Sally's Beauty Spot

A film by Helen Lee

Canada/US | 1990 | 12 minutes | Color | 16mm/DVD | Order No. 99183


A large black mole above an Asian woman's breast serves as a metaphor for cultural and racial difference in this engaging experimental film. Offscreen women's voices and scenes from THE WORLD OF SUZIE WONG parallel and counterpoint Sally's own interracial relationships and emerging self-awareness. A provocative and stylish meditation on Asian femininity.


"Challenges fetishistic and colonialist forms of representation, wittily tracing a character's move from stereotypical object to sexual subject."

Laura Marks Afterimage

"A brilliant meditation."

Richard Fung Videomaker


  • Toronto Festival of Festivals
  • Oberhausen Film Festival
  • Black Maria Film Festival, Juror's Award
  • NY Asian American Film Festival
  • LA Asian Pacific American Film Festival
  • Pacific Film Archieve


Helen Lee

Helen Lee is an independent filmmaker based in Toronto and Seoul whose narrative and experimental films explore intersectionalities of place, identity and sexuality. Her works address diasporic gendered subjectivities in cinema, encompassing feminist and transnational perspectives. SALLY’S BEAUTY SPOT (1990) is her first film and is widely taught in Asian American, Film, and Gender and Women’s Studies programs.

Helen is a graduate of University of Toronto (BA), New York University (MA), Whitney Independent Study Program, Canadian Film Centre’s Director Resident Program, and York University (MFA). She has taught screenwriting and directing at Queen’s University, Korea National University of Arts, Yonsei University and OCAD University. She is a member of the Directors Guild of Canada and Writers Guild of Canada.

Published articles include: "A Peculiar Sensation: A Personal Genealogy of Korean American Women’s Cinema," published in Dangerous Women: Gender and Korean Nationalism (Routledge), excerpted in Cineaste and reprinted in Screening Asian Americans (Rutgers University Press); and a conversation with Celine Parreñas Shimizu, entitled "Sex Acts: Two Meditations on Race and Sexuality," appears in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society.

Selected Filmography: PARIS TO PYONGYANG (2023), INTO SUCH ASSEMBLY (2019), HERS AT LAST (2008), THE ART OF WOO (2001, feature film), SUBROSA (2000), PREY (1995), MY NIAGARA (1992), SALLY’S BEAUTY SPOT (1990). Her films are distributed by Women Make Movies (US), Arsenal (Germany), Indiestory (Korea), CFMDC and CFC Features (Canada). (04/22)


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