Kanopy Spotlight: Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Are you looking for the next film to watching during movie night? Your Livingston Public Library card offers you access to Kanopy, which gives you access to thousands of films from the comfort of home. This month Kanopy has a selection of films in celebration of Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Tell us in the comments below what films you will be enjoying.

The Farewell

From Kanopy: In this funny, heartfelt story, Billi’s (Awkwafina) family returns to China under the guise of a fake wedding to stealthily say goodbye to their beloved matriarch–the only person that doesn’t know she only has a few weeks to live.

Golden Globe winner for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival.

Columbus

From Kanopy: Casey (Haley Lu Richardson) lives with her mother in a little-known Midwestern town haunted by the promise of modernism. Jin (John Cho), a visitor from the other side of the world, attends to his dying father. Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the architecture that surrounds them.

Lucky Grandma

From Kanopy: In the heart of Chinatown, New York, an ornery, chain-smoking, newly widowed 80-year-old Grandma (Tsai Chin) is eager to live life as an independent woman, despite the worry of her family. When a local fortune teller (Wai Ching Ho) predicts a most auspicious day in her future, Grandma decides to head to the casino and goes all in, only to land herself on the wrong side of luck…suddenly attracting the attention of some local gangsters. Desperate to protect herself, Grandma employs the services of a bodyguard from a rival gang (Corey Ha) and soon finds herself right in the middle of a Chinatown gang war.

Director Sasie Sealy brings to life a dark comedy about immigrant life, the vulnerabilities of aging and an unexpected friendship. Set in alleyways underground mahjong parlors with a cast of richly drawn characters (including Taiwanese movie star Corey Ha), LUCKY GRANDMA is a love letter to Chinatown and an homage to all the badass elderly women who inhabit it.

Slaying the Dragon: Reloaded

From Kanopy: SLAYING THE DRAGON is a comprehensive look at media stereotypes of Asian and Asian American women since the silent era. From the racist use of white actors to portray Asians in early Hollywood films, through the success of Anna May Wong’s sinister dragon lady, to Suzie Wong and the ’50s geisha girls, to the Asian-American anchorwoman of today, this fascinating videotape shows how stereotypes of exoticism and docility have affected the perception of Asian-American women.

SLAYING THE DRAGON: RELOADED looks at the past 25 years of representation of Asian and Asian American women in U.S. visual media — from blockbuster films and network television to Asian American cinema and YouTube — to explore what’s changed, what’s been recycled, and what we can hope for in the future.

Meet the Patels

From Kanopy: In this real-life “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” an Indian-American man who is about to turn 30 gets help from his parents and extended family so he can start looking for a wife the traditional Indian way.

Slanted Screen

From Kanopy: From silent film star Sessue Hayakawa to Harold & Kumar Go to Whitecastle, THE SLANTED SCREEN explores the portrayals of Asian men in American cinema, chronicling the experiences of actors who have had to struggle against ethnic stereotyping and limiting roles. The film presents a critical examination of Hollywood’s image-making machine, through a fascinating parade of 50 film clips spanning a century.

Winner of the Best Short Documentary award at the NY International Independent Film & Video film festival, THE SLANTED SCREEN envisions a new, exciting future in the entertainment industry, where the diversity of our culture and society is fully recognized and represented.

Forever Chinatown

From Kanopy: A documentary about unknown, self-taught 81-year-old artist Frank Wong who has spent the past four decades recreating his fading memories by building romantic, extraordinarily detailed miniature models of the San Francisco Chinatown rooms of his youth. This film takes the journey of one individual and maps it to a rapidly changing urban neighborhood from 1940s to present day.

A meditation on memory, community, and preserving one’s own legacy, Frank’s three-dimensional miniature dioramas become rare portals into a historic neighborhood and a window to the artist’s filtered and romanticized memories and emotional struggles. In his bargain with immortality, Frank announces plans to cremate his exquisite works with him upon his death in order to ‘live inside them forever’ in his afterlife.

Bad Rap

From Kanopy: This award-winning documentary follows the lives and careers of four Asian-American rappers trying to break into hip-hop culture, which often treats them as outsiders. Sharing dynamic live performance footage and revealing interviews, these artists are driven to make the most skeptical critics into believers.

Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival. Winner of Best Documentary Feature at the San Diego Asian Film Festival and at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.

The Grace Lee Project

From Kanopy: When award-winning Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee was growing up in Missouri, she was the only Grace Lee she knew. As an adult, however, she moved to New York and then California, where everyone she met seemed to know “another Grace Lee.” But why did they assume that all Grace Lees were nice, dutiful, piano-playing bookworms?

This refreshing film reveals the intriguing contradiction of the “Grace Lee” persona–simultaneously impressive and forgettable, special and generic, an emblem of a subculture and an individual who defies categorization. With wit and charm, THE GRACE LEE PROJECT challenges the cultural investments made in the idea of Grace Lee, all the while sending her a love letter.

Official Selection at the SXSW Film Festival. Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Bitter Melon

From Kanopy: When a Filipino-American family reunites for a Christmas party, the holiday takes a dark turn when they conspire to murder the abusive bully of the family in this dark comedy by filmmaker H.P. Mendoza.

Best Narrative Feature winner at the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

Princess Kaiulani

From Kanopy: The true story of a Hawaiian princess’ attempts to maintain the independence of the island against the threat of American colonization.

Gaysians

From Kanopy: Gaysians is an exploration of family, immigration and language through the voices of five queer and trans Asian-Americans from New York City. The subjects share stories about their families, and in doing so, shed light on the complicated histories that have shaped these intimate and personal relationships. This moving short is an illuminating patchwork documentary exploring family and culture through the personal stories of a diverse panoply of LGBTQ individuals.

-Jessica, Adult Services & Acquisitions Librarian

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