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Hollywood Chinese

Where to Watch Hollywood Chinese


Hollywood Chinese is a captivating, insightful documentary from director Arthur Dong released in 2007. The film knits together a pertinent and thought-provoking exploration of Chinese representation in Hollywood through individual stories of a selection of Chinese actors, directors, and writers who have been instrumental in shaping the narrative over the decades. The narrative is thoroughly examined from the context of Chinese-American history, Hollywood's changing trends and the ensuing socio-cultural dynamics.

The focal point of the narrative is Turhan Bey, Joan Chen, and Tsai Chin, who are prominent figures within the Chinese-American film industry. They discuss their journey navigating through the tumultuous landscape of Hollywood, bringing to light the challenges, successes, and uniqueness of their experiences. That said, the documentary delves deeper than their standalone journey within Hollywood. Rather, it peels back the layers of complexity and duality in navigating their identities – both as Chinese Americans and as actors in the entertainment industry.

Turhan Bey, an Austrian-born actor of Turkish and Czech Jewish descent, was often cast in mysterious, exotic roles during the height of Hollywood's Golden Age due to his ethnically ambiguous features. His experiences in Hollywood, as a part of the influential group of actors known as the "Turhan Bey Set," provides an interesting look into the casting practices and conventions characteristic of his time.

Joan Chen, a settled immigrant from Shanghai, has been a critical figure in Hollywood since the 70s. Radiant in all her performances, she gained attention for her roles in 'Twin Peaks' and 'the Last Emperor. Her raw reflections capture the reality of being a Chinese-American woman in an industry often blinded by stereotypes and preconceived notion.

Tsai Chin, a well-renowned Chinese-English actress brought another dimension to the narrative. Known for her roles in James Bond films and absolute British theatre classics, she provided interesting insights into how cultural expectations and stereotypes played out differently between Hollywood and British films.

However, Hollywood Chinese is not just about the tales of these three actors. The documentary does an amazing job at drawing upon over a hundred years of film history to illustrate the evolution of Chinese representation on the silver screen. It discusses the first ever Chinese-American produced film in 1916 to a groundbreaking all-Asian cast in 1961's 'Flower Drum Song,' and up to 'The Joy Luck Club' in 1993. It also highlights profoundly, the stereotypes of Chinese characters that emerged early on, like Fu Manchu's image of oriental villainy or Suzie Wong's seductive dragon lady, a product of Hollywood's warped ethnic depictions.

Moving on a broader scale, the interviewees' narratives are supplemented by added viewpoints of filmmakers, actors, critics, and historians, which add depth to the discussion by cutting through the veneer of Hollywood glitz and glamour.

Moreover, as an Asian American filmmaker, Arthur Dong imbues the documentary with a personal touch. His direction guides the viewer through a narrative journey that treats these Chinese-American stories with care and sensitivity, offering a counterpoint to Hollywood's often skewed representation of minorities.

Impressively, Dong pieces the documentary with an engaging compilation of film clips, archival footages, and personal interviews woven into an enlightening review of cinema history as seen through an ethnic lens.

In a nutshell, Hollywood Chinese is a thoughtfully curated exploration of a century-long experience of Chinese artists in Hollywood. It offers an insightful glimpse into how the struggles, triumphs, setbacks, and progress in Chinese representation in Hollywood cinema interwove with the broader spectrum of race, ethnicity, identity, and politics. Despite the hurdles, the underpinning narrative celebrates the resilience, creativity, and charisma that Chinese actors, actresses, and filmmakers brought to the Hollywood tableau.

This film is not just for fans of cinema or history enthusiasts, but it is recommended to anyone looking to gain a broader perspective on underrepresented voices in media, the intricate workings of Hollywood, and the socio-cultural dynamics that shape the world of entertainment.

Hollywood Chinese is a Documentary, History movie released in 2007. It has a runtime of 89 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 7.7..

How to Watch Hollywood Chinese

Where can I stream Hollywood Chinese movie online? Hollywood Chinese is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Kanopy, Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent Hollywood Chinese for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Arthur Dong
Ang Lee, Nancy Kwan, Christopher Lee, Wayne Wang
Also directed by Arthur Dong
Also starring Turhan Bey
Hollywood Chinese is available on .