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大受好評的《一百萬零一夜》,無疑該片的劇本實在非常出色,表達的手法頗有創意,節奏控制也做得不錯。

但,如果我是一個印度人,我會看得很不舒服。

一個最直接的聯想是薩伊德的東方主義,雖然他主要的焦點是伊斯蘭世界。

這當然不是什麼嚴格的論證,充其量只是啟發性(heuristic)的,作為一個東方的他者(相對於西方),被人觀看的感受絕不是什麼有趣的事。

它的異國情調可以被翻譯,它的意義可以被解碼,敵意可以被馴服;但是,那些由歐洲指派給東方的普遍特性,那些當人們與其接觸後的除魅感受,還有那些東方表現出的一些令人無法了解的怪癖,都在被談論或被書寫的過程中,被西方全部重新分配與整理了。(《東方主義》頁一五二)

印度人絕不想被西方人當成索馬利亞,中國人又何嘗想被投射為蠻夷之地?但這正正是不少西方人認識東方的理論框架,更多的研究只是強化這種先入為主的偏見罷了。(還記得Huntungton的《文化衝突論》嗎?)

成為研究對象就有被簡化的風險,二分思考法始終比深入的思考來得使人容易接受。電影作為一種文化工業,甚至是一種soft power,從來都不是單純的娛樂工具。

後記: 在看Cup的時候發現了一篇有趣的文章, Philip Dopp的Back Into The Private Realm。節錄如下:
Slumdog is just that – a taxi ride, safe but fancinating, through one of the great cities of the earth.

‘Slumdog’ Oscar success divides India

By James Lamont in New Delhi

Published: February 23 2009 05:18 | Last updated: February 23 2009 17:24

India reacted with mixed feelings as Slumdog Millionaire, an enthralling rags-to-riches tale set in the slums of Mumbai, scooped up eight Academy Awards in Los Angeles, including Best ­Picture.

Director Danny Boyle and Rubiana Ali, who plays the young Latika, celebrate their triumph in Los Angeles

India’s film industry was bitterly at odds in the run-up to last night’s awards over whether to acknowledge Slumdog Millionaire as an Indian film as excitement grew over its 10 Oscar nominations. The $15m (€12m, £10m) budget film was directed by Danny Boyle, a British film-maker, and featured a cast of largely unknown actors.Where relatives of the child actors celebrated the Oscar win, and jubilation erupted in their home neighbourhoods, its critics have preferred to view the film as foreign, although its content, actors and musical score are Indian.

As the acclaim has grown, controversy about how the film portrays India has deepened. The protagonist, Jamal Malik, grows up in a slum and survives insuperable odds to track down his childhood sweetheart. His mother is killed in a sectarian riot forcing him and his brother to become beggars.

The brother joins a gang, while Jamal finds a job as a lowly chaiwallah (teamaker) in a call centre. By some extraordinary chance, he becomes a contestant on the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? game show.

But even to win the game show, he has to overcome a corrupt system. While on the show, he is a popular hero. Backstage, Jamal is tortured by the police as the show’s managers try to extract a confession that he has cheated.

The backdrop to a redemptive love story is that of a poor, brutal and blighted society. That world, though real to hundreds of millions of Indians, is sharply at odds with how modern India sees itself. Many Indian viewers are highly uncomfortable with the depiction of the slumland, the deliberate maiming of children and police torture.

“There are no mass celebrations in the slum,” says Ganesh, who works for a travel agency in Dharavi, where much of the movie is set. “Most people in Dharavi haven’t even seen the movie.”

The film has been sharply criticised as “poverty porn”. Well-respected local filmmakers have described the film as titillating western audiences with its portrayal of slum life.

Priyadarshan Nair, an India film-maker, complained strongly that the film makes a mockery of India. “It’s nothing but a mediocre Bollywood film, which has used references from several Hindi films very smartly,” he wrote in the newspaper India Today at the weekend.

India is not Somalia. We are one of the foremost nuclear powers in the world, our satellites are roaming the universe. Our police commissioners’ offices don’t look like shacks and there are no blind children begging in the streets of ­Mumbai.”

Even some who like the movie are unhappy with its title. “Dog is really offensive for us Indians,” says Krishna Pujari, a former street child who now organises ethical tours of the slum.

Much of the resentment stems from the fact that India’s own booming Bollywood film industry – and the big names of Indian cinema – have not previously been recognised at the Academy Awards. Slumdog Millionaire and its cast, including child actors drawn from the slums, have succeeded where the glitz and the greats have not.

India has, however, found a way to celebrate the film. Critics and cinema-goers alike have praised A.R. Rahman, a well-known Indian musician, for his score, which captured an Oscar.

But some view Slumdog Millionaire’s success in Los Angeles as a geopolitical moment for India, and proof of a warming relationship with the US. Morris Reid, a lobbyist for the entertainment industry who was an adviser to former US president Bill Clinton, says the film’s success would awake a generation to India’s possibilities.

“Because of Slumdog Millionaire, millions of people in Kansas will be saying: ‘I’ve seen that movie and I’m interested in India’,” says Mr Reid.

“A lotus from the swamps” is how a proud father of a child actor in the film describes his son’s achievement. The prime minister, Manmohan Singh, reiterated that sentiment saying: “The winners have done India proud.”

Additional reporting by James Fontanella-Khan in Mumbai

The Simpsons 1612 Goo Goo Gai Pan

《Slumdog Millionaire 一百萬零一夜》: 非常Feel Good滿貫100分

7 thoughts on “Slumdog Millionarie and Orientalism

  1. 薩伊德的東方主義正正是不少人認識西方人認識東方的理論框架,更多的研究只是強化這種先入為主的偏見罷了。

    這當然不是什麼嚴格的論證,充其量只是啟發性(heuristic)的,作為一個認識東方的西方的他者(相對於認識西方的東方),成為批判對象就有被簡化的風險,二分思考法始終比深入的思考來得使人容易接受。

    看看一些中國人的親身經歷:
    //這齣電影在我公司同事間很流行﹐因為我們公司外判工作去印度﹐很多人也去過印度工幹﹐看這套電影感受特別深刻。電影中交待主角背景的情節﹐並不是虛構出來的跨張情節﹐而是我們很多人的第一身經歷。主角小孩候住的貧民窟﹐一望無際的鐵皮屋﹐小孩子在泥水嬉戲洗澡﹐正正就是我在印度坐火車看出窗外的景像。主角三人給人口販子拐騙﹐拍小孩被弄成傷殘去行乞討錢那一段﹐我看時心中感到極不舒服﹐因為我在印度遊客區﹐曾看過無數命運相同的小孩﹐真是有抱著嬰兒來討錢的小女孩。//
    http://www.horace.org/blog/2009/02/10/slumdog-millionaire-%E4%B8%80%E7%99%BE%E8%90%AC%E9%9B%B6%E4%B8%80%E5%A4%9C/

    他說的是幻想嗎?是投射嗎?

  2. 你好。

    沒有人否認印度有貧民窟。我舉東方主義作為聯想的例子, 不是要批評導演的無中生有, 而是要批評部分西方人(尤其是美國人)理解東方(廣義, 包括中國)的普遍態度。說到底, 片子並不是一部紀錄片, 真實與否並不是最重要的, 反而是片子背後所輸出的意識形態才是最堪擔憂的。

    想一想片中擔任主角的小孩的感受吧。媒體鋪天覆地的報導, 只是強調貧民窟的貧, 對照發達國家的富。以為這部片子的目的是反映什麼印度的真實? 其實只是淡化全球化底下貧富懸殊的榥子而已──噍, 西方良心導演揭露窮人生活, 觀眾乖乖進場, 一句「他們很慘!」, 沒有說出來的心底話, 是幸好「我們」不是「他們」。

  3. 既然「強調」貧民窟的貧, 對照發達國家的富,為何又會「淡化」了全球化底下貧富懸殊?如此矛盾的句子,比佛謁還要玄。

  4. 對不起。恐怕你沒有清楚理解我的意思。

    媒體鋪天覆地的報導, 只是強調貧民窟的貧, 對照發達國家的富。以為這部片子的目的是反映什麼印度的真實? 其實只是淡化全球化底下貧富懸殊的榥子而已──噍, 西方良心導演揭露窮人生活, 觀眾乖乖進場, 一句「他們很慘!」, 沒有說出來的心底話, 是幸好「我們」不是「他們」。

    把前後句有著重要意思的句子拿走, 只是斷章取義。

    如果你要我畫公仔畫出腸的話…片中的貧富懸殊的畫面只會令人聯想到印度是一個文化上落後而沒有教養的國家, 有的只是昔日的輝煌, 貧也是國家本身缺乏競爭力, 國內沒有很好的扶貧政策等等。西方的批判(如果有的話)只是集中在其他國家, 但對自己本身的批判卻是缺席的, 因為國與國之間的貿易不平等, 和某些西方國家對別國的資本剝削有著不可二分的連帶關係。

  5. 一個測試影片是否隱含東方主義(或消費主義)的方式就是:

    觀眾在看完後是否對影像中的那些貧苦者感到不適或焦慮?
    片尾又是否能夠幫助觀眾解除這些不適與焦慮,好讓自己能全身而退?

    假如有,那就請小心,我認為這部電影很充實的娛樂了我,我對片中人的遭遇感到幸福或者麻木。將他人生活當成一種奇觀再消費之,不是一件好事。最終,消費者除了歡愉以外,是什麼額外感覺都不太想負擔的。救一個孟買人,捨棄其他百分之九十九,讓大家覺得心安理得。

    當最後孟買民眾對於該片所呈現的孟買景色感到滿足,對於該片於全球大賣感到快樂,甚至驕傲,令我感到痛苦的不只是東方主義的控訴,還有更細膩如法農提到的事物。

  6. 不好意思,補充一下

    重點的重點在於不適之後,你是否感到幸運與幸福,還是悲傷,憤怒與行動,它是否給你的想法還有人生帶來質性的改變?

    倘若這是這些不幸者對於富裕者而言最大的存在目的,所有的文化觀光總是包含著:遠處,冒險與全身而退這三者,小心!我們正透過影像在他人的血肉上旅行。

  7. ted,你好,你所說的我都很同意。之所以有「透過影像在他人的血肉上旅行」的問題,完全是源於人的冷漠和麻木,才會對影像背後的真正不幸無動於衷。

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