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Canceled: Saving Face

Saving Face
March 13, 2020 - 7:30 pm

A message for our patrons:

The university has recommended that we suspend events drawing more than 100 people. With this in mind, and considering the health and well-being of our entire community, the UCLA Film & Television Archive is canceling upcoming events at the Billy Wilder Theater. Learn more

Radical Cram School, Season 2, Episode 5: “Mia Yamamoto” (2020)

An unscripted web series that empowers Asian American kids and all kids of color to embrace their identities, fight for social justice, and be the revolution. Auntie Kristina introduces the Young Rebels to activist Mia Yamamoto, a Japanese American concentration camp survivor and trans women who inspires with stories from her life. 

Digital, color, English, 6 min. Series Creator: Kristina Wong. Director: Jenessa Joffe.

The Weight Off My Chest  (2017)

College student and Star Wars fan Jesse undergoes gender-affirming top surgery during their first year in college which opens them up to further explore the gender spectrum.

Digital, color, 12 min. Director: Emory Johnson.

Now Apocalypse, Episode 1: “This is the Beginning of the End”  (Starz, 3/10/2019)

One of New Queer Cinema’s key auteurs, Gregg Araki unleashed this surrealistic Starz television series barely a year ago. Its recent cancellation after only one season caught our attention because the series’ premise of a close-knit group of sexually fluid millennials living in image-conscious and performative L.A. navigating love, sex and fame in the 21st century speaks a certain truth to a broader demographic than its intended target audience.

Digital, color, 29 min. Director: Gregg Araki. Screenwriter: Gregg Araki, Karley Sciortino. Cast: Avan Jogia, Kelli Berglund, Beau Mirchoff.

Saving Face  (2004)

Director Alice Wu’s trailblazing feature debut—a heartwarming, lesbian romantic comedy between two Asian American women—followed on the heels of the whirlwind success of Better Luck Tomorrow and its wry observations about Asian masculinity and brotherhood. Both circulated the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) film festival circuit garnering momentum for breaking away from mainstream media stereotypes. At the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, presented by Visual Communications, they helped to launch the careers of its directors and casts. More than 15 years later, both indie films have not only survived the test of time, but continue to make many top film lists including the recent Los Angeles Times poll of the best 20 Asian American films of the last 20 years.

However, Wu’s progressive, normative depiction of queer female romance clashing against a Chinese immigrant context always gets overshadowed by the former’s broader genre appeal. The budding romance of surgeon Wil (Michelle Kruisec) and dancer Vivian (Lynn Chen) finds a powerful counterpoint in Joan Chen’s ostracized mother character, who can keep a secret as well. Helping to cement Asian American cinema as an independent cinema of critical and commercial merit, Wu (who is about to unveil the Netflix series, The Half Of It) and her well-rounded characters deserve our time of day more than ever.                                          

35mm, color, 91 min. Director: Alice Wu. Screenwriter: Alice Wu. Cast: Michelle Krusiec, Joan Chen, Lynn Chen.