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WAYNE WANG is one of America's most versatile filmmakers, acclaimed for his ability to move between aesthetically adventurous independent work and beautifully crafted studio films. Wang's films have delighted art-house and mainstream audiences alike with their engaging, intelligent stories, vividly realized settings and compelling characters.
Born in Hong Kong and college educated in America, Wang is widely acknowledged as a pioneer among Asian-American filmmakers, and has frequently examined themes of Immigration and assimilation in his films. He is partnered with Francis Ford Coppola and Tom Luddy in the production company Chrome Dragon, which is dedicated to supporting independent filmmakers working in Asia.
Most recently, Wang directed Susan Sarandon and Natalie Portman in Anywhere
But Here, adapted from Mona Simpson's novel about an unconventional mother and her disapproving daughter. In 1997, Wang returned to his native Hong Kong to make the romantic drama Chinese Box. Filmed just as the colony was transitioning from British to Chinese rule, Chinese Box examined the impact of the change on the lives of an English journalist, his Chinese lover and a streetwise young woman: it starred Jeremy Irons, Gong Li and Maggie Cheung.
Working with renowned novelist Paul Auster, Wang created two of the most distinctive and charming independent films of 1995, Smoke and Blue in the Face. Set in and around a Brooklyn cigar shop, Smoke offered a relaxed, humanistic look at friendship, family and love: the exceptional ensemble cast included Harvey
Keitel, Forest Whitaker, William Hurt and Stockard Channing. The film won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for the French
Cesar for Best Foreign Film. Wang and Auster co-directed the follow-up feature, Blue in the Face, a largely improvised work that kept the cigar store setting and introduced an intriguing new cast of characters, played by Michael J. Fox, Madonna, Roseanne and Lily Tomlin.
Prior to Smoke and Blue in the Face, Wang had scored enormous critical and commercial success with his 1993 adaptation of Amy Tan's best-selling novel,
The Joy Luck Club. Grandly entertaining and emotionally powerful, the film depicted the relationships between four Chinese women and their assimilated American-born daughters.
The Joy Luck Club represented another chapter in Wang's multifaceted exploration of the Chinese experience in America, which began with his groundbreaking 1982 solo directorial debut Chan Is Missing and continued with Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart (1984) and Eat a Bowl of Tea (1989).
A quirky mystery set in San Francisco's Chinatown, Chan Is Missing offered an insider's perspective on Chinese-American culture while slyly deconstructing the stereotyped images of Chinese found in Hollywood movies. Co-written, directed, produced and edited by Wang on a micro-budget, the film became a word-of-mouth success and helped usher in the modern era of American independent filmmaking. Chan Is Missing received the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Independent/Experimental Film, as well as the Special Jury Prize at the 1983 United States Film Festival.
Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart took a warm and funny look at a Chinese mother and her American-born daughter, and earned a British Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. The critically lauded Eat a Bowl of Tea told the story of an arranged
marriage in New York's Chinatown circa 1940. Wang then went on to look at a very
different aspect of his Hong Kong roots with the wild gangster comedy Life Is Cheap But Toilet Paper Is
Expensive (1990). He had previously ventured into the crime genre with the neo—noir mystery Slamdance (1987).
Wang came to the
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