Four film screenings taking place in April will showcase a wide range of Asian and Asian American experiences. The films themselves are affiliated with two long-running series: screenings organized by the Wesleyan Film Series and the Asian American Student Collective (AASC) for Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month , and the Hindi-Urdu film series, sponsored by the Fries Center for Global Studies and South Asian Studies.
Although AAPI Heritage Month officially falls in May, the University’s semester ends in the middle of the month. For this reason, Asian student identity groups on campus including AASC, Shakti, Korean Student Association (KSA), Japanese Student Association (JSA), Chinese Culture Club (CCC ), PINOY and the Freeman Asian Scholars Association (FASA) have traditionally held events in April, as they are this year. As part of their programming for AAPI Heritage Month, the AASC is also hosting two film screenings in conjunction with the Wesleyan Film Series.
The premiere screening of “Better Luck Tomorrow,” a 2002 drama directed by Justin Lin, will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Goldsmith Family Cinema at the Jeanine Basinger Center for Film Studies on April 8. Orange County, Calif., schoolchildren involved in petty crime, “Better Luck Tomorrow” won critical acclaim for its gripping, stereotype-defying story, and in 2019 was named Best Asian American Film of the 21st Century by the Los Angeles Times.
The second of two AASC-sponsored screenings is “The Wedding Banquet,” a 1993 romantic comedy directed by Ang Lee. As part of the Wesleyan film series, the screening will take place on April 28 at The Goldsmith at the film series’ usual 8 p.m. time. Co-produced in Taiwan and the United States, “The Wedding Banquet” tells the story of Wai-Tung (Winston Chao), a gay Taiwanese immigrant living in New York who agrees to a fictional marriage with a woman to appease his traditional spirit. Parents.
“The Wedding Banquet” has won acclaim for its story of culture clash, receiving nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and Golden Globes. Although set in the United States, a slim majority of the film’s dialogue is in Mandarin Chinese and was therefore considered a foreign language film. More recent Asian American films like “The Farewell” and “Minari” have come under similar classification for their respective use of Mandarin and Korean-language dialogue, highlighting broader questions about what qualifies. of “foreigner” or “American” which are also addressed in the films themselves.
The Hindi-Urdu film series, sponsored by the Fries Center for Global Studies and South Asian Studies, began in March but continues through April, coinciding with other AAPI Heritage Month events available to the campus community .
The series began with a screening of the 2012 Indian Hindi film “English Vinglish” on Wednesday, March 23. Directed by Gauri Shinde, the film centers on the experiences of Shashi (Sridevi), who, after being mocked by her family for her lack of English proficiency, enrolls in language lessons while traveling with family in New York and bonding with various classmates. “English Vinglish” received global recognition and was shortlisted as India’s official entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars.
“The Namesake”, the next installment in the Hindi-Urdu film series, will be screened on Wednesday, April 6. “The Namesake” is a critically acclaimed 2006 film directed by Mira Nair and co-produced in the United States, India and Japan. . Based on the novel of the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, the film tells the coming-of-age story of Gogol (Kal Penn), the American-born son of Indian immigrants, and his struggles to balance expectations. and the cultural demands of his Indian. family with his life in America, going back and forth between Kolkata and New York. This screening will take place at 8 p.m. at the Goldsmith.
The conclusion of the Hindi-Urdu film series is “Bol”, a 2011 Pakistani Urdu-language film directed by Shoaib Mansoor which will be screened on Wednesday, April 20. A drama about a strict Muslim family in Lahore and the conflict over partisan Hakim (Manzar Sehbai)’s reluctance to accept his intersex child Saifi (Amr Kashmiri), “Bol” was the highest-grossing Pakistani film of 2011 and beat box office records in Pakistan. The “Bol” screening will take place at 8 p.m. at the Orfèvrerie.
Each April sees a wide range of events at the University to commemorate AAPI Heritage Month, and this year, with the return of a wider range of in-person events, film screenings are once again on the table. . From global hits to indie gems, from grim dramas to romantic comedies, the Wesleyan community can expect a wide range of film offerings showcasing the experiences of Asian and Asian American communities and cultures in the month ahead. .
Oscar Kim Bauman is also Academic Director of the Asian American Student Collective and can be reached at [email protected]