Hollywood Chinese is a 2007 documentary by Academy Award winner Arthur Dong that surveys the representations of Chinese and other Asian citizens throughout the history of American cinema. Topics include the general invisibility of Asians in popular films, the use of white actors to portray Asian characters, and the common stereotypes that are repeatedly associated with Asian characters in these portrayals. Dong’s film features clips from almost 100 films as well as interviews with actors, directors, and writers who have wrestled with the “tangled history of race and representation” that characterize the presence of Chinese and other Asian Americans in US cinema.
What are some of the qualities and themes, from this clip or from your own experience, that have traditionally been used to depict Asian characters in film or television?
What factors might be responsible for these depictions – within the movie industry and within broader American culture – , and what might be some of the consequences of such depictions?