April 20, 2023

SCREEN | 'Big Fight in Little Chinatown' Finds Trouble x DOXA 2023

"Chinatown is a nesting place of living heritage."
Willian Liu Kam Wai Dim Sum Karen Cho | Big Fight in Little Chinatown | DOXA 2023
DOXA Documentary Film Festival
Montreal-based filmmaker Karen Cho documents the battle for the soul of various fading Chinatowns across major North American cities—including Vancouver's. Big Fight in Little Chinatown tackles the disappearances of these historical neighbourhoods amidst the fervent anti-Asian racism that accelerated during the global pandemic.

For many, the concept of Chinatown means a rich cultural heritage of Chinese immigrants that must be preserved and protected, including resistance as people fight to stay where their roots have grown. Cho dissects the complex issues and identity politics surrounding the displacement of Chinatown residents and businesses as the people who rely on these communities move on or are forced out.

Aside from protection and public support, the documentary does its best to look behind a greater meaning of these places and the importance of their continued existence and central locations in urban centres. How a communal sense of belonging is portrayed through resistance and pride makes the film's composition as a document of cultural legacies all the more meaningful.

There's much to Big Fight's careful exploration of Chinatowns across the continent. Its reverence for the stewardship of these neighbourhoods is admirable while the documentary delves into the ever-growing gentrification faced. Cho ably sums up the history of Chinese people as compelling stories of struggle and survival.

Big Fight in Little Chinatown screens as the opening film of the 2023 DOXA Documentary Film Festival at the SFU Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema on May 4th. It also screens at the VIFF Centre on May 9th, The Cinematheque on May 14th, and UBC Robson Square on June 5th.

More | YVArcade / CBC / Moveable Fest / Stir

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