With the release of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie Finally at the end of this month, the entire world is gearing up for the climax of Barbie Summer — the entire world except for Vietnam, that is. That’s because the Southeast Asian country has banned the film from being shown, citing the bizarre cartoonish world map as the reason.
Vietnamese officials claim that the film contains a map depicting the “Line of Nine Divides,” a controversial set of lines that appear on maps to convey China’s territorial claims over the South China Sea. Vietnam also has claims in the area and has been sparring with China over this issue for decades, which has greatly alienated the “Nine Divide Line” in the minds of some Vietnamese.
We do not license the American movie Barbie “It will be released in Vietnam because it contains the offensive image of the nine-dash line,” said Ph. Kien Thanh, Head of Vietnamese Cinema. The official decision to ban the film from being shown was taken by the country’s National Film Evaluation and Classification Board.
In Barbie’s defense, her sense of geography isn’t great. In a screenshot of the map, countries are fragmented, giant floating points, there are peninsulas, islands and doodles beyond recognition. Neither point is completely distinguishable as real-world countries, but there are two large points labeled “Africa” and “Asia”, and just off the coast of “Asia” is a dotted line, which may or may not be a “nine-dashed line”. However, the line is actually eight dashes, not nines, and the map has such a caricature effect that it’s hard to take it seriously other than as a prop in a movie.
On the other hand, the South China Sea issue is real and controversial. So, why even include a world map at all? Why even bring up the possibility of disagreement in a context where it is not necessary? It feels irresponsible. She doesn’t even feel as “Barbie” as Barbie – as one Twitter user says books: “Why would Barbie ever need to know what the South China Sea is?”
Either way, the lines show up on the map, and now Barbie Summer won’t get to the people of Vietnam because of it. Looks like Oppenheimer Geopolitical drama isn’t the only blockbuster of the summer after all!
Barbie It will premiere in Los Angeles this coming Sunday (July 9) and will be in cinemas worldwide on July 21. The accompanying soundtrack drops the same day, and features Nicki Minaj, Ice Spice, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Karol G, and PinkPantheress. Revisit the latest trailer here.
Barbie leads Oppenheimer in the geopolitical debate in the Asia-Pacific region https://t.co/4kvDwVqioR
– GL (@gldivittorio) July 3, 2023