Isle of Dogs

(Anderson, 2018)

Wes Anderson's latest is an endearing adventure and one of the most beautiful displays of stop-motion ever created, but the controversy surrounding Anderson's use of Japanese imagery has cast a dark shadow over the film, reminding us all that there is a fine line between inspiration and appropriation.

In lieu of a full review, we have opted to give this space to two existing articles about the film. The first is from Justin Chang, a film reviewer for the LA Times whose review of Isle of Dogs has gone viral. Chang addresses the film's problem with cultural sensitivity and Anderson's "weakness for racial stereotype."

The second comes from Kunichi Nomura, the voice of Mayor Kobayashi, and co-writer of the film. Nomura, who has collaborated with Anderson and co-writer Roman Coppola before, spoke with Deadline Hollywood about his role in bringing "Japanese authenticity" to the film. In his own words, his goal was "to help make the story details such as the dialogue and general look & feel of the film as accurate as possible."

If nothing else, this film should serve as a conversation starter for artists and audiences, about how to appropriately celebrate a culture that is not your own, if at all.

Justin Chang's review: Wes Anderson's 'Isle of Dogs' is often captivating, but cultural sensitivity gets lost in translation

Kunichi Nomura's interview: ‘Isle Of Dogs’: Kunichi Nomura On The Asian Authenticity Of Wes Anderson’s Stop-Motion Canine Adventure

 
David Merkle