Last night, American public broadcaster PBS aired Seeking Asian Female, a documentary about an older white male-younger Chinese female couple that I have been meaning to see for quite some time now. Filmmaker Debbie Lum follows Steven, a Northern California parking lot attendant in his 60s, as he marries Sandy, a 30-year-old woman from rural China whom he met on the Internet.
The hour-long film is chock-full of cringe-worthy moments, like when Steven tells Debbie that he “love[s] the Chinese look” that Sandy and Debbie both have. Despite my preconceptions about men like Steven, though, by the end of the film I started feeling a bit sorry for him. The relationship doesn’t work out very well, and the couple has difficulty communicating when Debbie is not there to interpret for them. Steven’s personal finance troubles and continued correspondence with a previous Asian Internet girlfriend push Sandy to the edge. Three-fourths of the way through the film, she threatens to leave. Continue Reading →