Beyond Authenticity: the Spectre of Han Hegemony

No article about Mulan (2020) can open without mentioning the cultural genocide happening in China right now. The Chinese and Asian diaspora’s yearning to see people like ourselves on the big screen has coalesced into Disney’s live-action offering, a choppy regurgitation of orientalist tropes filmed a stone’s throw away from concentration camps.

When the diaspora begins to critique Mulan, it is easy for us to go back to talking about the importance of representation and historical accuracy as though the film happened in a vacuum. It is our usual…