Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Slanted Screen|
Actor: Jason Scott Lee; Tzi Ma; Mako; Dustin Nguyen; James Shigeta; Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa; Terence Chang; Phillip Rhee; Heidi Levitt; Gene Cajayon; Will Yun Lee; Eric Byler; Bobby Lee
Director: Jeff Adachi
Genres: Special Interests, Documentary
Studio: Repnet Llc Release Date: 05/01/2007
Marvelous Work on Some Men of Color
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 11/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Fade to Black," a documentary on Blacks in Hollywood, spoke of both genders. "The Bronze Screen," a work on Latinos, did the same. When I rented "The Slanted Screen," I thought it would speak of both genders too. However, it only spoke of men. I am fascinated by men's studies and don't think enough work has been produced about men of color, so I applaud this effort.
It can be hard to focus on men without sounding sexist. This work on Asian men avoids sexism by not discussing Asian women at all. It never says, "Asian-American actors have it harder than Asian-American actresses." Dr. Michael Messner once quoted Ben Fong-Torres as saying historically the West has looked on Asian women with favor, but Asian men with suspicion. That comparative statement does not come up in this documentary. Still, Frank Chin is interviewed and some Asian-American female writers have called him sexist in the past. This work has interviewees who are Asian males and white females. One wonders why it had no Asian females when it had women of another race. The interviewees were a mix of actors, academics, and directors. For those familiar with "Masters of the Pillow," it will be shocking to hear Dr. Darell Hamamoto speak on a non-blue topic. Mr. Nguyen, the Asian actor from "21 Jump Street," wears this loud, 1970s shirt that terribly distracted me as a viewer.
So much of the depictions of Asian males in Hollywood has been done under the despicable practice of "yellowface." This work doesn't bring it up until 1/3 into the film. I think this was meant to center real men of Asian descent. In "The Bronze Screen," older actors and B-list actors were interviewed. It stood out that Jennifer Lopez and Benicio del Toro were absent. Though George Takei and Russell Wong did not participate, it did seem like almost every Asian-American male actor did.
Robert Townsend's comedy "Hollywood Shuffle" spoke of how African-American actors and actresses don't like demeaning film roles but also struggle with taking what they can get. This work only briefly wrestles with that. It shows a demeaning role that the late Pat Morita once played. However, when Mr. Morita died, he was acknowledged by many as a respected and pioneering Asian-American actor. The tough, Asian guy from "American Me" tries to defend his roles by saying he has "b*lls."
The work only covers East and Southeast Asian men. Its title incorrectly sounds like it would include South Asian men. Why not have included Kal Penn or Ben Kingsley? They could have brought up that the Indian man in "Short Circuit," a 1980s film, was a Caucasion in "brownface." Perhaps a director of South Asian descent can use this documentary as a stepping stone to make such a necessary work.
This work must be seen by Asian-American Studies majors and by anyone concerned about men of color in the United States. I suggest viewers also read Jachinson Chan's "Chinese American Masculinities" and Kam Louie's "Theorising Chinese Masculinity.""
B. Chu | Sydney | 02/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I highly recommended this amazing piece of documentary to anyone.
The film gives audiences an inside view of the difficulty Asian American actors facing in Hollywood through various interviews with actors, writers and directors.
An absolute must watch for those whose curious with the "Why there are no Asians on TV!?" question."
Be Sure to Watch the Broadcast Version
E. Joe | 03/31/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented The Slanted Screen from Netflix and enjoyed it, but found it somewhat roughly and incoherently cut. I decided to buy it, nevertheless. To my surprise, I found that the copy I bought had an additional "Broadcast Version" narrated by Daniel Dae Kim that featured far superior editing. The film in its re-edited version is much more smooth and straightforward in terms of the history it's trying to tell, and the additional movie clips, more complete interview snippets, and overall structuring and placement elevate the documentary far beyond the original theatrical version. I wish the producer would do more to promote the broadcast version and help the market distinguish it as the far superior re-edit."
Much needed documentary
ChefBum | Fremont,, CA United States | 08/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
""The Slanted Screen" is a much-needed documentary-type short film written, produced, and directed by Jeff Adachi, current Public Defender of the city of San Francisco.
The crux of the issue addressed is the lack of substantial roles for Asian-American actors in today's movie industry. Recent success stories for actors such as John Cho, Bobby Lee, Sung Kang, and others seems to point to a certain cause for optimism-- indeed, as this documentary points out, Sessue Hayakawa, one of the leading actors and leading man in silent films pre-1920.
Much of the film comprises of interviews with current AA actors such as Mako (who passed away shortly after the interviews), James Shigeta, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jason Scott Lee, Tzi Ma, and several others. I particularly enjoyed the candid, articulate, poignant interview of Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa. I don't think anyone can see that interview and look upon him as an actor the same way ever again.
It is a bone of contention about how much of a role role models seen in the movies, TV, and other media have on the development of the children who watch them growing up. What is not under debate is how much of a struggle it has been for AA male actors to succeed in Hollywood and other media markets. My hat is off to them; it seems to very much be an uphill battle breaking into the mainstream. Independent Asian American films are the only types of films in which they are able to consistently get substantial acting roles, which is a shame."