Movie Review: “Seeking Asian Female” at the Florida Film Festival

3starsThe title is, frankly, creepy. The premise, profiling one of those guys who shops the personal ads and matchmaking websites “Seeking Asian Female,” is right on the cusp of repulsive – creepy white guys seeking Asian girlfriends or brides.

But put an Asian female filmmaker — Debbie Lum — on the case and something altogether different emerges. The Chinese-American Lum locates a subject, the disarmingly icky Steven, a guy with “yellow fever,” as she calls it, and follows the efforts of this 60 year-old parking lot cashier to meet, court, marry and set up a life with a  much younger Chinese woman.

Lum, a nascent filmmaker, manages to avoid being put-off by Steven’s blurted observations about her heritage and attractiveness and sticks with him as he closes in on a prospect, fails, and then finds a woman, in China, willing to be his mate.

And that’s where the REAL trouble starts.

Lum paints Steven as a nerdy, broke “collector” whose obsession gives him a hint of the chilling. Then, we get to know him, his open-hearted neediness and naiveté. And then we start to wonder about the Chinese woman who agrees to marry him, sight unseen. Lum found a relationship that punctures preconceived expectations that we form for both halves of the couple — what he wants and expects, what she gets out of the bargain.

In an era when love and marriage are being redefined, here’s a documentary that shos yet another way such couplings can work. Or not work out.



About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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9 Responses to Movie Review: “Seeking Asian Female” at the Florida Film Festival

  1. Steven Bolstad says:

    Many misconceptions fade away with this film. Many seem to remain. Many arise anew.
    “Sight Unseen?” Debbie Lum being an ABC came loaded with her own stereotypes imbued in her vision.
    While it does capture some truths, ithe film does not show the entire truth.
    In the end it is only Debbie Lum’s view of our life and her version of our life.

    What does not come across, and what you did not notice, is the fact that I took nine trips to China to meet different people. People who, like me, wanted to change their lives.
    I met Sandy on the fifth trip after ten months of almost daily email and WebCam communication with each other for long hours at a time before we even met in person.
    Sandy was raised in the country on a tea farm which gave her a grounding of good morals and a work ethic.
    Then ten years in the big city where her hard work and determination led her to become an executive secretary in an upscale fashion company.
    She was not a face in a catalog that I ordered by number. She is a vibrant, intelligent, can-do person with a quick wit and wonderful sense of humor.
    My first time with her was a two week long 24/7visit that was great fun and we communicated rather well with the aid of our electronics and old-fashioned hand gestures.

    Then followed a short visit to meet her parents and tell them we were serious.
    Then another two week visit to make sure we were still on track with each other.
    And then a final visit to go to the US Consulate and prove that we want to be truly a married couple.
    I dare say that this is a longer and more formal courtship then most American couples undertake.

    To have it summed up as a “creepy love affair” is quite an insulting paycheck for my open honesty.
    To have our love doubted or put as questionable by someone who has not even talked to me strikes me as slightly arrogant.

    What has followed, besides the few misunderstanding stumbling blocks of culture shock featured in the film, is a marriage of three and a half years that has grown in happiness and love.

    As for my attraction to the exotic beauty of Asian women, really, what’s not to like?
    It is really a numbers game as well. The odds are on my side.
    There are billions of Chinese.
    Here in America I am an invisible almost non human with greatly reduced minimal receptive choices.
    In China I am greeted continually with smiling happy faces wherever I go.

    Not a tough decision.
    It is a totally pragmatic and practical decision on my part.
    My “creepy” search was a methodical process of finding one person with whom I had the best chemistry.
    I found her.

    Steven Bolstad
    Protagonist 🙂
    Creepy White Guy
    Seeking Asian Female

    • nooffensebut says:

      What I find creepy is everyone in the media because they claim to write something. Then, when a plagiarism allegation arises, we find out about their intern ghostwriters.

      Isn’t a fetish an attraction to an object like a shoe? Is the term “Asian fetish” a feminist metaphor about “objectifying women”? Wouldn’t Asian men be those most likely to suffer from this fetish? Is Roger Moore a self-hating white man, or does he have a ghostwriter who hates white men? If he thinks attraction to Asian women is “creepy,” is he gay?

      Congratulations, Mr. Bolstad, and good luck in the future.

      • “Plagiarism?” “Ghost writers?”
        Your sexual proclovities have gotten hold of your ability to compose a coherent sentence, Yellow Fever boy.

      • nooffensebut says:

        “Yellow Fever boy”

        Touche. You don’t have writers. When you decide to label the next type of couple you despise, you might want to pick a disease that hasn’t killed real people lately.

      • Nope. Sorry. You’re still stupid as dirt, just based on your scribblings. Good luck with finding some gullible foreign language speaker in those personal ads, creep.

    • James says:

      As a White male, I find people like you an embarrassment to the White race….

      • Morris says:

        James, no such thing as a “White race” except on census forms. Due to trade, wars, migration, and travel even Nordic males have the DNA of Genghis Khan.

        Ever go to Afghanistan and see red-haired, green-eyed people? The British were there for decades. Ever go to South East Asia and see what looks like “western” people? The French, Portuguese, Americans, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, and British were all there.

        But thanks for playing.

        As a human being, I find you, James, to be an embarrassment to humanity.

        And I like what Steven wrote here- the numbers are on his “side”. The majority of people on this earth are Asian. In fact, once you leave the United States- you will find that Asian culture, news, and even food dominates all over the world. Been to Africa lately? Yes, Africa! Tens of thousands of Chinese live and work in Africa.

        But back to you, James. I hope you find your Hitler Youth bride. Just don’t be upset when the blood test comes back and 2% of her DNA is African and another 2% is Asian.

        If they are in love, who are YOU to judge?

      • I am not sure you’re reading his embarrassed post correctly. A lot of people find it offensive that there are men advertising for a specific race and “type” of woman based on, some say in the film, stereotypes that they think make such women easier to “manage.”
        White guys embarrassed at other white guys’ predilections is how I read it.
        Then again, maybe you got that and you’re being defensive about it.

  2. Leo Chen says:

    As a Chinese-American raised in a Chinese family and who later married a Chinese-Chinese woman and has known lots of Chinese women, I’ve found them to be smart, capable, pragmatic, patient, impatient, demanding that their man pull his own weight, caring — in other words, not the submissive woman that some men may want/need when seeking an Asian woman.

    Instead, you may discover that she definitely will not be your inferior.

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