Queer Identification in Asian American Media

Melody Erhuy (originally posted on 03/08/2013).

In the movie PIRATED!, the filmmaker strewed many unrelated images with one another, all inverted with various treatments and given different soundtracks, to create a cohesive piece that makes a statement. Much like an author who foreshadows his events by repeating similar imagery through their text, the filmmaker creates an elusive narrative through the repetition of certain images. From a young Asian boy running along the beach to sexualized shots of queer sailors, the filmmaker gave the audience a deeper look into his mind, having the film flow as if someone was trailing in deep thought on their own. The stream of consciousness take on portraying his queerness was an effective way of telling his story; by showing uncomfortable imagery of sailors giving blow-jobs to one another, the viewer becomes alert and intrigued. I thought this could be a tactic to have the viewer ease into the subject matter – by reverting from uncomfortable imagery to quiet scenes of a young boy on a hammock or running along the sand, the viewer is eased into the subject matter. Almost as if the filmmaker is rocking a baby to sleep, the slow introduction of his subject to the viewer, going out and in from shot to shot almost as if in the act of intercourse,  helps the audience becomes more comfortable with what they are seeing. Perhaps this was the filmmaker’s intention, to introduce a homosexual Asian American male to his audience by slowly feeding the idea to them. Since Asian American queer identification is so uncommon in media, this idea could be discomforting and foreign for Americans. Thus, telling a story about a queer Asian American male through a repetitive stream of consciousness, which is very relatable for the viewer, could be a comforting method of breaking down the foreignness that is associated with homosexual Asian Americans.

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