The 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.