While local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. In the wake of a year that has seen a horrific spike in violent rhetoric and physical attacks against Asians in this country, we're highlighting five films that aim to uplift and amplify the myriad voices of Asian American women.
Slaying the Dragon (1988)
This 58-minute documentary by Deborah Gee uses interviews and archival footage to grapple with the history of the media's harmful portrayals of Asian and Asian American women, and how these depictions perpetuate stereotypes of exoticism and submissiveness. Kanopy.
Irma Vep (1996)
Maggie Cheung stars as a semi-fictionalized version of herself: a Chinese movie star on location in Paris to shoot a remake of the 1915 silent film Les Vampires, despite the fact that she doesn't speak French. Directed by Olivier Assayas, this French New Wave-inspired drama delves into motifs of alienation, identity and the fine line between fantasy and reality. Criterion Channel, HBO Max.
The Pillow Book (1996)
"I am certain that there are two things in life which are dependable: the delights of the flesh and the delights of literature. I have had the good fortune to enjoy them both equally." Nagiko (Vivian Wu) is so obsessed with words, she develops a fetish for writing calligraphy on people's bodies. A Trainspotting-era Ewan McGregor co-stars in this drama directed by Peter Greenaway. Apple TV, Google Play, Hoopla, iTunes, Ovid, Vudu, YouTube.
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
Adapted from the seminal novel by Amy Tan, Wayne Wang's affecting drama centers on the intricate relationships between four Chinese immigrant mothers, who made great sacrifices to come to America, and their Chinese American daughters, who struggle with fears of inadequacy. Over time, the women learn to understand and empathize with each other. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play, Hoopla, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube.
Over the Moon (2020)
Recently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, this musical fantasy follows a 13-year-old girl named Fei Fei (Cathy Ang) who builds a rocket ship in the hope of blasting off to meet magical moon goddess Chang'e (Philippa Soo). Sandra Oh, John Cho, Ken Jeong and Margaret Cho co-star. Netflix.