Movie News: Post-Katrina Films, Up-and-Coming Indies, and the Kung Fu/Karate Conundrum

January 25, 2010

HBO has recently greenlighted a sequel to Levees and Lee has already begun shooting. Word is that he will focus more attention
on the citizens of the Gulf Coast, one of the criticisms of the first
film being that it was too New Orleans-centric. Will Asian American
communities make it in the film? For sheer accuracy's sake, we hope so.

Up-and-Coming Indies

you're lucky enough to live in a city with an art house theater or two,
look out for some Asian American-directed or -related cinema releasing

Opening January 29 is Nicole Opper's Off and Running,
which follows its African American teen female protagonist as she
grapples with race and identity, growing up in an adopted family with
two white Jewish mothers and two brothers, one Korean and one

Opening February 12 is Udayan Prasad's The Yellow Handkerchief. Prasad, who made a name for himself directing the adaptation to Hanif Kureishi's novella My Son the Fanatic,
returns with a drama about three lost souls (two of which belong to
William Hurt and Kristen Stewart) meeting by chance in Louisiana. Any
film where Kristen Stewart isn't crying and quivering over a pasty
vampire for two hours is A-okay in my book.

Opening in March in select cities is Anne Bass's Dancing Across Borders,
a documentary that follows a young dancer from Cambodia as he
transitions from Southeast Asia to New York’s School of American Ballet
and Seattle's Pacific Northwest Ballet.

So Yong Kim, director of In Between Days and Treeless Mountain will write and helm the drama For Ellen about an indie rocker dealing with his impending divorce. Paul Dano (Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood) is set to star with Jon "Napoleon Dynamite" Heder co-starring. Way to be diverse, Ms. Kim!

The Kung Fu/Karate Conundrum

And finally, according to MTV News, Jackie Chan is utterly confused about the title of his upcoming Karate Kid
installment co-starring Will Smith's son Jaden. Since this one takes
place in China and involves kung fu, it seems a bit nonsensical to call
it "karate" which has its origins in Okinawa and is Japanese in
nomenclature. Does this mean that Hollywood actually cares about being
culturally accurate? We may never know. However, we do know that in
film Asians are still hella good at teaching emotionally confused kids
martial arts.


Sylvie Kim

contributing editor & blogger

Sylvie Kim is a contributing editor at Hyphen. She previously served as Hyphen's blog coeditor with erin Khue Ninh, film editor, and blog columnist.

She writes about gender, race, class and privilege in pop culture and media (fun fun fun!) at and at SF Weekly's The Exhibitionist blog. Her work has also appeared on Racialicious and Salon.