Tune into the award-winning documentary American Masters: Hollywood Chinese by Arthur Dong, which premieres on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at 9 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings), during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The film features a treasure trove of clips, punctuated with personal accounts from the movie industry’s most accomplished Chinese and Chinese American talent.
From the sexed-up Suzie Wong to the kung fu fighting Bruce Lee, THIRTEEN’s American Masters tackles issues of race and representation in Hollywood Chinese. The 90-minute film illuminates a century of Chinese American cinematic history, from rare silent classics such as Marion Wong’s The Curse of Quon Gwon (1916) to the contemporary critical and commercial success of Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005).
“American Masters is proud to share with our viewers the extraordinary stories of pioneering Chinese and Chinese American artists in Hollywood,” says Susan Lacy, creator and executive producer of American Masters, a six-time winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Primetime Non-Fiction Series. “Their immeasurable contribution to American cinema continues today with a new wave of critically-acclaimed Asian films and Oscar-winning blockbusters. The film gives strong perspective to this little-known chapter of motion picture history.”
American feature films often portray the Chinese as exotic and devious characters – or simply the “other” – reflecting the entertainment industry’s inherent racial prejudices as well as its fascination with the Far East. Hollywood Chinese features candid interviews and back lot stories from artists in front of and behind the camera, including Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Wayne Wang (Chan Is Missing, The Joy Luck Club, Smoke), Joan Chen (The Last Emperor, Saving Face, Xiu-Xiu, Autumn in New York - the latter two as director), David Henry Hwang (Possession, Golden Gate, M. Butterfly), Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), B.D. Wong (Father of the Bride, Jurassic Park, Mulan), Nancy Kwan (The World of Suzie Wong, Flower Drum Song), Lisa Lu (The Last Emperor, The Joy Luck Club), James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China, Blade Runner), Tsai Chin (The Joy Luck Club, Memoirs of a Geisha), Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club), Christopher Lee and Luise Rainer. The documentary chronicles the full gamut of Chinese representation in Hollywood. It brings to light the controversial yellowface casting of Luise Rainer in The Good Earth (1937) and the stereotyped caricatures played by Chinese American actors such as James Hong in Bloodsport 1 & 2 (1988, 1996). It also addresses the eventual trend of Asian empowerment in films such as Flower Drum Song (1961) staring Nancy Kwan and the film-adaptation of Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club (1993) directed by Wayne Wang.
American Masters: Hollywood Chinese is a production of DeepFocus Productions, Inc. in association with WNET.ORG and the Center for Asian American Media for PBS. The documentary is produced, directed, written and edited by Academy Award® nominee and triple Sundance award-winning filmmaker, Arthur Dong (Licensed to Kill, Coming Out Under Fire, Forbidden City, U.S.A.). Susan Lacy is the creator and executive producer of American Masters.
CHECK OUT THESE VIDEO-AUDIO STREAMS ONLINE: KGO TV NEWS STORY ON THE CURSE OF QUON GWON FORUM – KQED RADIO (scroll to April 11, 10am) KTSF CHINESE NEWS STORY (scroll to April 15, second news story INTERVIEW WITH NANCY KWAN AND ARTHUR DONG AT TORONTO
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