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Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words
A film by Yunah Hong
US, 2011, 56 minutes, Color, DVD, English
Order No. W121064
Anna May Wong knew she wanted to be a movie star from the time she was a young girl—and by 17 she became one. A third generation Chinese-American, she went on to make dozens of films in Hollywood and Europe. She was one of the few actors to successfully transition from silent to sound cinema, co-starring with Marlene Dietrich, Anthony Quinn and Douglas Fairbanks along the way. She was glamorous, talented and cosmopolitan—yet she spent most of her career typecast either as a painted doll or a scheming dragon lady. For years, older generations of Chinese-Americans frowned upon the types of roles she played; but today a younger generation of Asian Americans sees her as a pioneering artist, who succeeded in a hostile environment that hasn’t altogether changed. Yunah Hong’s engrossing documentary is an entertaining and imaginative survey of Wong’s career, exploring the impact Wong had on images of Asian American women in Hollywood, both then and now. Excerpts from Wong’s films, archival photographs and interviews enhance this richly detailed picture of a woman and her extraordinary life.


  • Busan Int’l Film Festival
  • San Francisco Asian American Int’l Film Festival
  • New York Asian American Int’l Film Festival
  • Vancouver Asian Film Festival
  • Korean American Film Festival

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    "This is a timely documentary about a luminous performer whose talents far exceed even her international fame… offers new archival discoveries and utilizes Anna May Wong's own words to help illuminate the complicated life of this early twentieth--century star.”
    Anne Anlin Cheng
    Department of English, Princeton University

    “Indispensable to film retrospectives with a feminist or Asian-angled slant, this…is also accessible enough for knowledge channels.”
    Maggie Lee
    The Hollywood Reporter

    “[A] must-see…a great film to show you the problems of an Asian American woman actress in the discriminate Hollywood of that era."
    Gerrye Wong

    "Although I was already aware of Wong's story, this documentary revealed details about the actress in such a provocative way that I was intrigued about her life all over again."
    Steve Su
    Asian Loop

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    Anna May Wong: In Her Own Words is included in the following Special Collections.
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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us