“Chung’s performance here is incredible.” – RogerEbert.com
“Gently explores the shared language of love between mother and son.” – Screen International
“Poignant…don’t miss it.” – NOW Toronto
89% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes
Acclaimed director Wayne Wang’s (The Joy Luck Club, Chan Is Missing) moving new film, Coming Home Again is based on a personal essay by award-winning Korean-American writer Chang-rae Lee that was published in The New Yorker.
This emotional, intimate family drama about a mother, a son, and the burden of family expectations, world premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and now begins its Theatrical Premiere Run October 23, from Outsider Pictures and Strand Releasing.
The film’s main character, also named Chang-rae (the charismatic Justin Chon), a first generation Korean-American, returns to his family home in San Francisco to care for his ailing mother (powerful Jackie Chung). Wanting nothing more than to fulfill his role as the supportive son, he must come to terms with his own conflicted emotions.
The film takes place over the course of one full day during which Chang-rae attempts to prepare a traditional Korean New Year’s Eve dinner; like the one his mother always cooked for the family. The care and precision that goes into preparing this meal gives him time to reflect on the intense relationship between them. Memories become a doorway into a woman who was so much more than the mother he thought he knew. Now, Chang-rae is faced with the dilemma of living with the permanent scars of unresolved family sacrifice, or the risk of opening new wounds as cancer shadows their lives.
While acknowledging the influences of iconic filmmakers Yasujirō Ozu, Chantal Akerman and Michael Haneke, Coming Home Againis all Wayne Wang, who continues to authentically pioneer exploring the lives of Asian-Americans and of women on screen today.
Director Wayne Wang’s Statement:
Last year marked the 25th anniversary of The Joy Luck Club and from my perspective, the portrayal of Chinese-American characters over those 25 years has not changed for the better as much as many people today might wish they had. In fact, until very recently, the portrayal of Chinese-American characters on screen has become more stereotypical than ever. This made me decide to focus on doing something authentic with flesh and blood Asian-American characters who have real histories and real problems. I was determined to make “Coming Home Again”, and make it as authentic as possible.
More aboutWayne Wang:
Born and raised in Hong Kong, Wang moved to Los Altos, California in 1967. For two years he lived on a Quaker ranch, surrounded by the unique counterculture of America in the late 60s, and attended college nearby. He initially majored in Biological Sciences. Then after taking some inspirational art classes, he decided to study painting at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, an education he augmented by avidly watching the films of the French New Wave, German New Cinema, Asian Post-war Cinema at the Pacific Film Archive, specifically becoming an admirer of Asian directors such as Yasujiro Ozu, and Satyajit Ray. For graduate studies, he changed his major to Film. After getting a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, he returned to Hong Kong and got a job as one of the trainees to direct a popular TV series, “Below the Lion Rock”, for RTHK-TV (the Hong Kong equivalent of PBS). He soon found that he did not fit in the very formulated series and the government financed media bureaucracy. He returned to the U.S. where he got involved with teaching English to immigrants in San Francisco’s Chinatown. In 1982, with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Film Institute, Wang made the low budget and completely independent Chan Is Missing, in which two cabbies search through San Francisco’s Chinatown for the mysterious Chan, a friend who’s made off with their hard-earned dough. “Although the character of Chan is never seen through the film,” says Wang, “I wanted to show the many varied personalities and their perspectives of Chinatown. I wanted to represent this through the disappearance of a recent immigrant
in Chinatown.” Wang also wanted to show another Chinatown not represented by Hollywood.
COMING HOME AGAIN premieres October 23 through Virtual Cinema and theater bookings in the U.S. and Canada, in partnership with Strand Releasing. “Coming Home Again” will not be on other streaming platforms until 2021.
During this COVID-19 period of ongoing theater closures, in addition to making our being films available in theaters where open, Outsider Pictures continues to offer online virtual screening rooms through independent theaters, with a virtual ticket price of $12 on premiere theatrical releases, and a 50-50 box office split.
Coming Home Again Director: Wayne Wang
Writers: Wayne Wang & Chang-rae Lee
Country: U.S/South Korea
Language: English and Korean with English subtitles
Running Time: 86 min.