March 12, 2020

SCREEN | Anna Akana Travels to 'Go Back to China'

"It was always my dream to have all my children under one roof."
Anna Akana Richard Ng Emily Ting | Go Back to China
Gravitas Ventures
YouTube star Anna Akana tackles her first feature lead role in the cross-cultural Chinese-American family comedy Go Back to China. Filmmaker Emily Ting balances her dysfunctional multi-generational relationships with common Asian themes of obligation or providing and individual creative pursuits.

Akana's sparkling performance as a spoiled trust fund kid and fashion student with an absentee father (Richard Ng) threads a lot of different thematic needles rather comically. Co-starring Lynn Chen and Kelly Hu as Sascha's half-sister and divorced single mother, Ting has assembled a dynamic Chinese cast with varied familiarity and acting styles.

Set initially around Los Angeles hot spots before switching to a working-class Chinese toy factory and locations in between including a gaudy nouveau rich mansion, the film creates a fun sense of geography. That feeling only heightens the universal comedic elements beyond the archetypical "fish out of water" and "stranger in a strange land" stories of unfamiliar homelands.

Essentially a multi-national indie comedy about highly dysfunctional families, Go Back to China tells both a refreshing and familiar story using hallmarks of immigrant Chinese culture with a sheen of affluence that's very relatable. Ting continues her string of interesting Asian-centric cinema with Akana as a compelling lead.

Go Back to China is available to stream on various digital platforms and through video on demand.

More | YVArcade / Indiewire / Slashfilm / THR

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