Chan is Missing Introduction – Milagros Montalvo & Edmund Pacleb
Chan is Missing (1982), directed by Wayne Wang, is a film that explores the Asian American community in San Francisco’s Chinatown through the journey of Steve and Jo, two Chinese American cab drivers who are desperately looking to find their lost and mysterious acquaintance, Chan Hung. By finding clues about Chan Hung through different members of the Chinatown community, the audience learns intimate details about the characters representative of the Chinese American community. The audience sees that the Chinese American community, and in extension, the Asian American community, is full of diversity and cannot be easily categorized.
Film scholar Peter Cheng asserts, “Each character…holds a donut that contains the possibility of the Chinese American identity in its center.” The more we unpack the individual characters, the wider this hole becomes, and the more room there is for the representation of Asian American communities.
How does the film construct a positive Asian American Identity?
Who or what does Chan represent?
How is this film similar or different to the independent films we previously looked at?
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