Author Amy Tan Reacts to ‘The Joy Luck Club’ Induction to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress

Yesterday, Wayne Wang ‘s The Joy Luck Club from 1993, featuring a formidable group of actresses telling the saga of two generations of Asian-American women, based on the bestselling book by Amy Tan, was among 25 of America’s most influential motion pictures to be inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. 

Kieu Chinh, Ming-Na Wen, Tamlyn Tomita, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen, Lauren Tom, Lisa Lu, Rosalind Chao. (Buena Vista/Hollywood/Kobal/Shut)

‘Joy Luck Club,’ ‘Cabin in the Sky,’ ‘Lilies of the Field,’ ‘Grease,’ ‘Shrek,’ ‘The Dark Knight’ Among 25 Titles Selected for Preservation and Induction into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress 

Amy Tan. Photo by Lia Chang

Author Amy Tan posted her thoughts on her Facebook page

I think I am too much of a realist. I keep getting proven wrong.

I never thought The Joy Luck Club would be published.When it appeared it would be, I predicted it would be on the shelves a few weeks and disappear forever.

I thought I would get reviews that would lambast me for writing a story that had nothing to do with real Chinese people.

I thought that after it was published, I would return to my day job as a freelance business writer.

And I never thought the movie would be made, and it was, it certainly would not be a good movie, because Hollywood tends to whiten anything ethnic. (Let’s make all the daughters white). So I held off on movie offers, not wanting to see a version of a Hollywood travesty.

I never thought I would take part in making a movie. I had not desire to “take a meeting” and knew nothing about making a film. Somehow I got talked into becoming a co-screenwriter and co-producer.

When it was being made, I thought the movie would die on the editing floor, or it would never get released, or it would be shown in a few theaters and then disappear. (It went on to open wide). I thought it would not win any awards—and in that case, I was right, although I was nominated by the British Academy of Film Awards for best film adaptation.

I presumed however that whatever chance it had to win awards was over 27 years ago.

Yesterday, the Library if Congress announced that The Joy Luck Club is one of 25 films that will become part of the National Film Registry. That means there will always be a good print of it and no one has to scramble to find one that is usable. We did have to scramble for the 25th anniversary hosted by the Academy. The prints we had were off in color. Needless to say, this is a great honor, and we thank the National Film Registry for including The Joy Luck Club.

Congratulations to director and co-producer Wayne Wang, co-screenwriter and co-producer Ron Bass, and the actors who made the film come to life with emotions that came across as real—because they were.

I have a gift for them, coming soon: the audition tapes of the four daughter characters. I just found them in a dusty bin in the garage. They were stunning at their auditions. As we watched, they broke our hearts in the best way.”

Watch: THE JOY LUCK CLUB Virtual Book Club Discussion with Amy Tan, Lauren Tom, Ming-Na Wen, Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, Janet Yang and Aileen Lee 

Rosalind Chao, Tamlyn Tomita, Janet Yang, Aileen Lee, Amy Tan, Ming-Na Wen and Lauren Tom reunited this summer for a virtual book club discussion..
Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a multi-media content producer and co-founder of Bev’s Girl Films, making films that foster inclusion and diversity on both sides of the camera. Bev’s Girl Films’ debut short film, Hide and Seek was a top ten film in the Asian American Film Lab’s 2015 72 Hour Shootout Filmmaking Competition, and she received a Best Actress nomination. BGF collaborates with and produces multi-media content for artists, actors, designers, theatrical productions, composers, musicians and corporations. Lia has appeared in the films Wolf, New Jack City, A Kiss Before Dying, King of New York, Big Trouble in Little China, The Last Dragon, Taxman. She stars in and served as Executive Producer for the short independent films Hide and Seek, Balancing Act, Rom-Com Gone Wrong, Belongingness and When the World was Young. She is also the Executive Producer for The Cactus, The Language Lesson, The Writer and Cream and 2 Shugahs.

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