Anthropology: After Gran Torino, A workshop with Lead Actor Bee Vang on race, masculinity, and media activism

January 19, 2011

Since it was released, Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film “Gran Torino” has become one of the most taught and discussed films in the fields of race and ethnicity, identity politics, and cinematic representations of those issues. In this workshop, lead actor Bee Vang and Hmong community expert / anthropologist Louisa Schein explore and engage many of the issues being raised in college classrooms around the country. For those who may not have seen it, Clint Eastwood’s 2008 film “Gran Torino” tells the story of the unlikely friendship between a bigoted Korean War veteran (Eastwood) and a Hmong-American teenager (Bee Vang) in contemporary Detroit. Thao (the teenager) attempts to steal Walt’s (Eastwood) prized Gran Torino as part of a gang initiation, after which Walt begins to teach Thao “how to be a man.” The film drew rave reviews, and is the only major American film to feature representations of Hmong/Miao culture in a major way. In the workshop, Bee Vang talks about the production process, repercussions for the Hmong community, and the politics of race and masculinity as presented in the film.

The event will begin officially at 2 pm, with a screening of the film, followed by the workshop / discussion at approximately 4 pm.