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Stony Brook University

Asian Pacific Americans: History, Identity, and Experiences

Designed to provide context for the Fall 2021 One Book One Community experience, this guide offers resources that support learning more about the history, identity, and experiences of Asian Pacific Americans.

Selected Films

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American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs (DVD)

What does it mean to be an American revolutionary today? Grace Lee Boggs is a 98-year-old Chinese American writer, activist, and philosopher in Detroit. Rooted for more than 70 years in the African American movement, she has devoted her life to an evolving revolution that encompasses the contradictions of America's past and its potentially radical future. This documentary presents Boggs's lifetime of vital thinking and action, traversing the major U.S. social movements of the last century; from labor to civil rights, to Black Power, feminism, the Asian American and environmental justice movements, and beyond.

Ancestors in the Americas DVD cover

Ancestors in the Americas (DVD)

The first in-depth television series to present the untold history and contemporary legacy of early Asian immigrants to the Americas, from the 1700s to the 1900s. Told in two parts. 

Better Luck Tomorrow (DVD)

A group of seemingly "perfect" high-school buddies lead double lives. They fly high in a world of petty crime and material excess - a free-wheeling lifestyle that soon takes a downward spiral, leading to an unexpected, violent end.

Eat Drink Man Woman DVD cover

Eat Drink Man Woman (DVD)

The story of a master chef and his three adult daughters, all of whom are seeking love and happiness in different ways.

The Farewell DVD cover

The Farewell (Streaming on Swank)

After her beloved grandmother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, a Chinese-American woman returns to China for a family gathering secretly designed to say goodbye to the matriarch. However, when it becomes apparent that grandma is the only one unaware of the diagnosis, she struggles to keep the secret.

Fruit Fly DVD cover

Fruit Fly (DVD)

Bethesda, a young performance artist in search of her career and birth mother in San Francisco, moves into the city's vibrant queer neighborhood and surrounds herself with a loving gay family. She becomes the 'fruit fly' of choice for her circle of gay male buddies, while uncovering long-hidden family secrets.

Gook DVD cover

Gook (Streaming on Kanopy)

Eli (Justin Chon) and Daniel (David So) are two Korean American brothers that run their late father's shoe store in a predominantly African American community of Los Angeles. These two brothers strike up an unlikely friendship with 11-year-old African American girl, Kamilla (Simone Baker). As Daniel dreams of becoming a recording artist and Eli struggles to keep the store afloat, racial tensions build to a breaking point in L.A. as the infamous L.A. Riots break out.

The Grace Lee Project (DVD cover)

The Grace Lee Project (DVD)

Pursuing the moving target of Asian-American female identity, filmmaker Grace Lee, in a clever, highly unscientific investigation visits with Asian American women named "Grace Lee," from a fiery social activist to a rebel who tried to burn down her high school. With wit and charm, the film puts a hilarious spin on the eternal question "What's in a name?"

In Between Days (DVD cover)

In Between Days (DVD)

A teenager recently transplanted from South Korea to a snowbound North American city struggles to find her way in a strange land of new faces.

Journey From the Fall (DVD cover)

Journey From the Fall (DVD)

Despite his allegiance to the toppled South Vietnamese government, Long Nguyen decides to remain in Vietnam. Imprisoned in a Communist re-education camp, he urges his family to make the escape by boat without him. His wife, son, and mother embark on the arduous ocean voyage in the hope of reaching the U.S. and freedom.

The Namesake (DVD cover)

The Namesake (DVD)

An American-born son of Indian immigrants wants to fit in with fellow New Yorkers, but his family is unwilling to let go of their traditional ways.

Parasite (DVD cover)

Parasite (Streaming through Kanopy)

Greed and class discrimination threaten the relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan in Bong Joon Ho's darkly hilarious modern fairytale. Winner of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Film at the Academy Awards. Winner of Best Foreign Motion Picture – Foreign Language at the Golden Globe Awards. Winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Spa Night (DVD cover)

Spa Night (Streaming on Kanopy)

A portrait of forbidden sexual awakening set in the nocturnal world of spas and karaoke bars in Los Angeles' Koreatown. Nominated for two prizes at **Sundance Film Festival**, Winner of the John Cassavetes Award at the **Film Independent Spirit Awards**.

Spencer Nakasako's Trilogy DVD cover

Spencer Nakasako's Trilogy: a.k.a. Don Bonus, Kelly Loves Tony, Refugee (DVD)

Three films directed by Spencer Nakasako. 1. AKA Don Bonus, 1955, 55 mins - Cambodian-born Sokly "Don Bonus" Ny struggles to graduate fro high school and survive the realities of San Francisco's housing projects. 2. Kelly Loves Tony - 1998, 57 mins - She is a straight A student with dreams of college, he's trying to leave gang life behind. Refugee, 2002, 60 mins - For Mike Siv, the trip begins innocently enough, but a simple reunion becomes a journey of self-discovery, maturation, and acceptance.

Vincent who? (DVD cover)

Vincent who? (DVD)

Looks at the legacy of the case of Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American man who was attacked and killed at his bachelor's party at a suburban Detroit bar by current and former autoworkers who were unhappy with competition from Japanese auto manufacturers. The case attracted wide attention after Chin's attackers struck a plea bargain and were sentenced to three thousand dollars in fines and three years in prison, time that they never were required to serve after posting bail. Indignation by the Asian American community and others led to further charges being filed against the perpetrators. The film explores how the murder of Vincent Chin continues to have meaning to society today, as well as how the hate crime remains unknown or forgotten in many Americans' minds.

Hollywood Chinese (DVD cover)

Hollywood Chinese: The Chinese in American Feature Films (DVD)

Hollywood Chinese is a captivating revelation on a little-known chapter of cinema: the Chinese in American feature films. From the first Chinese American film produced in 1917, to Ang Lee’s triumphant Brokeback Mountain nine decades later, Hollywood Chinese brings together a fascinating portrait of actors, directors, writers, and iconic images to show how the Chinese have been imagined in movies, and how filmmakers have and continue to navigate an industry that was often ignorant about race, but at times paradoxically receptive.