deal that he is also a nerdy Pakistani-American it just so happens that he too was given powers by the Terrigen Mist that gave Kamala the ability to embiggen, etc. How his story intersects with our heroine’s and proceeds is fairly straightforward, so I thought I would draw your attention to two parts of the narrative that can be told given who Ms. Marvel is, specifically. Continue reading
Posted in comics, race, relationships, religion, review, writing
Tagged 14, Aamir, art, character, comics, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, Inhuman, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Lineage, Marvel, maturity, minority, Ms. Marvel, Pakistani, realism, representation, review, Sana Amanat, Takeshi Miyazawa, villain, Violence
Look, I know I was tough on Ms. Marvel last month. It was a so-so issue, a fact that surprised me greatly considering it guest starred the Norse god of trickery. The thing is, even then I wasn’t worried that it was some sort of herald of less-great things to come, and the latest installment of Kamala Khan’s adventures is one of the best yet.
Everything that was missing from the Valentine’s issue is present here. Inhumans? Check. Genuine hero vs. villain throwdowns? Check. An exploration of the life hyphenated-American youth live, AKA the cornerstone of immigrant literature? Ch-ch-ch-check.
That last point is what truly made me love this comic, because the rest of the Khans get some quality pagetime after being out of the spotlight for so long. Take the following panel-
It takes place after we see Kamala training in the Inhuman version of the X-Men’s Danger Room, and while seeing Medusa worry about her subject [she is queen of the Inhumans, after all] is intriguing all I could think of was: “older Pakistani people would probably not be down with the skin-tight leggings she has on.” Lo and behold we have her ammi chiding her for her indecency. Continue reading
Posted in art, comics, family, race, review, Youth
Tagged 13, Aamir, amma, appa, art, auntie, Bollywood, character, comics, cousin, Crushed, diversity, G. Willow Wilson, Ian Herring, immigrant literature, Inhuman, Jersey City, Joe Caramagna, Kaboom, Kamala Khan, Kamran, Marvel, Medusa, minority, Ms. Marvel, not incest, Pakistani, representation, review, Sana Amanat, second-generation, Takeshi Miyazawa, uncle, villain