Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Greatest Man in Siam

This is one of my favorite cartoons. I've blogged about it quite a bit, and have packaged those posts into a working paper. About 3/4 of the way though there is a dance sequence that is one of the most joyous bits of film I've ever seen. The animation is superb, and so is the music. Given the date, 1944, the music is big band music, and this band plays like it's playing for live dancers. And the trumpet soloist, he plays like it's the third set of a good night.

And yes, sure, the cartoon is Orientalist, sexist, patriarchal, racist and a few other things as well. After you've gotten over that, look at the eyes and ask yourself, Why does the trumpet player get the girl? The cartoon's premise is that men are competing for the king's daughter. Why do the first three lose and thaelast one win? As I said, look at the eyes. What's that about? What values?

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