Saturday, April 12, 2014

Squared: Director Hieu Tran Challenges Queer Asian Stereotypes

  An important breakthrough short is screening at the Vietnamese Film Festival at Anaheim GardenWalk's UltraLuxe Cinema.  "Squared," directed, written and produced by Hieu Tran successfully challenges conventional views of Queer Asian males sexual practices and preferences.

To hear our Subversity Online interview with Hieu Tran (left), click here.

Turning conventional views on their head, the beautifully photographed 15-minute film, finished last October, portrays a buff Vietnamese American (Wally, played by Ethan Le Phong) who picks up buff Caucasian American (Dr. Tate Middleton, played by Yamil Jaiman) and both discover in bed that they are "tops". 

U don't bottom?

As the two characters (CUTEAZNBOI and TOPDAWG) confront that dilemma, they proceed to see who is better endowed.

Viewers don't get to see actual genitalia but the film has a surprise (watch it to find out).  It also leads to a wrestling match to see who is the stronger (more masculine?) guy.

We asked in our interview with the director why he made this film; Hieu Tran tells us it's to challenge long-lasting stereotypes about Asian queers who are almost invariably depicted as "bottoms" or submissive in bed.   He tells us that Jamil Jaiman, who is straight in real life, gives his first kiss to a man Ethan Le Phong) in the film.  Shot in the director's lodgings in the Hillcrest district of San Diego, the film manages, in just 15 minutes, to cover a lot of ground - and is an early indication of the brilliance of this young filmmaker, who would like to make films but also photograph them.

Born in Danang, Vietnam, he came to the U.S. at age 4, and unlike other Vietnamese American filmmakers from Southern California, is perfectly happy to try to break into the film industry here in the United States, and not in his native land.  I must say with this short his prospects look good. 

Lovers in bed
The short is paired with a feature film, Nadine Truong's "Someone I Used to Know," screening at 5 pm on Sunday, 13 April, 2014 at the Vietnamese Film Festival, UltraLuxe Cinema, Anaheim Garden Walk, 321 Katella Avenue, Anaheim. - Daniel C. Tsang

No comments: