Chinese-American films that celebrate San Francisco | Amancay Tapia

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San Francisco is undoubtedly a city of cinema and many well-known movies and TV series have been filmed in the Golden Gate city. The contribution of Asian American filmmakers to American cinema is immeasurable, and many of the best Chinese-American films were shot in San Francois.

If all you’ve seen is “Crazy Rich Asians,” get ready for charm and understated elegance with the films on this list. They have little in common with Hollywood extravaganzas and reflect neither crazy nor wealthy Asians, but a very humble, charming and honest Chinese. community on their own terms. These arthouse films found success primarily in the mainstream arthouse circuit of the 90s and 80s.

Without further ado, here are some recommendations for your must-see list, all directed by legendary independent director Wayne Wang, a pioneer of Asian-American cinema who lives in the Bay Area and one of the first Asian filmmakers to work in Hollywood. .

Chan disappeared, 1982

Director: Wayne Wang

An entertaining mystery film made for $20,000 in 1982 and extremely rich in set pieces and character detail. San Francisco taxi drivers Jo and her nephew Steve have $4,000 meant for a taxi license stolen by Chan Hung, who takes the money and disappears.

The two taxi drivers go looking for him in Chinatown, believing he really had no intention of stealing the money. As they knock on doors and talk to people, we really feel the people of San Francisco’s Chinatown. The search for “Chan” almost becomes an excuse for the director to guide us through San Francisco’s Chinese community. At the time, they were isolated from the rest of the United States and divided due to their own feuds. Comical, intriguing and, often almost anthropological, it was one of the first films to show what the American independent sector was capable of.

Dim Sum: A Bit of Heart, 1985

Director: Wayne Wang

I must admit that since I saw this movie, my dream is not a Caribbean cruise but something as simple as a vacation in San Francisco where I visit China Town and eat the most delicious Dim Sum. The simple pleasures in life undoubtedly provide the greatest joy and this film is just that, joyful, understated and appetizing too.

The movie is a very charming story of a San Franciscan Chinese family living in Chinatown. A career woman in her thirties (Laureen Chew) and her widowed mother (Kim Chew), welcome the new year together. The mother, Mrs. Tam, is certain that she will soon die but before that, she wants her daughter, Geraldine, to marry. The story seems anything but dramatic but the film is a real treat to watch.

Complex human emotions and the universal dilemma for many children as they grow up and are divided by the desire to follow their own path in life and the responsibility of caring for their family.

The Joy Luck Club, 1993

Director: Wayne Wang

This Chinese-American film is one that has crossed over to the American mainstream as it resonates with anyone who has a family, so everyone will relate to it. Based on Amy Tan’s bestselling 1989 novel, the film gives us a wonderful insight into the lives of Chinese families caught between Chinese and Western values ​​and struggling with high expectations, psychological issues and cultural differences. playing “Mahjong”, theirs is the “Joy Luck Club” of the title. A joy to watch.

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