CAN Digital Commission No.5 Eelyn Lee: Casting Fu Manchu

A new film by Eelyn Lee exploring the idea of Yellow Peril in light of the coronavirus.

About

Despite being in the public eye for over 90 years, Dr Fu Manchu, the popular Chinese villain has only ever been played on screen by white men. In her film, Lee subverts the practice of ‘yellow face’ by inviting actors of east and southeast Asian heritage to audition for the role of Fu Manchu. Over 50 actors, male, female and non-binary, sent her self shot audition tapes with their re-appropriated versions of the character, a selection of which form the basis of the film.

In 1912, when Sax Rohmer dreamt up his fictional Dr Fu Manchu, the evil Chinese doctor set on world domination, Yellow Peril was rife. Often painted as a faceless existential threat to the western world, east Asians were seen as a force that needed to be suppressed. Over 100 years later, COVID-related racist attacks towards east and southeast Asians has demonstrated that Yellow Peril is still alive today.

Watch the Q&A from the Premiere below.

Commissioned by Chinese Arts Now

Featuring:
Daniel York Loh, Elisabeth Gunawan, Eric Mok, Sabrina Pui Yee Chin, Luna Dai, Lilian Tsang, Joyce Veheary, Jacqui Ong, Kyoko Takenaka, Siu-see Hung, Hi Ching

Additional Cinematography: Dan Loops

Casting Director: Nicci Topping

Composer, Sound Design & Online Editor: Francis Morgan-Giles

Edited, Produced & Directed by: Eelyn Lee

Eelyn Lee

Eelyn Lee

Eelyn Lee is an award-winning artist and filmmaker who has exhibited across UK including Barbican, Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery as well as internationally in Paris, Berlin, Bogotá and Toronto. Her socially engaged practice combines collective research, devised theatre, screen writing and filmmaking to create frameworks for ensembles of collaborators to work together. Her Chinese/English heritage motivates her interest in race, identity and ’othering’. She is currently developing a narrative feature film exploring empire and race with a twist on the western and horror genres.

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