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on November 5, 2007
"Fade to Black," a documentary on Blacks in Hollywood, spoke of both genders. "The Bronze Screen," a work on Latinos, did the same. When I rented "The Slanted Screen," I thought it would speak of both genders too. However, it only spoke of men. I am fascinated by men's studies and don't think enough work has been produced about men of color, so I applaud this effort.

It can be hard to focus on men without sounding sexist. This work on Asian men avoids sexism by not discussing Asian women at all. It never says, "Asian-American actors have it harder than Asian-American actresses." Dr. Michael Messner once quoted Ben Fong-Torres as saying historically the West has looked on Asian women with favor, but Asian men with suspicion. That comparative statement does not come up in this documentary. Still, Frank Chin is interviewed and some Asian-American female writers have called him sexist in the past. This work has interviewees who are Asian males and white females. One wonders why it had no Asian females when it had women of another race. The interviewees were a mix of actors, academics, and directors. For those familiar with "Masters of the Pillow," it will be shocking to hear Dr. Darell Hamamoto speak on a non-blue topic. Mr. Nguyen, the Asian actor from "21 Jump Street," wears this loud, 1970s shirt that terribly distracted me as a viewer.

So much of the depictions of Asian males in Hollywood has been done under the despicable practice of "yellowface." This work doesn't bring it up until 1/3 into the film. I think this was meant to center real men of Asian descent. In "The Bronze Screen," older actors and B-list actors were interviewed. It stood out that Jennifer Lopez and Benicio del Toro were absent. Though George Takei and Russell Wong did not participate, it did seem like almost every Asian-American male actor did.

Robert Townsend's comedy "Hollywood Shuffle" spoke of how African-American actors and actresses don't like demeaning film roles but also struggle with taking what they can get. This work only briefly wrestles with that. It shows a demeaning role that the late Pat Morita once played. However, when Mr. Morita died, he was acknowledged by many as a respected and pioneering Asian-American actor. The tough, Asian guy from "American Me" tries to defend his roles by saying he has "b*lls."

The work only covers East and Southeast Asian men. Its title incorrectly sounds like it would include South Asian men. Why not have included Kal Penn or Ben Kingsley? They could have brought up that the Indian man in "Short Circuit," a 1980s film, was a Caucasion in "brownface." Perhaps a director of South Asian descent can use this documentary as a stepping stone to make such a necessary work.

This work must be seen by Asian-American Studies majors and by anyone concerned about men of color in the United States. I suggest viewers also read Jachinson Chan's "Chinese American Masculinities" and Kam Louie's "Theorising Chinese Masculinity."
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on February 13, 2008
I highly recommended this amazing piece of documentary to anyone.

The film gives audiences an inside view of the difficulty Asian American actors facing in Hollywood through various interviews with actors, writers and directors.

An absolute must watch for those whose curious with the "Why there are no Asians on TV!?" question.
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on March 30, 2009
I rented The Slanted Screen from Netflix and enjoyed it, but found it somewhat roughly and incoherently cut. I decided to buy it, nevertheless. To my surprise, I found that the copy I bought had an additional "Broadcast Version" narrated by Daniel Dae Kim that featured far superior editing. The film in its re-edited version is much more smooth and straightforward in terms of the history it's trying to tell, and the additional movie clips, more complete interview snippets, and overall structuring and placement elevate the documentary far beyond the original theatrical version. I wish the producer would do more to promote the broadcast version and help the market distinguish it as the far superior re-edit.
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on August 9, 2007
"The Slanted Screen" is a much-needed documentary-type short film written, produced, and directed by Jeff Adachi, current Public Defender of the city of San Francisco.

The crux of the issue addressed is the lack of substantial roles for Asian-American actors in today's movie industry. Recent success stories for actors such as John Cho, Bobby Lee, Sung Kang, and others seems to point to a certain cause for optimism-- indeed, as this documentary points out, Sessue Hayakawa, one of the leading actors and leading man in silent films pre-1920.

Much of the film comprises of interviews with current AA actors such as Mako (who passed away shortly after the interviews), James Shigeta, Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, Jason Scott Lee, Tzi Ma, and several others. I particularly enjoyed the candid, articulate, poignant interview of Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa. I don't think anyone can see that interview and look upon him as an actor the same way ever again.

It is a bone of contention about how much of a role role models seen in the movies, TV, and other media have on the development of the children who watch them growing up. What is not under debate is how much of a struggle it has been for AA male actors to succeed in Hollywood and other media markets. My hat is off to them; it seems to very much be an uphill battle breaking into the mainstream. Independent Asian American films are the only types of films in which they are able to consistently get substantial acting roles, which is a shame.
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on March 28, 2015
The second half lags a bit; the director seems more adept at making his points with the use of old film footage than with interview after interview. Like other reviewers, I was disappointed at the lack of Pat Morita or America's uncle, George Takei, especially since the latter's musical "Allegiance" directly works with the horrible treatment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. However, my students (in a first-year college writing class) really saw the problem with white actors in "yellowface" (I paused on a shot of Sir Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu and asked if any horror, science-fiction, or fantasy fans recognized him; one kid came close by identifying him as "Gandalf" -- close but no pipeweed). They also readily noticed the problem with limiting actors to martial-arts or emasculated-nerd roles. I would have liked to see this be an hour longer and include, besides the two actors named above, Keye Luke (yes, even in "Gremlins") and some Central/South Asian actors -- hello, Kal Penn? Speaking as a white American, we have a bad enough tendency to hear "Asian" and think "Pacific Rim," ignoring India and other countries of that region almost entirely. Still, this is an important and easy way to help students comprehend the situation. And who knew (clearly lots of people, but not me) Sessue Hayakawa had been such a hottie back in the day?
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on October 1, 2014
A great movie that addresses a huge problem in Hollywood. Well done. Needed for any film class or Asian cultural studies. A great eye opening documentary for white people that don't think about what ends up on television and in movies, as it gives insight into the reality of media. Even touches on some other ethnicities in parts. Also good for Asians living in America that watch movies or television, or those looking to move to America.
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on March 22, 2009
I enjoyed this film because it made me think about the images of Asian men in film, but unfortunately it doesn't address the image of Asian women in film, whom I think are as excessively sexual as their male counterparts are emasculated.

Regardless, the film adds some fascinating facts about the social acceptability of Asian men as lead males, role models as romantics. The film notes that one of the earliest Hollywood heros was an Asian-American, but this was, of course, before WWII.

Having seen this film, I'm now more aware of the fact that a character on last night's NCIS was Asian, a news announcer on national TV last night was Asian and other such awareness of positive images of Asians in U.S. media. I've noticed a similar trend for the Africa-American community. An increasing number of TV weather announcers, talk show hosts, leading actors in prominent movies are coming from the non-majority ranks. It's great.

I noted also with interest that the failure isn't just leading roles, but also the minor roles that allow development for people to gain the skills they need to become leading actors. It made me think about the fact that most of our Hollywood heros -- Bruce Lee, Chow Yong Fat, Ken Watanabe, Jet Li got their start in Asia where the market was more amenable to their placement in entry level roles, which gave them the opportunity to develop.

I certainly hope to see more domestic development of our native talent in a broader range of ethnicities. From a Cultural Anthropological/Sociological perspective, this film is fascinating.
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on January 22, 2008
This is by far the best documentary on Asian American Male Minorities of today's standard Hollywood stereotypical roles. I'm Asian American, but not an actor, and there was so little to know about the Asian market in the media mainstream until I watched this DVD which was recommended by someone. The film touched the taboo of Asian men and got great POV from other A.A. actors which were not Jackie Chan or Jet Li. Yes, there are some A.A. actors out there! We don't just have 2 (mis)representing us. If you're an Asian American Actor or Director and want to know the struggle of Hollywood industry then I HIGHLY recommend watching this film. We're creeping up Hollywood's @ss.
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VINE VOICEon May 22, 2012
THE SLANTED SCREEN is not nearly as good as it could have been. It fails from the omissions: there are simply too many Asian-American actors who aren't even mentioned. Would you believe Keye Luke isn't acknowledged? They show several shots of Sidney Toler as Charlie Chan in the section on Anglos playing Asians. Also shown are both Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee as Fu Manchu and Bela Lugosi as Mr. Wong and Peter Lorre as Mr. Moto. They don't have a single shot of Warner Oland, though -- with or without Keye Luke. No mention of Pat Morita. Or George Takei. many others? And Jason Scott Lee, who gets considerable screen time, has played an Asian only once, in DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY. But there's no discussion by anyone about his career.

The "writing" is poor, too. In these "talking head" documentaries, the writer/director has certain topics he has each of his interviewees discuss, then edits it so that one topic is covered with various opinions, then another, then another. In this one, there's little or no shape to it. Subjects go hither and yon...and back again. Maybe it's being too critical, but one could want more from these DVDs!
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on June 24, 2009
This documentary is very comprehensive and in-depth. The other reviewers here that question whether this documentary is sexiest must be from Mars. Any rational human being can plainly see the OBVIOUS truth that Asian-American men face ten times, no, one hundred times the amount of discrimination that Asian-American women face both in Hollywood and mainstream American society (ie everday life). This video is simply an examination of the struggles of Asian-American men in show business. And it does a fantastic job.
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