Critical Research Mock – Question 2

With detailed reference to your research findings, analyse and discuss the portrayal of Protagonists and Antagonists in Asian Martial Arts films.

I set myself the task of researching how Protagonists and Antagonists are portrayed in Asian Martial Arts films. At first, I thought that this question would be quite difficult to answer, but it didn’t turn out to be too challenging.

Within the online interview that I conducted, many topics were discussed, including the question I am answering. I asked the question:

How do you think Protagonists and Antagonists are portrayed in Asian Martial Arts films?

To which I received the reply:

In the above films (my 3 focus films), art house martial arts tend to offer shades of gray in both the Heroes and the Villains. For example in Hero, the ruler of Qin was in reality a ruthless dictator who practiced genocide and book burning, similar to Nazi Germany’s Hitler. It was actually shocking to see him portrayed as a somewhat sympathetic character in the film to Chinese audiences. Generally Asian cinema is pretty black and white when it comes to heroes and villains. A lot of this is due to heavy censorship of anything critical of the Chinese government.

This answer intrigued me a lot, generally because of the fact that he thought it was because of the government that they were portrayed in the way that they are. This made me go on to research some information about the Chinese censorship laws, and I found out that in China, you cannot have anything ‘anti-government’ in any form of Media. This made it clear why the Protagonists and Antagonists are portrayed in a certain way in most films.

Also, the way that he noted that the ruler of Qin was comparable to Adolf Hitler in some ways, the audience was made to feel sympathy for him in the film, even though he commonly committed mass murder. This would be another example of not attacking the government, and another way of showing the censorship laws.

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