When you see the words "performance artist" in a news article, you can almost bet the words "publicity stunt" will soon follow, and I believe that's what we have here. A Beijing artist named Zhao Bandi, who uses images of pandas in all his work and walks around all the time carrying a stuffed panda, is suing DreamWorks over its offensive depiction of the animal -- the Chinese national symbol -- in the recent animated hit Kung Fu Panda.

The film has been successful in China, too -- or, as Varietyputs it, "has done boffo B.O." -- which suggests the average Chinese citizen doesn't find it insulting. But Zhao says differently. His two major points of contention? First, Po, the panda voiced by Jack Black who is the film's protagonist, has green eyes, and green is the color of evil. (I have zoomed in on the eyes in the picture so you can see for yourself how evil they are.) Second, Po's father in the film is not another panda but a duck. (Well, Zhao says he's a duck. I thought he was a goose. If I'm right, will that technicality invalidate the lawsuit?)

Variety quotes Zhao as demanding to see DreamWorks' "creative meeting records" to explain Po's green eyes, which he insists must be a "conspiracy." As for the duck issue, Zhao says this: "Drawing the father of the giant panda as a duck is an insult to the Chinese people. In a few years time, I'm worried some young Chinese people will think their ancestor is Donald Duck." I confess I don't see why thinking you descended from a duck is any worse than thinking you descended from a panda, but my knowledge of Chinese culture is somewhat limited.
categories Cinematical