Mar 6, 2009

China Girl


I have always had a soft spot for Italian-Americans (or more specifically Sicilian-Americans). One of my best friends growing up was a Sicilian-American who had a natural knack for subversion, crime, lying, and the best fucked up ideas ever. By the age of 5 years old he was already a ladies man smooth talking young blond girls like a natural. After I saw Abel Ferrara’s film China Girl I couldn’t help but think of my childhood friend. Unlike the lead Tony in the film, my Sicilian friend was far from sweet. My friend was more like that older Sicilian-Americans in China Girl that waste Chinks for sport.


China Girl is quite the unconventional “Romeo and Juliet” style story. Nowadays there are plenty of interracial films where a white whore wants to screw a Negro or Latino for recreational fun. I don’t think there is, however, another film about a forbidden love between an Italian boy and Chinese girl. One could say that this odd relationship is even a bit heartwarming. Amongst the hatred of rival racial gangs, these two abstractions find love in the most unconventional of places. One also can’t help but enjoy seeing Italians and Chinese guys kicking each others asses.


China Girl is one of Abel Ferrara’s more “Hollywood” style films. Still, the film has a good balance between Ferrara’s signature gritty urban style and studio production values. I must admit that China Girl is a much better film than Ferrara’s infamous film Driller Killer. I also found China Girl to be fairly modern despite being over twenty years old. With the progressing influence of hostile third world “immigrants,” city racial tensions are on a rise. I only wish other directors would make films featuring realistic fights between rivaling minorities.


With the unconventional and dangerous relationship in China Girl, one can usually only expect tragic results. Despite the drama, China Girl is still a film about the strength of the “human spirit (or something like that).” Spike Lee’s film Jungle Fever was a film featuring an Italian woman and black man that “hook up.” Despite the film being unintentionally funny, the film lacked any type of “soul.” Maybe Spike Lee should treat Abel Ferrara to a basketball game and Ferrara might give him some directing tips.


-Ty E

3 comments:

Phantom of Pulp said...

I'm hot on cold on Ferrara, but I agree with you on "China Girl"; it is a very fine little movie.

I also like Ferrara's "Crime Story" pilot a lot.

Thanks for your continued combing of the worthwhile cinematic carpet.

Fox said...

You guys are on a goddamn roll!!!

Love the first paragraph:

"One of my best friends growing up was a Sicilian-American who had a natural knack for subversion, crime, lying, and the best fucked up ideas ever. By the age of 5 years old he was already a ladies man smooth talking young blond girls like a natural."

That needs to be part of some narration in a film like Ferrara's.

And "heartwarming" is what I really like about this Ferrara film. I guess I felt that way a bit about parts of 'R X-Mas, but China Girl really stands out amongst his body of work b/c of that quality.

peregrine fforbes-hamilton said...

of course when i read the words "young blond girls" i started thinking about heather o`rourke straight away, although if i`m honest i never really think about anything else other than heather...EVER!!!.