Everything Before Us

I’ve talked about Wong Fu Productions before in a Weeklies post. They have been doing short films and videos for longer than YouTube has existed. I first found their channel way back in 2008 and they have consistently delivered quality entertainment. Now they’re moving on to bigger things: their first feature film.

I liked it. Wong Fu have their own artistic style which definitely showed in this film. It’s no big blockbuster, but it’s better than a lot of films that have much bigger budgets. 

The story takes place in a world where romance is charted territory and how well you do in a relationship is considered when applying for jobs, bank loans, or when going out. The film follows two couples; Seth and Haley (played by Brandon Soo Hoo and Victoria Park) are registering their first relationship with each other and Ben and Sara (Aaron Yoo and Brittany Ishibashi) have to sort out their relationship scores from a relationship that ended badly. While Wong Fu is known for their work in the romance genre, throwing in the Department of Emotional Integrity (DEI) and DEI scores from relationships gives romance a whole new twist.

What I wish I’d seen more of is Randall Park’s character, the DEI case worker who deals with all this drama. There are hints throughout the film that he’s having problems of his own, but although the audience can guess at what they are, they are never addressed or solved, to my knowledge. But that is my only complaint.

Something I feel obligated to address (but really don’t want to because it shouldn’t be a big deal) is the casting of asian americans for the five main characters. The secondary characters are diverse, but the main characters are of asian-descent, another hallmark (however unintended) of Wong Fu Productions. I’ve seen complaints about having asian-americans play the main characters which I still don’t comprehend. I mean, seriously? Is having an asian-american actor in a film going to make you like it less? It is such blatant racism, I can hardly believe it.

The majority of films in Hollywood have white main characters, and sometimes even a completely white cast of secondary characters. If the main characters aren’t white, they’re often black people, and not always in the best of circumstances. Even Fresh Off The Boat has an Asian-American family at it’s centre, yet every regular secondary character is white with the exception of a single black kid. Let’s face it, shows and movies rarely cast non-white people in roles that don’t require them to be anything but white, and often even a character meant to be something other than white will be played by a white actor. I can name about twenty off the top of my head, old films, new films, and newly casted films. White-washing is real, and I commend Wong Fu Productions for trying to break that mold by casting Asian-Americans as just regular people. After all, they are regular people.

There. I said I didn’t want to talk about it, but I did. Victoria Park (Haley) wrote a more eloquent post on the subject over at her blog which you can look at by clicking here.

All in all, I love Wong Fu Productions and I am happy to be able to support such an excellent first feature film of theirs.

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