|AN OUTSIDERS VIEW|
Several recent US books and films have looked back at the origins of US imperialism in the late 19th Century (as opposed to the warm-up period in which the USA dispossessed those Native Americans still alive and stole a huge chunk of Mexico). The works are sometimes explicit in their intent, perhaps spurred by the sheer awfulness of the imperialist present, and here John Sayles’s novel A Moment in the Sun, which we discussed last week, and his film Amigo, are examples.
But occasionally the reference is subtle, possibly even unconscious, and The Descendants (written and directed The Descendants, from the novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings) belongs to this category. We need not concern ourselves here with the main plot, for references to Hawaii’s past come in the sub-plot, in which Honolulu lawyer Mathew King, played by George Clooney, has to decide whether to sell a beautifully-situated plot of land originally owned by his ancestor Queen Liliuokalani and passed down through subsequent generations. One online comment I saw complained that Clooney is too white to pass as Hawaiian. But this surely is the whole point — and one which the film makes even more emphatically when the rest of the family turns up to hear his decision, for some of them are blond..... MORE
Source: The Daily Tribune