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Got some e-mails via the AAA listserv about some possible movies to be shown next year (Note: David and I are off the board and only getting e-mails for the sake of writing entries; this lets us return to our full time jobs as creepy internet stalkers). A pretty interesting discussion was taking off, with some pretty cool movie names being dropped. Thought y'all would like to know about them.

So here are two films that have been discussed so far (I'm bolding everything that sounds interesting and cutting everything that's yawn-worthy from the original websites' synopses):

YEAR OF THE FISH
Cinderella in a Chinatown massage parlour

YEAR OF THE FISH is an
animated independent feature film written and directed by David Kaplan, shot entirely on location in New York City’s Chinatown. A modern-day adaptation of Cinderella based on an old Chinese version of the story, it was shot on inexpensive live-action video that was used as a guide for digital painting in post-production.

A young hopeful girl named Ye Xian (An Nguyen) travels alone to New York City to try to make some money for her ailing father back home in China. She falls into the clutches of Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin), who runs a massage parlor in the heart of Chinatown. But Ye Xian refuses to do the
requisite sex work for the clients, so she is made into a menial servant who must do all the laundry, cleaning, shopping and cooking – a Cinderella. However, she finds solace in a magical fish given to her by the strange hunchback Auntie Yaga (Randall Duk Kim) and in her fleeting, tender encounters with Johnny (Ken Leung), a local jazz musician.

Kaplan’s screenplay is based on
a 9th Century Chinese variant of the folk-tale, the oldest known version of the story, recorded some 800 years before our better-known European versions.

The animation was created with an advanced algorithmic digital painting technology to achieve a living, fluctuating painterly look. The aesthetic effect is totally unique, less like a graphic novel and more like a painting brought to life.


Why I'd watch this film:
I've read this story as a kid; magical fishes are weird; the hunchback woman is played by a man; Ken Leung pretty much dominates independent American cinema, oh and he's in Lost; animated versions of live-shot films are cool (example: Waking Life). Oh yeah, and it was the centerpiece of the AAIFF 2007.


VINCENT WHO?

(Can't cut anything for this synopsis, because everything about Vincent Chin is important.)

via Vincent Chin official website:
VINCENT WHO? (48 minutes) - In 1982, Vincent Chin was murdered in Detroit by two white autoworkers at the height of anti-Japanese sentiments. For the first time, Asian Americans around the country galvanized to form a real community and movement. This documentary, inspired by a series of town halls organized by Asian Pacific Americans for Progress on the 25th anniversary of the case, features interviews with the key players at the time, as well as a whole new generation of activists. "Vincent Who?" asks how far Asian Americans have come since then and how far we have yet to go. Featured interviews include: Helen Zia (lead activist during the Chin trial), Renee Tajima Pena (director, "Who Killed Vincent Chin?"), Stewart Kwoh (Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center), Lisa Ling (journalist), Sumi Pendakur (Univ. of Southern California), Dale Minami (civic rights attorney), Doua Thor (Executive Director, Southeast Asian Resource Action Center) and a group of five diverse young APA activists whose lives were impacted by Vincent Chin.

Producer and co-director
Curtis Chin (featured in the documentary) is an award-winning writer and producer who has worked for ABC, NBC, Disney Channel and more. As a community activist, he co-founded the Asian American Writers Workshop and Asian Pacific Americans for Progress. Co-director Tony Lam is a writer, producer, and director based in Los Angeles. A former Fulbright scholar, he currently produces "Our Role Models" on LA18, where he has interviewed over 100 outstanding leaders and talents in the Asian American community.

So there you go. Why I would watch this: Vincent Chin is just too damn important for people not to know who he is. In case you get impatient and want to watch something about the man before this comes out, watch the original documentary that made Vincent Chin famous, Who Killed Vincent Chin?


If forced to make a choice at gun point for which film to watch, I'd go with Vincent Who? It brings me back to a recent event, where poet Elijah Kuang Wong recited this crazy poem at a hate crimes art exhibit that I attended in Brooklyn. It was about Vincent Chin, and Elijah went all Lily Chin on the audience and started screaming "WHERE IS MY SON? WHERE IS MY SON? WHEREISMYSONWHEREISMYSONWHEREISMYSONWHEREISMYSONWHEREISMYSON!!!!!!!!"

Elijah, if you're reading this - please know that I've seen you about seven times now at various APA events and we (you, me, the Blaaagers, and so on) should meet. We saw you critique Ryan Takemiya's ECAASU workshop in a fur jacket, the one that you always wear. That was pretty damn cool of you. We also saw you at NYCAASC '08, which was also damn cool because half of The Blaaag staff was on the planning board.

3 comments:

  1. David said...

    mar, you have dwarfed what little contributions i have made recently to this blog. i am saddened and humiliated.

    but IT'S ON! BRING IT! POSTING WAR.  

  2. Marilla said...

    So I read reviews of one film and actually watched the other, and it's so sad that neither one really wow-ed me (in fact, most reviews hated the YotG).  

  3. Elijah Kuan Wong said...

    Hey Marilla,

    thank you for the shout out.
    I'd be down for a get-together if you'd like to schedule something.
    Hit me up on the myspace.

    myspace.com/elijahkuanwong

    In violent struggle,
    E.  


 

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