“The Joy Luck Club” will kick off “Big Trouble in Little Tokyo,” a new film screening series presented by the Japanese American National Museum in partnership with Angry Asian Man, First Pond Entertainment, and Visual Communications, on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m.
A light reception will precede the screening at 6 p.m. and the movie will be followed by a Q&A with director Wayne Wang and others affiliated with the production.
“The Joy Luck Club” is the 1993 film adaptation of Amy Tan’s bestselling novel of the same name. In it, a Chinese American daughter is asked to take her late mother’s place in a weekly mahjong game, where a group of immigrant women have been gathering to share their stories since immigrating to the U.S. following World War II.
Having only a passing interest in her heritage at first, June eventually learns, along with the daughters of the three other mahjong players, to appreciate the struggles endured by the previous generation.
The cast includes Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen and Lisa Lu as the mothers and Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Lauren Tom and Rosalind Chao as the daughters. Tomita and Chao are scheduled to speak at the screening.
“Big Trouble in Little Tokyo” will be a bimonthly series that spotlights specially selected films by and about Asian Americans. Screenings will be followed by discussions with selected cast and crew members.
Following are the screening dates through 2015 and titles for the first three screenings.
Feb. 11: “The Joy Luck Club,” 1993 (rated R)
April 8: “Big Trouble in Little China,” 1986 (rated PG-13)
May 13: Special screening in honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month — “The Curse of Quon Gwon: When the Far East Mingles with the West,” 1916-17 (unrated)
July 8, Sept. 9 and Nov. 11: TBA
“Big Trouble in Little China,” whose title inspired that of this film series, is an action-adventure film set in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Directed by John Carpenter, it received mixed reviews when first released but has since become a cult classic. The cast includes Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun, Victor Wong, Kim Cattrall, James Hong, Kate Burton and Donald Li.
“The Curse of Quon Gwon” is a silent black-and-white film. It is the earliest known film directed by a Chinese American and one of the earliest directed by a woman, Marion Wong. The evening’s special guest will be Arthur Dong, a noted filmmaker who preserved two reels of “The Curse,” which was later restored by the Academy Film Archive. Portions of the film remain missing.
Advance tickets for “The Joy Luck Club” and subsequent screenings in the series are $8 for JANM and Visual Communications members, $10 for the general public. On the evening of the screening, tickets at the door (if available) are $12 for JANM and VC members, $15 for the general public.
All screenings will take place at JANM’s Tateuchi Democracy Forum, located at 111 N. Central Ave. in Little Tokyo. For more information and to purchase tickets online, visit www.janm.org.