Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Yellow Tale Blues

  • Rating: *
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $295.00
  • Date: Copyright 1990. Released 1990.
  • Descriptors: Race relations. Stereotypes. Asian Americans. Minorities.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Quynh Thai. Color, b&w. 30 min.
  • Available from: Filmakers Library 124 E. 40th St., Ste. 901 New York, NY 10016 (212)808-4980
  • Cataloging: 305.895 Asians - United States
  • Print Entry #: 2:520
  • Reviewer: Mary L. Keeley

    Producer Quynh Thai's unnarrated documentary is an attempt to banish stereotypical images of Asians in the media. Using "video veritÇ" techniques, the producer follows the routines of two Asian-American families in a rather haphazard fashion. The interview questions directed to members of the Choy family members in New York and the Tajama family in California are basic, and with few exceptions, not terribly interesting.

    There are a few enlightening moments; however, they are not successfully explored and lack a tie-in with the rest of the video. One such vignette occurs when the grandmother of the Choy family is asked about the difference between the Chinese men and the American men of her youth. She is quite forthright in her answers: American men were more interesting, more attentive, she feels, while Chinese men simply didn't know how to "conduct themselves with women very well." There is no follow-up question as to why she herself married a Chinese, only clips from old films showing Chinese men behaving in an obstreperous and demanding fashion with women.

    In other scenes with the Tajama clan, a four-generation, middle-class family, one daughter claims she always disliked the fact that her eyes were small. She longed for the large "double-lidded" eyes of her Caucasian friends. One of the Tajama men discusses the "difference between women you want to go to bed with and the women you want to marry." The ideally attractive women he mentions are all blonde, blue-eyed, and tall. Again, there is no follow-up as to why he married a Japanese girl; born in California, he should have encountered no extremely strong cultural problem prohibiting him from marrying a tall, blue-eyed blonde - but this subject is not explored.

    The presentation rambles a good deal in its attempt to prove a point. The editing of film clips could be a bit tighter and relate more closely to the points being emphasized. The audio quality in the home-video segments is often poor. Questions asked off-camera cannot be heard very clearly - and sometimes not at all; responses are soft and at times indistinguishable.

    This production is certainly a noble effort with a worthwhile point to make. It simply doesn't make that point clearly or strongly enough for the average audience. At a high price for barely 30 minutes of program time, this is not a good purchase for school or public libraries.

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