The Coin of the Realm

Valuing the Asian American Feature-Length Film

Authored by: Brian Hu

The Routledge Companion to Asian American Media

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  February  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138846012
eBook ISBN: 9781315727745
Adobe ISBN: 9781317540847


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What happened to Asian American cinema? It’s a reasonable question, considering the momentum built by the first wave of scholarship on Asian American cinema in publications such as Moving the Image (1991) and Peter X Feng’s Identities in Motion (2002). These books discussed Asian American cinema in the present tense and theorized identity formation, minority filmmaking practices, and gender and sexuality in the narrative, experimental, and documentary films made by Asian Americans in the 1980s and 1990s. More than just documenting and acknowledging the existence of contemporaneous Asian American films and videos, this scholarship was often in dialogue with filmmakers themselves in collectively theorizing Asian American identity, representation, and history. But if one looks to current academic literature for signs of new Asian American independent filmmaking, one would wonder whether Asian American cinema still exists at all. With the exception of a surge of interest in Justin Lin’s 2002 feature Better Luck Tomorrow and the chapters written for this collection, there has been very little academic writing on films directed by Asian Americans since 2000. 1

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