Film Studies Program

Breathing Fire: A Celebration of Anna May Wong

Publication Date
Still from Piccadilly (1929), starring Anna May Wong.

Produced for Proctors by Paul Kazee and curated for Union College by Professor Jenelle Troxell, Breathing Fire: A Celebration of Anna May Wong features conversations with Union College professors and literary and cultural critics.

Moving from silence to sound, big screen to small, Anna May Wong was the first Chinese American film star to achieve international acclaim, appearing in over sixty movies during her lifetime, not only in Hollywood, but in Germany and the UK as well.

In an era when yellowface was rampant, and racism and anti-miscegenation laws prevented her from playing romantic leading lady roles, Wong forged an inimitable persona that transcended the exoticizing roles—dragon lady, Butterfly, and courtesan—customarily available to her. Throughout her career, she devoted herself to promoting more positive images of Chinese Americans, and as actor, style icon, and cosmopolitan woman, Wong triumphed over the “thousand deaths” she infamously died on screen.

Thursday, September 14, 2023, 7:00pm - GE Theatre @ Proctors

“Daughter of Shanghai,” Introduction by Megan Ferry, Professor of Chinese

Thursday, September 21, 2023, 7:00pm - GE Theatre @ Proctors

“King of Chinatown,” Introduction by Joyce Madancy, Professor of History

Thursday, September 28, 2023, 7:00pm - GE Theatre @ Proctors

“Piccadilly,” Introduction by Bina Gogineni, postcolonial literary and cultural critic