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AsianfailNarratives of Disenchantment and the Model Minority$
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Eleanor Ty

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040887

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040887.001.0001

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Que(e)rying the American Dream in Films of the Early Twenty-First Century

Que(e)rying the American Dream in Films of the Early Twenty-First Century

Chapter:
(p.44) Chapter 2 Que(e)rying the American Dream in Films of the Early Twenty-First Century
Source:
Asianfail
Author(s):

Eleanor Ty

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040887.003.0003

This chapter looks at a selection of post-2000 Asian American films that feature Asian American protagonists who are 1.5 or second-generation immigrants. The Debut (dir. Gene Cajayon), Red Doors (dir. Georgia Lee), Saving Face (dir. Alice Wu), and Charlotte Sometimes (dir. Eric Byler) question the professional and financial ambitions that were hallmarks of the model minority ideal of the economically successful Asian American established in the 1960s. The films depict protagonists who find themselves unable to fulfill what Sara Ahmed calls the "happiness duty" and experience melancholia and depression. A number of these independent Asian American filmmakers explore non-heteronormative and non-conjugal ways of expressing love and passion, revealing the shifting values, transcultural affiliations and desires that are now part of the multiplicity of Asian North American identity.

Keywords:   independent films, Saving Face, Red Doors, queer Asian America, Filipino American film, sexuality, Sara Ahmed, depression, second-generation, youth

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