The movie does look pretty fascinating, and it’s going on my “Things to Watch” list. The filmmaker, Debbie Lum, is a Chinese-American woman who found Steven, a 60-year-old white man who is looking for a “young Asian bride” (Steven is a really great guy, obviously). She documents his quest.
Steven was, Lum says, her worst nightmare — the kind of guy she’d spent most of her life trying to avoid. But he was also an irresistible character, and, she thought, a perfect subject to illustrate the deeply dubious nature of the “yellow fever” phenomenon. “He seems to have a broken filter,” she says — freely giving Lum unabashed access to thoughts that others might discreetly choose to keep in the vault.
“I’m an old guy now, I’m 60,” he says, grinning at the camera. “So I’m trying to figure it out! Do I want the farm girl to take care of me? Do I want an intelligent business woman to help me grow? What do I want? There’s this Vietnamese movie called ‘Scent of the Green Papaya,’ with a beautiful servant girl who cooks these idyllic meals. Gee, would it be like that?”
But, soon after the film begins, Steven makes his decision: His future young Asian bride would need to be Chinese. “China is just amazing right now, the vitality, the growth, and there’s an endless supply of women over there! These are the different girls I’ve written to,” he says, flipping through an endless series of online images. “Oh, they’re all just so beautiful!”
Steven finds his bride, and it turns out that she actually has thoughts and opinions and she sometimes gives him hell. She is, in fact, a real person and not a subservient animated China doll! We are all shocked, I am sure. I haven’t seen the movie and don’t know how it turns out, but I kind of hope he sees how she wields that meat cleaver and takes the hint. (Realistically, though, he probably just goes on OK Cupid and turns into one of these guys).