So today I saw a film at the East West Players theater over in Little Tokyo and the most I got out of it was “it’s ok.” It’s a short film. It didn’t really have a premise other than it being a story of a Taiwanese girl breaking up with her white boyfriend and flying her ass to Taipei–because hey, when life isn’t working in your favor, one can certainly just pay for an expensive plane ticket and fly to a foreign country to “find yourself.” And in that time, she meets another dude, they start spending time with each other, and have lots of fun. But somewhere in the midst of that fun, things go sour because of something she said to the guy, the guy gets upset and creates a scene, and leaves the group gathering in a rather awkward way. By this time, the film is about done, she sees the guy one last time, takes a picture of the dude (because she’s apparently a professional photographer for a big corporate company and has been there for 3.5 years but her bosses don’t even know her name or acknowledge her existence in said company), and sort of exchange friendly glances and awkward smiles before the film concludes with her flying back to America.
The entire time, I was thinking, “So…what was the point of the film?” Apparently, according to the producers during the Q&A, this was not meant as a cultural film and that it was simply a film about how flying to different country and experiencing different people in said different country changes one’s perspective about life. And I’m like, “Ok…this is assuming you even have the money to just ditch your job, fly your ass to a foreign country, and take your time to experience what it is like to be in said country in a way that would change one’s perspective about life.” Unfortunately, most people don’t have that kind of luxury to just ditch everything and fly to a foreign place to “get a change in scenery,” so to speak. So for me, what I got out of the film was this: “Here’s this spoiled, rich Taiwanese girl who happens to be a native Angeleno and when things just wasn’t working out for her, she can just hop on a plane on a moment’s notice and be in a different country AND not have to a worry about one goddamn thing except “finding yourself” in said foreign land.” So I’m sorry but what I got out of the film was not “changing your scenery (and people that you’re surrounded by) will change your perspective about life.” The whole short film just reeked of entitlement and showed me that when things don’t work out, you can just run away to a different country and start over.
But enough about the film. After the film, they had an after-party at The Far Bar and it was free appetizers all night. I didn’t want to go but my friend who is a film buff was the one who invited me to see the film with him to begin with so I felt obligated to stick it out until the end. And boy, it was a long night. Don’t get me wrong. I got free food out of it and my friend paid for a beer, which he insisted that I should have one with him, so I did, but the entire time, I was surrounded by a bunch of people in the indie film industry that I have no knowledge of or interest in. And again, don’t take this the wrong way. I am all for supporting Asian American films that is to be propagated in American media. It’s just that this is a film that I don’t care much for and I never heard about it anywhere within any of the Asian American circles that I’m a part of. How my white friend (of all my Asian friends) from Texas came upon the Kickstarter campaign for this short indie film is beyond me. And during this after-party reception at the Far Bar, I so wanted to get into these conversations about the film, but…I’m sorry to say, I really have no opinion that speaks fondly about the film other than the acting which was superb. But the premise of the short film just…to me? Fell utterly flat on its face. It’s indicative of certain aspects of the Asian American community that is so…for lack of a better word, brainwashed to believe that they are part of the social elite and deserve the best simply because they believe themselves to be part of that social elite.
I, as a poor American-born Chinese, cannot relate to this film at all. I mean, I can sort of see why flying to a different country and meeting different people can “open one’s horizons” but one doesn’t have to take that route to see things differently. Yet, the film’s producers took that route to show the audience that it takes a major change (or in this case, a major leap into a different country) in order to experience those changes. And to me, it just shows how spoiled some aspects of the Asian American community are. Not all of us are fortunate enough to pull out a few hundred dollars and fly to Taipei and live there until one has their shit together. It’s like, “Who does that shit? Rich Asians with rich parents.” Only they can do something like that. For the rest of the poorer Asian classes, we make do with what we got and we keep trucking forward despite all adversity.
Anyway, my film buff friend certainly enjoyed himself having a conversation with the one guy who is supposedly a former mentor of the producer of this film. The entire time, this former mentor kept boasting about his background in the film industry and I was like, “So….if you’re such a big shot, why haven’t I heard about you from any of my Asian American friends?” And on top of that, if he’s so well grounded in said industry, why is it that this film took so long to finally get done? Granted, the producer and his team did briefly cover that question in the Q&A but from the sounds of it, money wasn’t the issue but certainly, it would seem like they weren’t willing to invest their own money into said indie film but rather started up a Kickstarter campaign to get donations instead and use that money to fund the project to completion. The gist that I got out of it was that “they don’t care enough to get the film done but instead waited until they conveniently had nothing better to do in their own personal lives to get it done.” And again, it gave me the impression that this film was whatever’s to them, ya know what I mean? But since there were so many people that donated money for this project, they felt obligated to do it until completion, lest they appear like assholes to the donors.
And that about sums up my rant about this whole indie film for the night.