Like the story in last year’s critically acclaimed The Farewell, Emily Ting’s Go Back To China feature is loosely based on a real-life experience.
After a year playing in a limited release for a year, the comedy feature had its general release this weekend in cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The movie takes place mostly in China. Ting’s second effort as writer-director is a semi-autobiographical comedy focused on the “Westernized” Chinese diaspora in the post-Crazy Rich Asians era.
Sasha Li, played perfectly by Anna Akana, is a spoiled LA fashionista who has just discovered that her trust fund has been cut off by her dad—oh no! To see another penny out of the trust, her father insists she goes back to her roots and learn about the family business in Shenzhen, China.
Akana has long been a star on YouTube with 2 million subscribers to her channel. Her father was born in Japan, is a Marine Corps officer and her mother is from Olongapo, in the Philippines. On her Twitter account, she has stated on Twitter that she is of mainly Japanese Hawaiian, and Filipino descent, along with Irish, German, French, Spanish, and Chinese ancestry.
Shot in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the film is loosely based on the Taiwanese-born Ting’s 12 years working at her family’s toy factory in China in-between filmmaking efforts. Her family’s toy factory was used as a setting in the film.
Although the fish-out-of-water film theme is common enough, Go Back To China with its Asian American perspective seems fresh. Plus, it doubles as familiarizing non-Asian audiences with a growing segment of the America.
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