The People I’ve Slept With

Full Disclosure: I was an extra in this movie although I’m nowhere to be found in the final movie. Trust me, I looked when I saw it last Saturday at the Visual Communications Film Festival, which is still going on.

The People I've Slept With

Like Better Luck Tomorrow, TPISW is getting some mainstream help. Logo TV, the gay/lesbian cable channel, has bought TV rights for the movie. It’s a great fit for the movie that has ample amounts of Wilson Cruz,  one of the pioneers of portrayals of a gay character and a minority on prime time TV in My So-Called Life. He nearly steals the show. Believe me, this movie is gay enough that Joz of 8Asians.com who saw the film in Taiwan said the audience there was baffled.

Certainly, the issue of gay issues and Asian Americans have been treated expertly before with Saving Face, starring Joan Chen, Michelle Krusiec, and Lynn Chen. And that film equally had some hardcore backers, Will Smith’s production company Overbrook and Sony Pictures Classics. As far as films about second generation Asian Americans go, it had charm, wit, and even a bit of raunchiness. In a way, Saving Face helped stake a career for Michelle Krusiec (Weeds) and Lynn Chen, who has a great role in The People I’ve Slept With. In a very nice way, TPISW is also a nice flowering of Chen’s potential in that film.

The People I’ve Slept With is a different animal from Saving Face in that the second generation issues (growing up with immigrant parents) is noticeably less of a theme, much like Better Luck Tomorrow. In fact, the father is played by James Shigeta as a free spirit who gives sage-ish advice, smokes peyote, does aerobics with a passion, and has a twenty-something blond plaything. Of course, Shigeta is playing with his image as a great Asian American leading male since the days of Flower Drum Song. In The Crimson Kimono, writer/director Sam Fuller gave Shigeta the benefit of romancing the white leading lady over the white male lead, but only after an internal struggle with his inferiority complex. Perhaps more poignantly, as Shigeta ages TPISW may be one of his last roles on film.

The only comparable person to Shigeta today is John Cho. TPISW points perhaps to another one…Archie Kao. As a male lead, he is charismatic.  Already a TV star on CSI, Kao is certainly poised to make good on his promise as a talented leading Asian American male. Less of a leading role but an absolute scene-stealer was Randall Park, who in real life is also pretty charismatic.

And last but not least, Karin Anna Cheung shows us that she can carry a movie of her own.

As a whole, the movie plays with the rom-com, pushing the genre in some fun ways. It’s has a very funny script by Koji Sakai, and was directed by Quentin Lee, whose first film was co-directed by Justin Lin. When you root for certain artists, you can’t help but root for their works as well (unless they’re horribly bad). I guess I was lucky that TPISW happens to be a very well-made film that deserves to have its day in the indie film sun.

And now for an unrelated, but digable track by Lisa Papineau…
Lisa Papineau

White Leather Pants – Lisa Papineau (mp3)     BUY

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