Steven is just a parking-garage that is 60-year-old whom lives in a little apartment above a shop when you look at the Northern California suburbs. He’s white, that is significant because he has got what exactly is politely referred to as a fetish that is asian popularly called yellowish fever. “They’re all therefore stunning,” he states, evaluating a display of thumbnail pictures of prospective brides that are asian.
A 30-year-old office worker from Shenzen, China, to come to the United States to marry him in the documentary “Seeking Asian Female,” showing on Monday night in the PBS “Independent Lens” series, Steven manages to persuade Sandy. And his fortune doesn’t end here. The film’s manager, who becomes immersed in Steven and Sandy’s life and profoundly implicated into the torturous length of their relationship, is Debbie Lum, an appealing young Chinese-American. Each time a close friend of Steven’s comes to your apartment to meet up with Sandy, he views Ms. Lum behind the digital digital digital camera and exclaims, “You’ve got two of those!”
Ms. Lum shows that she attempted to profile a guy enthusiastic about Asian ladies in purchase to know a event which has weighed on the very own life: “I’ve been stared at, hit on and harassed by a lot of guys like Steven,” she declares. “Seeking asian” that is femalen’t have actually a great deal to provide as anthropology, but. The type of Asian fetishism continues to be as mystical, or maybe as apparent, as ever. In which the movie succeeds can be as an acerbic comedy that is romantic Ms. Lum as being a bumbling Boswell, alternately speeding the program of love or tossing up roadblocks.
As Steven and Sandy make wedding plans — her K-1 visa provides them with four months to marry — battles erupt over money (he does not have much) and whether he’s nevertheless infatuated with an early on Chinese pen pal. Ms. Lum not only records these events but additionally turns into a facilitator that is semi-willing divided loyalties, sympathetic to both her original topic and also to the resourceful young girl stranded in a nation whoever language she hardly talks.
The arc that is dramatic of and Sandy’s relationship (no spoilers right right here) is moderately suspenseful but in addition pretty familiar. A great deal more interesting is Ms. Lum’s willingness to portray by herself as lower than sympathetic, acknowledging — to some degree — her very own preconceptions and serving being a stand-in for the skeptical and conflicted market.
Though Steven’s predilections and creepy good cheer make her queasy, Ms. Lum can be dubious of Sandy’s motives: “what sort of woman would go nations to marry a person she came across on the internet and barely understands?” Her knowledge of Chinese as well as the forced closeness of shooting conspire to create her Sandy’s friend that is best and lifeline, nonetheless; unsure how to deal with the specific situation, she blunders along, warning Sandy at one point that Steven may possibly not be “the man you imagined him to be” and asking her at another, “Did you truly simply desire the green card?”
Ms. Lum’s research of her assumptions goes just therefore far — ideas about intercourse and love are up for grabs, but problems of class and energy that appear in the same way highly relevant to the story don’t have the exact same attention. While Ms. Lum methods to challenge stereotypes about cross-cultural love and sex, her depiction of Sandy usually appears to echo a couple of conventions about Asian females stubbornness that is involving envy and manipulation.
Exactly just just What keeps this 54-minute movie regularly engaging is Sandy by by herself, wary, pragmatic and, much to Ms. Lum’s chance, a complete organic at the camera. You aren’t a female that is asian your family will feel a tug whenever she informs Ms. Lum, after another epic fight with Steven, “I kept wondering, has he eaten?”