Wes Anderson's new stop animation film, 'Isle of Dogs' set in Japan has been accused of cultural insensitivity.
By
SBS Movies

23 Mar 2018 - 2:15 PM  UPDATED 23 Mar 2018 - 2:17 PM

Justin Chang's LA Times review of Anderson's film about a pack of exiled dogs and a 12-year-old boy, has sparked a Twitter storm, and many dog puns.

Chang believes the film is "often captivating" but some "will be offended by the mere invocation of these Japanese cinema giants in this particular context."

"Bluntly put, does this white American filmmaker's highly selective, idiosyncratic rendering of an East Asian society constitute a sincere act of homage, or a clueless failure of sensitivity?" Chang asks. 

"Because all this is taking place in Japan, you fill the frame with references to Kabuki theater, sumo wrestling, haiku poetry, the paintings of Katsushika Hokusai and the films of Akira Kurosawa — all set to a dramatic chorus of taiko drumbeats that is merely one element of Alexandre Desplat's ever-surprising score."

"That's as close as I can get to providing an aesthetic rationale for "Isle of Dogs," Chang wrote. 

Despite this, Chang acknowledged the film's worth. 

"On a pure frame-by-frame basis, "Isle of Dogs" is a triumph of invention and micro-detail, a bravura showcase for cinematographer Tristan Oliver's impeccable widescreen compositions and the ingenious bento-box elegance of Adam Stockhausen and Paul Harrod's production design. For better and for worse, it's Wes Anderson unleashed."

Cue the subsequent Twitter moment with many agreeing with Chang's views including the following examples:

Chang later clarified his position on Twitter with those disagreeing with his view: 

As Chang also wrote, the film has been dogged by the 'ever contenious subject of cultural appropriation' since its premiere at the recent Berlin International Film Festival. 

Now the issue has fully been let off its chain. 

The Isle of Dogs hits Australian cinemas 12 April.