Alice Wu / USA / 2004 / 96 min / English, Mandarin with English subtitles / Color / 35mm
CAAM is proud to present this special reunion screening of the landmark Asian American romantic comedy Saving Face! Filmmakers and cast members will join us onstage to share their stories with the audience and reminisce!
Exuberant, sexy and utterly charming, Saving Face marks a triumphant feature debut for San Jose-born-and-raised Alice Wu. Wilhelmina (Michelle Krusiec) is a successful young surgeon and dutiful daughter, but also—to the chagrin of her widowed Ma (Joan Chen)—still single. During weekly socials in the tightly knit Chinese community of Queens, Ma and her chatty cronies nudge eligible bachelors towards Wil, but her eyes are fixed instead on a gorgeous young woman, Vivian (Lynn Chen), who smiles back. One fortuitous encounter later, Wil finds herself in love with Vivian, yet unable to come out to her own mother. Things take an unexpected turn, however, when it’s Ma who suddenly shows up pregnant at Wil’s doorstep, unwilling to name the father and disowned by her own parents.
Joan Chen’s comedic performance is a revelation, baring just enough vulnerability to elicit both laughter and heartbreak. The film’s deft blend of humor and uplifting humanity—not to mention its subject matter—recalls Ang Lee’s The Wedding Banquet, but here there’s no wise father watching over Wil and her mother. Instead they watch over each other, and find an embracing warmth that makes this one of the most touching films of the year.
Attending guest (3/12): Joan Chen (Actress)
Co-presenters: Chinese Historical Society of America (3/12), National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (3/12)
- Director: Alice Wu
- Executive Producer: Robin O' Hara, Scott Macaulay, John Penotti
- Producer: Teddy Lee, James Lassiter, Will Smith
- Cinematographer: Harlan Bosmajian
- Writer: Alice Wu
- Editor: Sue Graef, Sabine Hoffman
- Cast: MIchelle Krusiec, Jessica Hecht
- Sound: Noah Timan