Hollywood Chinese

Watch Hollywood Chinese

  • 2007
  • 1 hr 29 min
  • 7.7  (223)

Hollywood Chinese is a captivating documentary film that takes its audience on an informative and riveting journey through the history of Chinese Americans in Hollywood cinema. It is a comprehensive exploration of the challenges and triumphs experienced by the Chinese American community in their quest for a voice in Hollywood. The film is a joint production by the Chinese American Museum and WETA, and is directed by Arthur Dong, an internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker. Hollywood Chinese boasts a cast of actors, directors, scholars, and critics, who discuss the evolution of Chinese American representation in Hollywood over the past century. The movie features interviews with iconic figures such as Turhan Bey, Joan Chen, Tsai Chin, James Hong, Nancy Kwan, and Lisa Lu, among others.

The documentary takes its viewers through the early days of cinema in the United States, noting how the industry was initially dominated by white Americans and how minorities struggled to make their way into the industry. The film chronicles how early representations of Chinese Americans in the film were simplistic and stereotypical, with yellowface actors portraying characters with stereotypical traits such as subservience, passivity, and broken English.

As the film industry grew, so did the role of Chinese Americans in it. The movie documents how Chinese Americans began to carve a foothold in Hollywood in the 1920s and 1930s, opening the door for a new wave of actors, directors, and writers. These trailblazers paved the way for the current generation of Chinese American artists who have achieved success in the mainstream film industry.

Hollywood Chinese also examines the negative impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. It prohibited Chinese from immigrating to the US and limited the rights of those Chinese immigrants who were already in the country. The Act had a deleterious effect on the Chinese American community and fueled the narrative that Chinese Americans were outsiders in American society.

But despite the obstacles, Chinese American artists continued to create and make their mark in Hollywood. The film explores the work of filmmakers such as Wayne Wang, who used his early independent films to showcase the untold stories of his community. The works of directors like Ang Lee, who brought stories from his experience in different cultures to Hollywood audiences, and Justin Lin, who has found great success with the Fast and Furious franchise, have also been featured in Hollywood Chinese.

The movie also highlights actors who have embraced the challenge of representing the Chinese American experience on the big screen. The documentary shares stories of breakthrough performances by Anna May Wong, who played a lead role in the 1929 film Piccadilly, and James Hong, who played the fabled character of Lo Pan in John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China.

Hollywood Chinese also acknowledges the work of critics and scholars, such as Lisa Lowe and Peter X. Feng, who have brought academic rigor and critical awareness to the understanding of Chinese American representation in the film.

Ultimately, Hollywood Chinese serves as a love letter to the Chinese American community and their contribution to the film industry. It highlights their triumphs and the challenges they faced on their journey to achieving recognition and success. It celebrates the courage, resilience, and creativity of Chinese Americans who refused to be silenced and pushed forward to tell their stories for those who had long forgotten.

Hollywood Chinese is a 2007 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7.

Where to Watch Hollywood Chinese
Hollywood Chinese is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent Hollywood Chinese for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 29 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (223)