MovieChat Forums > Paradise Road (1997) Discussion > why not real Japanese actors?

why not real Japanese actors?


Besides the fact whether I liked the movie or not, I just wonder why they didn`t use any real Japanese actors, or at least Japanese-looking-actors who can at least speak Japanese in a proper way. Because there was not even one single word which sounded like Japanese, I hardly understood anything of what they said in the movie. It was almost like they couldn`t find any Japanese who wanted to work on the movie, or were they just too expensive?

reply

Not a wonder if they couldn't find real japanese actors. They're treated like bland stereotypes in the movie, while the western women are given a fake sense of strength. Awful movie...

reply

Maybe because the Japanese have a great sense of pride in their people, and because that particular period of their history is something they're not too proud of...

As for Azma's comment: Well, this being based on a true story, these women survived a Japanese prison camp, which is not even close to the contemporary Nazi concentration camps ( yes, I said Nazi on purpose, not German... )... But YOU try surviving the amount of time they did, with lousy food, maleria, bad lavatories leading to dysentery, hard work, and the constant threat of being killed just for looking at the people keeping you prisoner... That makes them stronger than you think....

As for the Japanese characters being stereotypic, well sure... Any movie depicting the Second World War will always have the good guys against the bad guys, the allied nations against the Nazis, and all the Nazis will be depicted as stereotypes, because that was just the way they were!


----- Wie moust doo zomezing about doze ztupid Danez! VERDAMT! ----

reply

I also felt that white women were glorified too much here, portrayed as a sort of angels, while the Japanese men were like monsters, almost all. I think that was a bit too much black and white, but the story was about a Japanese prison camp, where the soldiers aren't the nicest guys.

reply

Most of the prisoners guarding POW camps during WW2 were in fact Korean. It being a somewhat shameful occupation in the warrior like Japanese tradition.
My uncle who spent 3 years in POW camps said that the Koreans were (if anything) worse than the Japanese. And were in turn treated very badly by their own higher ups, corporal punishment being the norm.



Signatures?.........we don't need no stinking signatures!

reply

Not all of the Japanese guards (Japanese as in the characters) were portrayed as monsters. If you had paid attention, you would have noticed facial expressions and emotions being hidden while they were feeling bad for the women. Especially the translator. No matter on that part though, the guards really were worse in real life than in the movie. I also don't feel as if the white women were glorified in any way. They were the main characters of the movie, they were the prisoners. They were women and children being held captive during a war in disgusting, unsanitary conditions. They were starved, beaten and raped; they were murdered. There are no excuses for that.

"I like to see the stoned Chinese guy." Daron Malakian

reply

Where is that quote from?

reply

I have just seen this film and didn't think it stereotypical at all. They showed a range of people and behaviour in the guards (some were underneath nice but had to do bad things to keep out of trouble with the boss) and not all the women were angelic. I had heard that this movie understates the bad things that happened. I believe that as the real stories of people who survived were far, far worse in many cases - I case it depended on which camp you were in. I can't remember the camp that started out with a few thousand men and only a handful survived.

reply

[deleted]

History is always written by the winners.

reply

The movie did understate the horrors of what happened. The massacre at the beach on Banka Island, for example. Many of the women and some of the men who landed on this beach after jumping off the boat were met by Japs, lined up along the shore, and slaughtered. The only survivior of this massacre was Sr Bullwinkle, an Australian Army nurse who was shot and ended up in the POW camp anyway.

I would also like to know why they changed the names of the characters in this movie from those of the real women. I would have liked to see which actresses were playing which women.

reply

Why no Japanese actors? The Japanese, refuse to teach history truthfully, thats why. How do I know this? My grandfather was in a Japanese POW camp during WW2. When the war ended and he was free, he came back to Canada and settled in to life again. In 1955, 10 yrs after the war had ended, he decided to go back to Japan and see where he was in prisoned for 4 yrs of his life. The camp was no longer there. (Even though a memorial was set up a year after the war, it and the camp was quickly dismantled and hauled away.)The Japanese are so proud of their shame that they hide from their own wickedness and truth. Growing up (and I'm Jewish btw) I was always taught that Hitler was the monster of WW2. Even though this may be true, the Japanese government and its people follow closely behind, and even today I have to wonder if they are still the monsters that they were 65 yrs ago.

Ymina

reply

[deleted]

And now they ignore international laws and courts to slaughter whales and dolphins (to sell 'pretty ones' to places like SeaWorld). Look up 'Taiji dolphin slaughter' pretty disgusting what they think they own and can get away with.

"I like to see the stoned Chinese guy." Daron Malakian

reply

If you do not consider Hitler and Stalin and the Japanese War machine as equally monstrous you are not looking at history accurately. As a matter of fact, if you consider number of dead as your criteria then Stalin and the JWM were more monstrous than the Nazis.

As for you comment about POW camps ... I will point out that many of the POW camps in the US and Canada were dismantled shortly after the war ... as where most in Europe. Survivors of the war needed the resources and simply wanted to move on.

reply

We r just imdb stalking eachother now... if we didnt no eachother this would b weird

'Initiative comes to thems that wait.'

reply

[deleted]

'History written by winners'? What does that mean in this case?

My mother was in the camp in Banka (together with my oldest sister, then a baby) and she suffered a lot. She survived, but never called herself a winner. It traumatized her for the rest of her life.
My father lost five brothers and his mother, killed by the Japanese. What does winning mean, other than surviving? It didn't make him happy.


-I don't discriminate between entertainment
and arthouse. A film is a goddam film.-

reply

Ya ... I read that and wanted to ask ... so your point is what? That this movie is unbalanced or fictitious?

I felt this film presented all sides properly. There really are no stories out there about how well anyone in a Japanese camp was treated.

As for you family ... WOW ... your parents were in the thick of it. It is a miracle that you even exist.

reply

My reaction was to Aravenall, who wrote 'History is always written by the winners.' I think that HE meant to say that this movie is unbalanced, i.e. not on the side of the Japanese. I disagree with that, I think that this movie gives the situation rather well.

My point is, that there were no real winners. My parents didn't think they were superior to the Japanese, because of the outcoming of the war. But yes, they thought that Japan acted wrong (trying to conquer half of Asia).



-I don't discriminate between entertainment
and arthouse. A film is a goddam film.-

reply

Hmm, it is rare for English language film depicting foreingers to have real foreign actors. Why bother with hussles (auditioning, communication, travel expense, etc) when your target audience only speak English. There are plenty of unemployed actors out there. Non English acting roles are just fillers and require minimum acting skills. If the producer/director so wished, they had zero trouble finding genuine Japanese actors from Japan.

Whether these japanese are stereotyped or not, or whether such stereotype is justified given the context of the film can be debated. What I found more offensive is few comments implying that all Japanese actors (and Japanese in general) are patriotic (i.e. unrepentant) and therefore did not wish to play these roles. It is equivelant of asserting that all German actors are still somewhat Nazi sympathiser and would not audition for such roles. Such suggestion would be seen as ridiculous if applied to German but, apparently, not so if applied to Japanese.

And, yes, given that this kind of thinly disguised prejudice is still common, I would say that this film does feed on stereotype. You don't have to make Japanese some sort of good guys. You just have to give them bit more substance in characters.

reply

P.S.

If you can bother, check some Chinese films dipicting WWII. These films have plenty of genuine Japanese actors as well as "genuine" atrocities.

reply

Sterotypical? They were prison guards and in the military and it's a true story. Weren't they taught to be cold, unfeeling killers? Doesn't the military do that to a person? And isn't the Japanese army famous for that? They had soldiers who trained to carry out suicide missions.
I found some of the characters to show depth anyway. You have to remember that they were the enemy and not allowed to be "nice" to the enemy.
The women were "glorified" because they did endure this and they did survive. Imagine what it would take to survive an experience like this. They are heroes in my book. And that music was the thing that helped them survive makes it that much better.


"Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

reply

[deleted]

I also disagree with the idea that the characters were all stereotyped.

I can't remember any character names, so i'll just describe them.

Eg. Mr Tanaka?? He was humane and you could see he genuinely hated the position he was in. He tried to help the girls when he could, but at the end of the day there was very little he could do without chopping off his own head. He is never seen committing any atrocities though.

The main guard - he does commit atrocities, such as beating the women and attempted rape, but he also has a more human side. Remember when he took Glen CLose out to the woods just to sing? Not very stereotypical. Even he seems to be terrified of his superiors and lets the women get away with a bit when the boss isn't looking.

The younger guards are obviously terrified of the boss. They just do what they are told.

The only true 'monster' in this movie, is the director of the whole camp. He is the one who invents the terrible punishments - burning alive, Cate Blanchett's stake hold thingy, witholding medicine, organising the brothel, etc...

The women likewise are not 'glorified'. The strength and courage it took many of them to do the things they did was not fiction. It actually happened. They did form a chior and dared to sing as a group in front of the guards. They did start beating stones at the funeral. They did try to fight off attempts at rape. It was not orchestrated in the script to make them look like angels. There were many characters who lacked inner strength and were reluctant to do these things. There were also many characters who were just plain annoying and despicable in themselves - eg. The Aussie lady who refused to work, the old English woman who suffered from terminal ignorance, etc..

I also agree that Japanese people are not taught the realities of World War Two. I believe it was an absolute tragedy for the innocent people who suffered under the A-bomb (my grandfather was sailing to Japan on his way to invade, when the bombs dropped so the mission turned into an occupation, we still have photos of the devestation the bombs caused and believe me NOTHING was left standing ANYWHERE), HOWEVER.... Japan does not teach their children about the atrocities committed by their troops in occupied territory, about the POW camps and how POWs were murdered, starved, enslaved, etc.., or even how Japan was unjustified in its attempts to take over half of the world.

I was a tour guide for a period of time and it was amazing how many Japanese tourists would want to talk to me late at night around a camp fire about how angry they are that they were never told about these things. It was only after travelling to Australia and being exposed to photographs, images, etc.. that they gained a picture of Japan's actions during WWII.

Having said all of this, Australia can't really take the high horse when you consider how much of our colonial history and atrocities committed during frontier wars with Aboriginal people is hidden from the public.

reply

Well said ... the OP was pretty stupid ... and you put it in it's proper place. I personally thought the film portrayed all characters accurately.

reply

Pace was set when Yul Bryner played the King of Siam.

reply