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Chan is Missing

Wayne Wang

Chan Is Missing is a 1982 American independent comedy-drama film produced and directed by Wayne Wang. The film, which is shot in black and white, is plotted as a mystery with noir undertones, and its title is a play on the popular Charlie Chan film series which focuses on a fictional Chinese immigrant detective in Honolulu. Chan Is Missing turns the Charlie Chan detective trope on its head by making “Chan” the missing person that the film’s two protagonists, Jo and Steve, search for. In the process of trying to locate Chan, a fractured, even contradictory portrait of him emerges, mirroring the complexities of the polyglot Chinese American community that Chan’s character allegorizes.

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film 3 out of 4 stars and wrote that the film is “whimsical treasure of a film that gives us a real feeling for the people of San Francisco’s Chinatown” and it “has already become something of a legend because of the way it was filmed” that it demonstrates a “warm, low-key, affectionate and funny look at some real Chinese-Americans” and went to say “almost without realizing it, we are taken beyond the plot into the everyday lives of these people.”

“Chan Is Missing—generally considered the first Asian-American fiction film to make an impression with mainstream audiences—remains not just a ground-breaking film, but also a witty, intelligent, mischievous attempt to mix identity politics (of an inquisitive, skeptical sort), social documentary, and genre parody. Thirty-four years on, it still looks brazenly inventive and bracingly fresh.” – Film Comment

Showing

  • 8/28 | 8:00PM
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