Dennis Lim takes a look at the filmography and legacy of Wayne Wang, for this weekend’s New York Times. All of it is in honor of Wang’s September 19 release of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, as well as our October 17 YouTube premiere of its companion film, The Princess of Nebraska. But, also, about the way both films tell a universal story on foreign-born adults finding their way in America. From the article:
In “A Thousand Years,” opening Friday, a Chinese widower arrives in an American suburb for an extended stay with his divorced daughter, who has lived in the States since college and who resents her father’s intrusions into her private affairs. “The Princess of Nebraska,” which is being distributed free on the Web starting Oct. 17 (youtube.com/ytscreeningroom), concerns a newer arrival, a young woman from Beijing attending a university in Omaha who has traveled to San Francisco to get an abortion.
Both films are subtle updates of the immigrant story, revealing the complexities beyond the customary themes of alienation and assimilation. Mr. Wang’s own biography is hardly typical. Born in Hong Kong — and named after his father’s favorite movie star, John Wayne — he moved to California in the late ’60s for school. His parents, who were Christians, arranged for him to stay with a Quaker family, who turned out to be prominent radicals. “There were crazy meetings with Black Panthers and anti-draft protesters, and Jerry Garcia and his people were there all the time,” Mr. Wang said. “My eyes were completely opened.”