Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCD chapter.

Over the break, I took a trip to LA and spontaneously decided to go watch Ip Man 4: The Finale in the theatre. I can honestly say that I am so happy I did. Going into it, I didn’t know what to expect. Unfortunately, it is quite rare for people to be tempted to watch a subtitled movie in the movie theatre, especially when it is a language they are unfamiliar with. People tend to avoid subtitled movies, so I wasn’t expecting there to be a big turnout. When I got there, I was pleasantly surprised! There were a ton of people sitting inside that theatre, and even more surprisingly, many of them were not Chinese. People of all races and cultures had come to watch a Chinese, subtitled movie in the theatre, which reminded me of how important and cool it is to represent all different cultures, languages, and perspectives in the media. 

Image source: Faisal Aljunied

Ip Man was an influential Chinese martial artist and a master of Wing Chun. He taught several students, including Bruce Lee. In Ip Man 4: The Finale Ip Man travels to America, in search of a school for his son. However, once he reaches America, he experiences multiple instances of racism and witnesses discrimination against Chinese people. The audience gets a glimpse into how difficult life was for Chinese immigrants in America in the 1960s; Chinese immigrants experienced racism in school, at work, and even in the military. As demonstrated in the movie, Chinese immigrants often felt that they had to simply “deal with” the racism they were experiencing and were discouraged from fighting back or defending themselves. Despite the hardships they faced, their immense amounts of determination pushed them through. In the film, Ip Man and several other characters demonstrate how Chinese immigrants faced racism and discrimination with strength and courage, while maintaining pride in their culture. 

Image source: wellgousa

What I loved the most about watching the movie was the overwhelming sense of pride I felt in being Chinese. The media doesn’t talk a lot about discrimination against Chinese immigrants in America, and there are very few films that bring this piece of our history into the light. Because this part of our history isn’t portrayed often in the media, not a lot of people know about the hardships that Chinese immigrants faced when they came to America. Ip Man 4 brings this part of our past to our attention, and represents Chinese immgrants in a very positive way by highlighting their strength and their determination. The movie heavily emphasized the courage and the perserverant mindset of the Chinese immigrants of the time. Ip Man fought against and defeated the racist characters, despite the ridicule and insults they threw at him and his culture. 

Image source: canburak

I think that I had an especially awesome experience watching Ip Man 4 because the other audience members were so engaged in the movie. People shook their heads at racist comments throughout the movie and they cheered when Ip Man won. People cried and laughed, and overall, they overwhelmingly enjoyed the movie. What stood out to me was the fact that they not only enjoyed the plot of the movie, but they understood the difficulties of the Chinese immigrants through the characters and recognized the negative effects of racist comments and actions. The movie was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone. Kudos to Donnie Yen, Wilson Yip, and the rest of the cast and crew for creating this masterpiece. 

I cannot say this enough: it is so incredibly important that the media is representative of all different cultures, languages, and perspectives. By bringing representation into the media, people of all backgrounds are able to recognize themselves on screen, and others are able to gain a new perspective, helping us understand each other a bit better. People don’t realize the importance of the types of characters represented in the media and the impact that it can have on audience members, but it can truly change how someone looks at themselves as a part of society. I love that media is beginning to include more diverse characters that are of different races, genders, ages, and sexual orientations, but there is still a long way to go. I hope that in the future, media producers and directors choose to include an even greater amount of diverse characters in films, so that everyone can sense a bit of pride in being represented on the big screen.

Hannah is studying Communications and Professional Writing at UC Davis. She is eager to share her experiences and lifestyle tips and tricks to motivate and inspire her peers to lead a healthy, balanced life! In her free time, Hannah enjoys playing with her dog, singing, and grabbing bubble tea with friends!
This is the UCD Contributor page from University of California, Davis!