How about the early Wayne Wang films?
His first feature "Chan is Missing"
is a 16mm b&w film that takes place
in San Francisco 's Chinatown in the 70's. Chan,
a long-time resident of S.F.'s Chinatown, has
disappeared. Chan's cab-driver buddy and his
nephew set out to find him, and their mission takes
them to all kinds of interesting people and places
in the Chinese-American community. It's a
Roshomon like tale, everybody has a different
take on why Chan is gone and where he could be. The
film is very entertaining and funny and at the same time
it gives a wonderful sense of the culture and its
dynamics across two generations.
There's also a Wang film called "The Great Wall"
(I think) about a Chinese-American family that
returns together to China. Again, it highlights
the difference between Chinese-born and their
For a more contemporary, off-beat look at the
dysfunctional Japanese-American family try the
black comedy by Jon Moritsugu called "Terminal,
For a more experimental approach theres Trin T.
Minh-Ha's film (the title is something like "Surname
Viet, Given name Nam", but that's not it exactly).
For more info on this subject contact NAATA
(the National Asian American something Association)
located at 346 Ninth St. in San Francisco.
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