Friday, October 21, 2022 - 6:00pm
Proof of vaccination and masks are required at onsite events.
Co-sponsored by Chinese Historical Society of America
NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
El proyecto NEA Big Read es una iniciativa del National Endowment for the Arts (el Fondo Nacional para las Artes de Estados Unidos) en cooperación con Arts Midwest.
Friday, October 21 - The Good Earth, 1937, 138 minutes, directed by Sidney Franklin, starring Paul Muni and Luise Rainer
Pearl S. Buck's Pulitzer Prize winning 1931 novel of China, The Good Earth, was a prestige production at MGM. Budgeted at an astronomical $2.8 million, the epic film brought to life farmer Wang Lung and his wife, the former slave O-Lan. The film's set pieces come in extremes and span generations – from famine, war, and a terrifying locust invasion, to great bounty and opulent wealth. The Good Earth features white actors in yellowface for the leading roles, a common practice then that stirs collective pain today. Anna May Wong coveted the role of O-Lan, but was passed over for German-born actress Luise Rainer, who went on to win an Oscar for her performance. (Image used with permission of Warner Bros)
CinemaLit / October 2022 – Exposing Chinese Stereotypes in Film \
The Mechanics' Institute Library has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts "Big Read" grant. The grant showcases a single book through a range of tours, discussions, seminars, and screenings. The honored book is Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown (2020), a remarkable novel exploring immigration and the limitations of Chinese identity in modern America. It's funny and sad, and creatively written to read like a screenplay.
In the spirit of Interior Chinatown, October at CinemaLit will feature "Exposing Chinese Stereotypes in Film." Our opening film is Hollywood Chinese (2007), Arthur Dong's compelling documentary exploring the history of Chinese representation in American films. We follow that with three films featured prominently in Hollywood Chinese, each offering their own point of view on representation, identity, and stereotyping: Shanghai Express (1932), The Good Earth (1937), and Enter the Dragon (1973).
Matthew Kennedy, CinemaLit’s curator, has written biographies of Marie Dressler, Joan Blondell, and Edmund Goulding. His book Roadshow! The Fall of Film Musicals in the 1960s, was the basis of a film series on Turner Classic Movies.
“I don't have a favorite film,” Matthew says. "I find that my relationships to films, actors, genres, and directors change as I change over the years. Some don't hold up. Some look more profound, as though I've caught up with their artistry. I feel that way about Garbo, Cary Grant, director John Cassavetes, and others."
“Classic films have historical context, something only time can provide,” Matt observes. “They become these great cultural artifacts, so revealing of tastes, attitudes, and assumptions.”
MI & Friends of Chinese Historical Society of America Free
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Future CinemaLit Films
Sep 30 - 6:00pm
Oct 7 - 6:00pm
Oct 14 - 6:00pm