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SAF: SEEKING ASIAN FEMALE (Movie Trailer)

Seeking Asian Female is an eccentric modern love story about Steven and Sandy – an aging white man with “yellow fever” who is obsessed with marrying any Asian woman, and the young Chinese bride he finds online.

Debbie, a Chinese American filmmaker, documents and narrates with skepticism and humor, from the early stages of Steven’s search for an Asian bride, through the moment Sandy steps foot in America for the first time, to a year into their precarious union. Global migration, Sino-American relations and the perennial battle of the sexes, weigh in on the fate of their marriage in this intimate and quirky personal documentary.

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Images that will make you think differently about ‘Yellow Fever’

Huffington Post: 

Wondering if a man you know fetishizes Asian women? Brooklyn-based illustrator Donna Choi has a handy guide for you.

Choi created her 8-piece series on diagnosing “yellow fever” based on her own experiences as an Asian-American woman.

I was inspired by personal experiences in romance and everyday life,” she told the Huffington Post in an email. “There have been a lot of uncomfortable conversations followed by nights of dissecting, complaining, and way too much wine with my girlfriends. Love and race are endlessly fascinating to me. The idea that you can be genuinely interested in a person but still see them somewhat one-dimensionally is morbidly interesting.”

Asian women, often stereotyped as subservient “mail-order brides,” get the most attention when online dating — and not necessarily the “good” kind. There is even a Tumblr dedicated to the offensive messages Asian women receive on dating websites. The description for the blog, titled Creepy White Guys,” explains: “Every Asian girl who has ever tried online dating, whether on POF, OKCupid, or Match has experienced it: messages from Creepy White Guys with Asian fetishes.”

According to Choi, this fetishization is the result of oversimplified thinking. She told HuffPost:

On a human level, I think that a lot of men — but a lot of us in general — want to experience something different and exotic but not too threatening. Asian women represent this fantasy woman: delicate, hyper-feminine, never too contradictory. I also think that a lot of men are fascinated by Asian women because we’re perceived to be the opposite of Western women — whereas Western women are headstrong and individualistic, Asian women are passive and communal. Obviously the truth is way more complex than that.

Choi wanted to address these serious issues in a medium designed to grab a reader’s attention in the age of listicles and GIF lists. These funny, irreverent images start an important dialogue about fetishizing Asian women — and we’d like to see the conversation continue.

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Images that will make you think differently about ‘Yellow Fever’

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Justin Chan asks, “Are Asian men undateable? ‘Yellow fever’ seems to only cut one way.”

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Justin Chan (via PolicyMic.com):

The online dating website “Are You Interested” recently surveyed more than 2.4 million interactions on its site and confirmed what many of us suspect: America loves Asian women.

In fact, Asian female users are more likely to get messages, including inappropriate ones, from male users of any race other than Asian. This trend, popularly dubbed “yellow fever,” is not a new phenomenon, springing instead from an attraction to what some observers say is the exotic appeal of Asian women, and a self-indulging fantasy of being with women who are seen as docile and submissive.

While Asian women seem to be in high demand, Asian men do not. Asian female and non-Asian male pairings are seen to be common, but Asian men are often left out of the discussion over interracial relationships entirely. As one of my black female friends put it, “Asian men, along with black women, are probably the least desirable people.”

A 2007 study conducted by researchers at Columbia University, which surveyed a group of over 400 students who participated orchestrated “speed dating” sessions, showed that African-American and white women said “yes” 65% less often to the prospect of dating Asian men in comparison of men of their own race, while Hispanic women said yes 50% less frequently. Though Asian-Americans still date and marry each other, cultural stereotypes of Asian men may make them less attractive to women of all races, including Asians.

Despite iconic masculine Asian role models like Bruce Lee, Asian men are often portrayed as scrawny males who spend more time studying than lifting weights in the gym, appearing in popular culture as soft-spoken, reserved types who rarely take part in activities that people qualify as “masculine” like professional football or construction work, as characters played for laughs.

These depictions run counter to what society tells us women want: someone confident, tall, dark and handsome.

Women think we have a masculinity that’s maligned and marginalized,” said my friend Jubin Kwon, a Korean-American who grew up in the predominantly white town of Lexington, Mass. “There’s also this idea of relative invisibility, but that applies to all Asian-Americans.”

Given the constant stereotyping Asian-American men face in the media, Asian-American men approaching non-Asian women often either feel an unnecessary burden to prove themselves against Asian stereotypes or keep to themselves in fear of rejection. The agonizing paralysis of self-doubt is well captured by John Shim, who wrote a telling piece for The Daily Bruin in 2002, lamenting “I feel cheated out of a myriad of romantic experiences that could have been brought to fruition were I not an Asian male.”

Growing up, I felt the same way. Part of me believed that I had no chance with non-Asian women because our cultural differences were too apparent. The other part was simply a lack of self-confidence. I rarely had the courage to express my feelings because I was too worried about the what-ifs.

Over time, I forced myself to look past the stigmas that defined Asian males and worked to counter them. It paid off slowly but surely.

For some, the anxiety over being an Asian male that I once harbored can seem like an overreaction. “For me, there is no pressure [in asking a non-Asian woman out],” said my friend Anthony Ma, whose ex-girlfriend was Mexican. “But if you’re from a very traditional Asian household, there might be some.”

Even for those who share Ma’s confidence, the sad truth is that the media continues to perpetuate the emasculated Asian male stereotype. To some, we are quiet or asexual. To others, we’re less manly than our white, black and Hispanic counterparts. The consensus seems to be that Asian men have nothing going for them. “While growing up in a homogeneous white town, it was a standard perception that Asian men just weren’t attractive,” Sarah Shaw acknowledged in a post for Mapping Words earlier this year.

Whether this line of thought will change depends on the media’s openness to promote more traditionally or differentially masculine Asian figures, and the willingness of Asian men to tackle existing media stereotypes of us head-on. As long as characters like Short Round continue to exist, Asian males will always have to confront issues regarding their masculinity.

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Justin Chan asks, “Are Asian men undateable? ‘Yellow fever’ seems to only cut one way.”

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Korean-French actress Pom Klementieff makes US Debut in Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ remake

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KoreAm Magazine (November 2013 issue):

Spike Lee kept provoking Pom Klementieff. I see in your resume that you did some boxing, but I just can’t see it,” he would say, seemingly displeased with her martial arts skills.

Klementieff was horrified. The Korean French actress, so eager to work with the man responsible for movies like Do The Right Thing (1989) and Inside Man (2006), had prepared for two months with a stuntman in Paris. Now, called back for a second audition in front of Lee himself, her chance to star in the Hollywood remake of Oldboy appeared to be dwindling.

He asked her bluntly, “Do you want the part?

Of course,” Klementieff replied.

Hunching forward on the edge of his chair, Lee told her, “Then show me.”

Out of desperation, Klementieff punched and kicked the air as hard as she could, all while Lee was yelling for more: “Give me some kicks! Stronger! Quicker!

I turned red,” the actress recalled in her thick French accent. “I was exhausted. I was losing my breath. It was completely ridiculous.”

And just when Klementieff thought it was over, Lee asked her to come back a few hours later, but wearing a sexier outfit and makeup. “At that point, if he had asked if I could cut my leg off, I would’ve said, ‘Of course! Right or left?’” she said.

Upon her return and additional auditioning, she and Lee ended up having a conversation. “He was asking me all these questions,” Klementieff said. “So I told him, my father died when I was 5. My mother, she is schizophrenic, so she couldn’t take care of me and my brother, who committed suicide a few months before the audition. But I was just so happy to be there. I was telling him all this and smiling at the same time, like a weirdo.”

A week later, she learned that she got the part. And now the 27-year-old Klementieff, for whom “weird” and black humor are just two of many facets, will make her American debut when Oldboy arrives in theaters on Nov. 27.

Her first name, Pom, even has multiple meanings. While “pomme” means apple in French, her mother, Yu Ri Park, gave her the name with two more words in mind. In Korean, Pom could refer to both spring (pronounced “bom”) and tiger (pronounced “beom”).

Born in Quebec City, Canada, Klementieff has also had numerous homes. Her parents met when her half-Russian, half-French father visited Seoul in the mid-1980s. “My mother is completely Korean, and my father is Russian and French. They met on the street in Seoul, and he fell in love with her. He followed her around like a weirdo. He was obsessed with Asia.”

You know, yellow fever?” said Klementieff, laughing.

A consul with the French government, her father would relocate the family to Japan and Western Africa’s Ivory Coast during Klementieff’s infant years, before finally settling in France.

She said being on the move repeatedly as a child has given her a “gypsy soul.” “I mean that in a good way. No, I don’t smoke weed,” she said, giggling. “It just means that I can be comfortable anywhere. I can go from one place to another and be comfortable.”

But growing up, there would also be great sadness, like her father’s death due to cancer when she was 5. On her 18th birthday, the paternal uncle who ended up raising Klementieff, due to her mother’s schizophrenia, passed away.

My uncle was like my second father,” she said. “When he died, I first went to law school to please my aunt, but it just wasn’t for me. Then I worked as a waitress and saleswoman in Paris. I didn’t want to do that for the rest of my life. I was 18 and wanted to do something that can help me express my feelings.”

Klementieff decided to try acting, and started by attending the prestigious Cours Florent, a drama school in Paris, when she was 19. She showed promise immediately, winning a theater competition only a few months later that awarded her free classes with some of the best teachers in France. “Doing things on the stage and being able to move people, it was fun. And winning that competition was a really good sign,” she said. “It meant people saw promise in me.”

But tragedy would befall again, this time on her 25th birthday: Her older brother, Namou, committed suicide. “Now I’m afraid of somebody else dying on my next birthday,” she said with a grin that perhaps masks a genuine fear of loss. “But it’s life, you know? Moving here, it was tough and complicated. But I wanted to move. I wanted to be free of drama, and have a new story to tell.”

If the new Oldboy resonates with audiences like South Korea’s Park Chan-wook’s much-revered and award winning 2003 version, she will have a compelling story to begin with. She’s made an impression on producer Roy Lee, the Korean American with numerous high-profile Hollywood credits, including the remade Oldboy. “I thought she had a great screen presence and an interesting, fresh look,” he said.

Klementieff plays Haeng-Bok, the bodyguard for the film’s villain. Being able to give a beat-down was new territory for her, but the work she put into the physical training was worth the effort. Because it fits with her career goals, one of which is to “be a badass.”

Her bubbly personality showing, she proudly revealed the nickname she earned on the film set: Pominator. But more than anything, Klementieff is now looking forward to her life in the U.S. “I like the American optimism,” said Klementieff. “The [saying] here is, ‘If you work hard, you can do whatever you want.’ And it’s true. In France, it’s different. It’s more like, ‘Yeah, you can do it, but it usually doesn’t work, so let’s just have a cigarette and a glass of wine.’ When I first came here, I felt everything is possible. And it really is.”

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Korean-French actress Pom Klementieff makes US Debut in ‘Oldboy’ remake

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