CAAMFest 37: Chinatown Rising (review)

Jimmy Thong
May 10 · 2 min read

What a phenomenol kickstart to 2019 CAAMFest 37, running until May 19th. Directed by Harry Chuck and Josh Chuck (yes, father and son team), Chinatown Rising is the call to action you wish you had in your Asian Am 20A class. No, Chinatown Rising is not about the Chinatown we are reminded of when we open fortune cookies, or light illegal fireworks — it’s about your aunts and uncles who threw their bodies on the stat quo machinery of Civil Rights movement yesteryears — the David who stood up to the Goliath — the Asian American community that stood with the Black Panthers and spoke up against NIMBY real estate developers encroaching on a long established community (hold up, we still talking about the seventies?). Despite the weight of these issues, the filmmakers keep it light — with buoyant complimetary sonic florishes and situating pop song callbacks from composer Miles Ito in the most archival of footage — to the inclusion of Laureen’s B-roll complaining about “how long this shit takes.” Laureen is right in more ways than one, the Chinatown as we know it, took a lot of work, and will continue to take work, to stand it’s ground. With the underfunding of education and undersupply of affordable housing, our negligence of youth and persistent gentrification remains more relevant than ever. According to Harry, what he started, Josh will finish. So all you Joshes out there, grab your smartphones, “Chuck” your world, and speak up, before you get spoken for. Do it for that first lady of the Q&A who lives on Stockton. Chinatowns, Manilatowns, Little Saigons, rise up!


Jimmy Thong

Written by

HBO Def Poetry Jam alumnus, Berkeley native, former SEA expat. Topics: Food, Southeast Asia, Tech

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