Friday, July 8, 2011

Film Pairing — The Real Chinatown and a Hankie

DVD Photos of Hayashi and Moy by Nancy Wong
There is crime during the evening, but very little. No violence. No sex. In the first, Chan is Missing (1982), we witness two Chinese taxi drivers (Wood Moy and Marc Hayashi) searching for…well Chan, a character no one knows well. In fact they all seem to know a different Chan. But plot here is merely an excuse to travel through San Francisco’s Chinatown — the real one, not the exotic Hollywood version with stereotypical characters. In fact, the black and white, near documentary style is both the film’s strength and weakness. It’s a great way to begin to understand Chinese culture in America. For example, we have a glimpse at the cultural differences between American-born Chinese and Chinese immigrants. But director Wayne Wang’s mix of a real-life documentary with a tale of suspense has its awkward moments.
The second, The Yellow Handkerchief (2010) is a far more polished film. William Hurt is the just-released convict. Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne are the troubled teens. Because of the horrible Louisiana weather, they stumble upon each other. Because of the battered condition of their lonely, lost souls and the need to go somewhere…anywhere… the three slowly bond to discover the road the three of them are now on actually goes somewhere. This is a finely acted small movie that seems to have slipped in under the radar. It also stars Maria Bello, the actress starring in the American version of Prime Suspect.
Drinks for the evening? Seems like a beer evening to me. Because of the strong Chinese half of the double feature, how about Tsingtao?

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