Filmmakers Look Behind Hollywood’s Lens on Race
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Finding the Filmmakers’ Work
Hollywood Chinese recently became available, separately or in a boxed set titled “Stories from Chinese America” with two other DVDs showcasing Dong’s work. One of these, the supremely charming Forbidden City, U.S.A., features vintage footage from the legendary all-Chinese nightclub in 1940s San Francisco, as well as present-day interviews with the men and women who wowed its patrons. The third disc in the set contains three short films, including the Oscar-nominated Sewing Woman, based on the life of Dong’s mother, who came to San Francisco as an immigrant; Lotus, an historical feature set in a Chinese village where a woman is struggling with the decision to have her daughter’s feet bound; and Living Music for Golden Mountains, a portrait of Dong’s music teacher, a Chinese immigrant in San Francisco who kept in touch with his cultural identity through music.
Dong’s distinguished body of cinematic activism also includes three landmark films on homophobia, collected in a previously released boxed set, “ Stories from the War on Homosexuality”: Coming Out Under Fire, based on Allan B érubé’s book about gay and lesbian veterans of World War II; Licensed to Kill, asking convicted murderers of gay men why they did it; and Family Fundamentals, focusing on gay and lesbian children disowned by religious parents.