This week’s playlist is a mix of Mulan story telling and songs about being strong, a warrior, a fighter…like Mulan! Enjoy.
- Honor to Us All – Mulan Soundtrack
- Matchmakers – Bandshes
- Matchmaker, Matchmaker – Ella Fitzgerald
- Reflection – Christina Aguilera
- Man in the Mirror – Michael Jackson
- Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
- I Ran – A Flock of Seagulls
- Hard Love – NEEDTOBREATHE
- Fight Song – Rachel Platten
- I’ll Make a Man Out of You – Mulan Soundtrack
- Rise – Katy Perry
- Confident – Demi Lovato
- A Girl Worth Fighting For – Mulan Soundtrack
- Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé
- Run This Town – JAY Z, Rihana, Kanye West
- Roar – Katy Perry
- Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
- Fighter – Christina Aguilera
- The Fighter – Gym Class Heroes feat. Ryan Tedder
- This is War – Thirty Seconds to Mars
- Stronger – Kanye West
- Warriors – Imagine Dragons
- Warrior – Ke$ha
- Warrior – Hannah Kerr
- War – Sum 41
- Warrior – Steve James feat. LIGHTS
- War – Edwin Starr
- War of Change – Thousand Foot Krutch
- Fight for You – Jason Derulo
- Battle Scars – Lupe Fiasco, Guy Sebastian
- True to Your Heart – 98 Degrees, Stevie Wonder
- Princess of China – Coldplay, Rihanna
For the movies this week, we are focusing on Chinese actors and strong female characters. Take a look and let me know if you’d add anything to the list.
Mulan is a film that came out of what is considered Disney’s Renaissance period. And as with Pocahontas (another Renaissance film) there are some glaring issues that I’m gonna go ahead and side step because 1. I love this movie and 2. Mulan is a seriously kick ass female! The problems that present themselves are there. They are worth pointing out and they are equally worth ignoring momentarily to honor the great parts of this movie and to find inspiration from Mulan’s journey. You want a searing critique, that’s not what I do. But there are plenty of sites that will rip this movie apart for you, if that’s what you’re into. Otherwise, enjoy it for what it is and what it was at the time. The first Asian princess. A celebration of Girl Power! And a movie that has my favorite Disney song of all time “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior
Before Disney has a chance at a live action version of their animated classic, Mulan, take a look at this version from 2009. A wonderful representation of the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan. And another celebration of strong feminism in a time when that was not celebrated at all.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
If we’re looking at epic Chinese movies, we cannot look any further than Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. This movie was an international success when it came out in 2000 and was rather surprising, given that the entire movie is in Mandarin with English subtitles. It has a cast of Chinese heavy hitters including Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-fat and Zhang Ziyi with direction from Ang Lee. If you haven’t seen it in a while or have never seen it at all, watch it! This movie has strong female characters, incredible action and martial arts sequences and intensely captivating cinematography!
House of Flying Daggers
This film came out in 2004, after the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but didn’t have quite the punch that Dragon had. Still a very strong film with a Chinese cast and strong female lead in Zhang Ziyi. It’s an action movie, a love story and is another must watch for Mulan Week!
Once Upon a Time in China
We cannot create a comprehensive list of Chinese movies without having Jet Li on that list! Arguably one of the greatest action stars of our time, Jet Li has been in so many movies that it would take a whole separate list to do justice to all of them. So I started us off with Once Upon a Time in China which has plenty of sequels to watch, if you want to go down the Jet Li rabbit hole…which you absolutely should (see Once Upon a Time in China II, III, Once Upon a Time in China + America and do not leave without watching Last Hero in China!) Once you start down said rabbit hole, add these Jet Li movies to your list as well: Hero, The Forbidden Kingdom, Romeo Must Die, Kiss of the Dragon, Cradle 2 the Grave and the movie he made his debut in, Shaolin Temple.
Next up on the list of must watch list of fantastic Chinese actors, Chow Yun-fat. As with Jet Li, there are plenty of movies to choose from. I chose this film from 2012, a more contemporary Chinese action movie starring Yun-fat, but you could also add any of these to your list for Mulan Week: A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Bulletproof Monk, Anna and the King oh and hey! Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End!
Speaking of amazing Chinese actors that belong on this list, we cannot go further without talking about Michelle Yeoh. Michelle was discovered in a commercial with none other than Jackie Chan (next on our list.) She then went on to become one of the most amazing female action stars, starring alongside Pierce Brosnan in the Bond film, Tomorrow Never Dies and arguably earns her place as one of the very best and most kick ass Bond girls of all time. In this movie, Tai Chi Master, Michelle stars alongside fellow Chinese action star, Jet Li. Michelle along with Jet Li and Chow Yun-fat have an impressive roster of movies that you should watch in your spare time.
Jackie Chan is another Chinese heavy hitter. Chan has been in movies since he was a kid back in the 60’s. His roster of films is incredibly long and diverse. But I chose Rush Hour for this list mainly because it was one of my introduction films to the wonderful world of Jackie Chan. I consider him the Robin Williams of marital arts. He is funny and a master and what he does! Here’s another sub list to start you down the path of greater understanding into the genius of Jackie Chan: Shanghai Noon, Drunken Master, Dragon Fist, Armour of God, Police Story, Twin Dragons, Rumble in the Bronx and so many more! Fun fact: Jackie Chan did the Beast’s voice in the Chinese dubbed version of Beauty and the Beast!!
Ok, I know what you’re thinking…Yentl is a strange choice for Mulan Week. But think about it! A girl who wants something different out of her life, dresses as a man and challenges a culture’s perception on what women can do or should do or are capable of doing. Barbra’s Yentl and Ming-Na Wen’s Mulan share many themes and struggles. And hey…girl power to both of them! Give Yentl another watch!
She’s the Man
And for something a little lighter than Yentl and even lighter than Mulan, hit up Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man. She wants to compete against the boys in soccer, but can’t. So what does she do? She dresses like a man, gets on the team and in the final moments…reveals that they all got their asses handed to them by a girl! Just like Mulan! (Ok, it’s a stretch, but I think it works! Come at me!)