What We Have In Common

Filmmaker Arthur Dong's new documentary Hollywood Chinese, explores the complicated relationship between Chinese culture and American Cinema

BY Japhy Grant

April 14 2008 12:00 AM ET

When you look at
out documentary filmmaker Arthur Dong’s best known
films, Licensed to Kill a searing look at
anti-gay hate crime murders and Family
Fundamentals
, a tragic look at what happens when
Christian conservative parents have gay children, you
can understand how he could call his latest project,
Hollywood Chinese, a retelling of the
Chinese-American experience in Tinseltown by the people
who lived it, “a nice change of pace”. The
film, featuring interviews with Nancy Kwan,
Christopher Lee, Amy Tam, M. Butterfly writer
David Henry Hwang and out actor B.D. Wong plays in
Oakland and San Francisco through April 23rd.

Arthur Dong, Christopher Lee | Advocate.com

What inspired you to take on this film? I finished 10 years of intense filmmaking with
Licensed to Kill and Family Fundamentals.
It was nice to do a project with people I actually
like! Talking to all the people in this film was such
a joy. They made me laugh, made me smile. I loved working on
it. You know, it’s a film about race and
representation and sexuality. And it’s a film
about Hollywood, the glamour and the sets. I always wanted
to be a film historian as a kid. For me it was a trip
back in time and I think it was important to tell he
story before the it faded away.

Did you learn anything from the making of the film
about Hollywood or being a Chinese American that you
didn’t know before?
The thing that [Hollywood’s] all about
-- money -- really came to the forefront.
There are considerate people who want to do the right
thing, but it’s ultimately about the bottom line and
the box office. It’s about if they can make
money off of you and if they can, they will.

Tags: film

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