Looking for something to pop into your VCR? Interested in movies about Asian Americans? How about Western-language films that portray the meeting of Asia and the West in terms besides the same tired, old stereotypes? Or maybe even a vintage Hollywood film featuring a pioneering Asian American actor? If your Asian American-movie jones needs to be scratched, your friends at MANAA are happy to make the following suggestions. Below is a list of titles on VHS video that you can enjoy in the privacy and comfort of your home, turning your domicile into your own private Asian American cinématheque.
Yes, we want you to have fun watching some worthwhile (and sometimes, not so worthwhile) manifestations of the moving image. But there’s also a more serious side to this list. We at MANAA are fighting for more balanced and equitable images of Asian Americans in the mainstream media. We want to push the Asian image forward, past the invisibility and the clichés. And we need your help and support to do this. But the only way to know where the Asian image is going is to know where it’s been. By checking out the titles in this guide, we can all begin to imagine what the Asian image will look like when it’s no longer living in the shadow of the stereotypes.
When you press the arrows to go forwards or backwards on the interactive slider below, the title and a description will pop up for the movie. You can then view the trailer for the film and get a better idea of what it’s about. The ones that don’t have trailers available have the full movie or posters instead.
Unless noted, movie descriptions are by longtime MANAA member Robert Payne.
Okay, let’s go to the movies! Pull up your favorite chair. Keep the clicker where it’s in ready reach. And get the popcorn ready. Here we go:
There you have it. Also consult such resources as Visual Communications (213) 680-4462, The Center For Asian American Media (CAAM) and the Japanese American National Museum (213) 625-0414 for specialty videos not usually found in mainstream video stores.
Anything we missed? Please let us know. Feel free to leave suggestions or comments. And don’t forget to rewind.