Panned By Global Times, Will You Nonetheless Watch “Lao Wai”?

“The expat love story gets a film treatment in Lao Wai, a film about East-meets-West love,” writes Global Times.

That’s not supposed to be an endorsement.

Lao Wai tells the story of a French IT engineer in Shanghai who falls in love with a local girl, Mei, and together they test “the limits of love in the face of overwhelming cultural differences.” The film is French director Fabien Gaillard’s full-length feature debut, and it’ll be shown tomorrow at Broadway Cinematheque MOMA.

GT:

The potential of Lao Wai is sadly wasted on the very prejudices, misconceptions and stereotypes about Western-Chinese relationships that a film of its kind ought to challenge.

The tale in the film centers on the chance meeting of two individuals in Shanghai – a French I.T. engineer named Paul or “Dabao,” played by Gauthier Roubichou, and female Chinese teacher Mei, played by Han Dan Tong.

Together Dabao and Mei experience the highs and lows of an intercultural relationship complicated by conflicting cultural instincts and values.

Though Fabien said the film was made “with Chinese audiences in mind,” the characters often come across as one-dimensional caricatures.

Here’s part of the film’s synopsis on its website:

Set against the backdrop of modern China, “Lao Wai” peels back the abstractions surrounding China’s rise and its people, offering viewer a truer picture of 21st century China. Exploring themes of betrayal and forgiveness, “Lao Wai” is a love-story in a time of globalization.

(H/T Alicia)

14 Responses to “Panned By Global Times, Will You Nonetheless Watch “Lao Wai”?”

  1. Meimeimeimeimeimei

    Can we please just shoot any westerner from here on who gives a Chinese girl the name “Mei” or “May”? It’s about as cliche and over-used as a laowai named “John”. What happened to originality?

    Reply
  2. MAC

    “Though Fabien said the film was made “with Chinese audiences in mind,” the characters often come across as one-dimensional caricatures.”

    Another example of the GT’s difficulties with words like “though,” and “however”?

    Reply
      • MAC

        To be fair I flubbed the punctuation of my own comment. This is just a blog comment.

        By the way, in case I wasn’t direct enough, I’m not just taking a shot at the GT’s English usage, I’m implying that as Chinese people (to do some stereotyping myself) seem to LOVE caricatures, if anything “though” should be replaced by “because.”

        Reply
  3. Mei

    Gotta agree… Mei (or even worse, Mei Lin) has become such an overused “Chinese female character” name that its ridiculous.

    Regardless, that trailer’s like watching paint dry. From that, at least, this feels like the perfect mashup of French celluloid navelgazing and Chinese romantic drama handwringing, distilled into a snail-tempo feature that should appeal to neither party (and no one else, for sure).

    Reply
  4. King Baeksu

    “Gotta agree… Mei (or even worse, Mei Lin) has become such an overused “Chinese female character” name that its ridiculous.”

    I used to work with an African-American dyke named “Mei” in college.

    I’m sure she’d have a gay old time in the PRC!

    Reply
  5. Fredrick

    Looks to me like some two-bit director trying to cash in on the Chinese market. That trailer made me want the world to actually end so I could stop watching it.

    Reply
    • King Baeksu

      You mean, “Sex and the City” in a qipao? A shanzhai book if ever there was one.

      “Half decent”? Well, in the spirit of compromise I’m willing to concede that it was “half indecent,” but that’s about it!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


5 − two =