Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thousand Pieces of Gold - Movie Review

The Movie: Thousand Pieces of Gold

The Director: Nancy Kelly

The Cast: Rosalind Chao, Chris Cooper, Will Oldham, Michael Paul Chan, Dennis Dun, Jimmie F. Skaggs

The Story: Based on the true story of Lalu Nathoy, a woman sold into slavery by her father and ent from China to America during the 1880's.

The Review:
This movie is beautiful, it is inspiring, it is tragic, and it is scary all at the same time. Beautiful because of the sweeping landscapes that are put on film and the woman herself who is a symbol of strength, courage, and determination. Inspiring because of how she persevered against all odds. Tragic because her story and the story of racism against Asian people was such a common occurrence that it was just normal to most people. Scary because so much of this movie still rings true today.

Rosalind Chao's career spans decades of movie and TV performances and this one stands out as one of her best. Just like her character, the actress has persevered and stood the test of time while never lacking for work in both mediums. Chao gives so much life and personality to her performance as Lalu and she owns every scene she's in, even when stacked up against fellow actors like Chris Cooper and Michael Paul Chan who each have built just as impressive of resumes over the years.

I had never watched this movie until now and am so glad I did as it is a true cinema classic and should be on everyone's radar both as a piece of entertainment and as a way to learn about an often overlooked aspect of what human trafficking really is. An important thing to note, after Nancy Kelly completed this movie she was not offered another feature to direct although she did complete several documentaries including Rebels With a Cause and Smitten. From what I understand, she is actually working on her second feature right now so, while the wheels of progress may be painfully slow, talented women like Kelly and Rosalind Chao have made a difference.

Shout out to IndieCollect for this beautiful 4K restoration, it makes Thousand Pieces of Gold a movie you do not want to miss and also, thanks to Kino Lorber's efforts to bring movies to people at home while theaters are shut down, you now have a perfect opportunity. The Kino Marquee virtual cinema allows you to rent and watch a movie at home with shared revenue going to a local independent theater of your choosing.

Here in Seattle, you can choose to support the Northwest Film Forum as the theater you want to support with available screenings beginning on April 24th and going through May 7th. Other locations in the Pacific Northwest with the same dates available include the Pickford Film Center in Bellingham, the Liberty Theatre in Camas, and the Magic Lantern Theatre in Spokane. What a great way to help keep these theaters alive while they await an opportunity to reopen their doors.

Check out the Kino Lorber movie page for more info and other theater options.

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