How Wes Anderson’s ‘Isle of Dogs’ edges into cultural appropriation

"Isle of Dogs" follows the adventure of one boy's attempt to rescue his pet after a dog flu epidemic leads to the banishment of canines to Trash Island.
(Fox Searchlight)

Since its debut, “Isle of Dogs” has been met with controversy over the question of the film’s cultural appropriation and seemingly inexplicable setting in a future Japan. Our film critic, Justin Chang, tackled this problem and eloquently asked in his review, “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?”

In response to Chang’s review, and Jen Yamato‘s subsequent discussions about the film on social media, Wes Anderson critics and fans have fought tirelessly over these questions, debating the relationship between appropriation and creative freedom.

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