Thursday, March 21, 2013

Seeking Asian Female

Wednesday evening I was at the San Francisco premiere of local filmmaker Debbie Lum's documentary Seeking Asian Female, playing at CAAMFest this week. The film follows Steven, a white man in his 60s, gleefully unabashed about his obsession with young Asian women. Online, he meets 30-year-old Sandy from Shenzhen, & she comes to the States to marry him. The director Ms. Lum finds herself compelled by Sandy's situation & gets so involved that the relationship cannot succeed without her intervention as translator, marriage counselor, & confidante. The film has many uncomfortable scenes. We watch Sandy & Steven struggle with communication difficulties, money, & life as a couple. Ms. Lum occasionally throws in censorious questions of her own. You're never quite sure if things are working out, so it makes for compulsive viewing,

CAAMFest 2013 photo IMG_20130320_181905_zps9ffc72f2.jpgThis was an added screening & sold out. I waited in the rush line with about 20 others & got in moments before the movie started. Many women were in the audience, but not as many mixed race couples as I would have thought. Ms. Lum was present & answered questions afterward. We learned that Steven & Sandy are still married, & that Sandy is in school, nearly fluent in English, & has a driver's license. Ms. Lum initially profiled 5 men with yellow fever, but only Steven found a woman. Once Sandy came to the US, Ms. Lum decided to focus the entire film on Steven & Sandy's relationship.

It's the kind of movie that you immediately want to talk about, so it's appropriate that the Saturday screening is followed by a panel discussion. Ms. Lum will also release a related series of on-line films.

§ Seeking Asian Female (2012)
Debbie Lum, dir
82 mins, USA

Pacific Film Archive Theater
March 15, 2013 7:00 pm

Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
March 20, 2013 6:30 pm

New People
March 23, 2013 5:00 pm


John Marcher said...

"Ms. Lum initially profiled 5 men with yellow fever, but only Steven found a woman" is my favorite line of all time from your blog, Axel. I'd really like to see this.

Axel Feldheim said...

I'm glad to be so amusing. It does make me curious to see the guys who did not make it into the film.