Wayne Wang’s Princess of Nebraska to debut online for free

The Princess of Nebraska will be the first movie to premiere in its entirety on YouTube for free. Look for it in the YouTube Screening Room on Friday, October 17. We will let you know when it is released. Directed by Wayne Wang of Joy Luck Club fame and also co-directed by cinematographer Richard Wong, the film is the first narrative feature produced by the Center for Asian American Media. It is based on Yiyun Li’s award-winning book of short stories, The Princess of Nebraska. The film has already made its rounds in the Asian American film festival circuit. It great to see the film get more exposure. (The companion film, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers, hits theaters in New York on September 19.)

Here’s the synopsis for the Princess of Nebraska

Sasha (Ling Li) is part of the new youth generation of China, unbeholden to traditions and history, always trying to find themselves in the present moment. An exchange student in Nebraska, Sasha is pregnant after a one-night stand with Yang, a young man she knew briefly in Beijing. He was a “nan dan,” a male actor who specializes in female roles in the Beijing Opera. She departs for San Francisco, where she plans to get an abortion.

Boshen (Brian Danforth), a Caucasian American, who had an affair with Yang while living in China, takes Sasha in, hoping to persuade her to keep the child. However, Sasha is determined to do what she pleases – it’s her body, it’s her future. She wants to explore the new options open to her.

Sasha soon meets X, a bar hostess who reminds her of Yang, and they entertain a group of businessmen in a private karaoke room. Later she spends the night with X. Throughout, Sasha is text-messaging Yang, who never responds. She also creates a video diary with her cell phone which is intercut throughout the narrative. Along with her yearning for freedom, she also longs for connection.

At an ultrasound appointment, Sasha she sees the life growing inside her and something in her countenance changes. Boshen has talked to her about setting up a family, a new kind of family. Perhaps she will make a different decision after all.

Sasha leaves the clinic and watches a parade. In the final sequence, she is by herself, in a large empty room, lip-synching to the plaintive song by Antony and the Johnsons, “Hope There’s Someone,” which begins “Hope there’s someone/Who’ll take care of me/When I die, will I go.”

Princess of Nebraska Trailer