Cinematic Chat

by Elsa Ying (’23)

Cinematic Chat examines popular media and their relationship to current social issues. In each article, I dive into one specific movie or television show through a singular lens, like feminism or environmental justice. I aim to help readers think more critically about the content they consume and how it fits into the greater context of the world.

Cinematic Chat: the Percy Jackson adaptation and representation

by Elsa Ying (’23) | November 18, 2020 In March 2021, author Rick Riordan announced the search for directors and a cast for a television adaptation of his beloved fantasy series Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Set to air on Disney+ in early 2024, the series was greenlit in January 2022, followed quickly by casting…

Cinematic Chat: “Avatar” (2009) and social context

by Elsa Ying (’23) | October 7, 2022 James Cameron’s iconic science fiction film Avatar (2009) returned to theaters on September 23 to generate excitement for its long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of the Water (set to release in December 2022). Avatar’s re-release offers yet another opportunity to appreciate the gorgeous special effects and production…

Cinematic Chat: growing pains in “Turning Red”

by Elsa Ying (’23) | April 8, 2022 Disney’s recent movies tend to focus on stories of families of color, whether through the lens of magical realism in Encanto or Marvel’s expansive universe in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. However, their most recent film, Turning Red, illustrates an entirely new perspective by…

Cinematic Chat: offscreen diversity in “Avatar: The Last Airbender”

by Elsa Ying (’23) | March 21, 2022 The rising demand for racial and ethnic representation in film, television and all forms of media has recently sparked conversations about representation offscreen. While television shows and movies have portrayed people of color on screen from the beginning of the industry, more often than not, they were…

Cinematic Chat: Marginalized identities in “The Sex Lives of College Girls”

by Elsa Ying (’23) | February 14, 2022 In recent years, HBO Max has proven that it is no stranger to producing content for the teen demographic; however, the comedy-drama television series The Sex Lives of College Girls diverts from their traditional high school drama to depict college life through a refreshing new lens with…

Cinematic Chat: the “‘Twilight’ Renaissance” and racism

by Elsa Ying (’23)|November 19, 2021 Stephanie Meyer, the author of Twilight, started one of the most recognizable franchises of the early 2010s. Not only did Meyer’s original four-book series achieve huge commercial success, but also the film franchise that followed all but cemented Twilight’s place in pop culture. However, its widespread popularity also instigated…

Cinematic Chat: Black Widow and feminism

By Elsa Ying (’23) | October 11, 2021 Black Widow (2021) is only the second female-led movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, after Captain Marvel’s release in 2019. Despite the fact that its heroine, Natasha Romanoff, was established as early as the second movie of the twenty-four film franchise, it wasn’t until over a decade…