In her review in indieWIRE, a disappointed Kristi Mitsuda puts "Saving Face" in the "endearingly zany" school of ethnic dramedies, alongside such recent fare as "Bend It Like Beckham" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
[R]ather than examining intergenerational cross-cultural rifts in a real way, these stories trade on idiosyncratic quirks of ethnicity that, more often than not, serve only to further stereotype whatever racial group at hand. Instead of fleshing out the clichÃ©s and illustrating their basis in reality while also bringing to bear a deeper degree of nuance, such culture-clash endeavors take the easy way out by caricaturing while ostensibly humanizing.
Ah, sad. From what we’ve read, the film is a frustrating mixture of promising and formulaic. Here at IFC News, Andrea Meyer has an interview with director Alice Wu, who speaks rather poignantly about making the film for her mother, who’s always deflected expectations and hopes onto her daughter: "I wanted to write something to let her know that at any point in her life, her life could begin."
In the Japan Times, Mark Schilling reviews Seijun Suzuki‘s "Princess Raccoon," a stylized period musical, sort of, with Jo Odagiri and Zhang Ziyi (who speak archaic Japanese and Mandarin, respectively, except sometimes when they sing, or…rap). The film delighted Manohla Dargis when it screened out-of-competition at Cannes. It sounds typical of Suzuki, the elder bad boy (if that’s possible) of Japanese cinema visually stunning and narratively incomprehensible, like when someone’s telling you a rambling story as you slip in and out of sleep. Schilling and Mamiko Kawamoto also have an interview with Suzuki, jolly at almost 82 despite needing an oxygen tank.
As others have noted, what little coverage Hong Sang-soo‘s "Tale of Cinema" received, screening in-competition at Cannes, wasn’t great, even from the French, who are in many ways the Korean director’s biggest champions. In the Korea Times, Shim Sun-ah has what’s not quite a review of the film, more a detailed look at its theme of people absorbing and imitating the behavior and mannerisms of movie characters. Accompanying it is a "How’d Cannes go?" interview with the film’s star, Kim Sang-kyung.
+ Small Change: Alice Wu’s "Saving Face" (indieWIRE)
+ "Saving Face" director Alice Wu: The Chinese lesbian poster child (IFC News)
+ A dog-day afternoon awaits at the theater (Japan Times)
+ Still breathing, still laughing (Japan Times)
+ Truth, Fiction Mingle in ‘Cinema’ (Korea Times)
+ â€˜Tale of Cinemaâ€™ Star Looks Back at Cannes Fest (Korea Times)