Chan Is Missing Presentation

March 5, 2009 at 9:22 pm 1 comment

Chan is Missing is a 1982 independent film directed by Wayne Wang. It is a story of two San Francisco Chinatown taxi drivers and the search for their friend, Chan Huang. Jo and Steve loaned Chan $4000 dollars, in hopes of applying for a taxi license. As the mystery of the missing Chan develops, the two cab drivers start to realize their search is more than about Chan. It is about the search for their identity and where they belong in the Asian American culture of Chinatown.

The film is shot in 16m and in black and white. The movie depicts various aspects of Asian American life in San Francisco. Wood Moy, casted as Jo, and Marc Hayashi, casted as Steve, go through various places in Chinatown such as a senior citizen center, a Chinese restaurant, and the home of Chan’s ex-wife. With every new clue, a new side of Chan is revealed. In turn, the movie portrays Asian Americans in ways that the public had never seen before.

Much of the movie revolves around showing Asian Americans in non stereotypical roles. There are various communities that are shown in the movie while Jo and Steve search for Chan. Some are political (such as Chan’s involvement with the Taiwan-flag situation) while another show daily life of Chan (the senior citizen’s center) and another showing the failed marriage betwee Chan and his ex-wife. The movie demonstrates that Asian American life is complex and has many sides to it. As one watches the move, he or she should ask himself about the different roles that Asian Americans play in different communities.

The movie was a low budget independent film. Director Wang is a Hong Kong native, who graduated from California College of Arts and Craft. He received grant money (about $20,000) and donations from various actors and groups to film Chan is Missing. The movie was successful as a small indepedent film and received the merit of preservation by the National Film Preservation Board, USA.

What are the different communities portrayed in the movie?
What role did politics (pro-Taiwanese indepedence vs China loyalists) play in Asian American life?
How the movie show that Asian American are multi faceted and complex?
What does Chan represent in the movie? Why is he never found?
Difference between two I hotels?
How was the portrayal of this San Francisco community different from the portrayal from the previous two films.
Who should be included in the category “Asian Americans”.
What is the meaning of the puddle?

Police accident. Cultural misunderstanding
Two people arguing. Chinese identity.
“look in the puddle”

Posted by Fred Chang and Brandon Sze

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Glenn  |  March 14, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Thanks, I enjoyed your post immensely.


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