Nitehawk is celebrating Pride Month with a trio of films honoring the LGBTQ experience, beginning June 6 with a screening of 2004’s Saving Face, followed by a Q&A with writer-director Alice Wu. While much of this independent first feature is entertaining enough, the last scenes are so much fun, so heartbreaking, and so charming that the film leaps to the next level, so stay with it. The captivating Michelle Krusiec (One World, Knife Fight) stars as Wilhelmina, a twenty-eight-year-old doctor trying to balance her career with her family in Flushing. Every Friday night she goes to the community dance, where her mother (Joan Chen) and the other Chinese yentas try to fix her up with a guy. Little do they know that she’s gay and strongly attracted to the boss’s daughter, Vivian (Lynn Chen), a ballerina dabbling in modern dance. Things get a little wacky when it turns out that Wil’s mother is pregnant and won’t tell anyone who the father is, leading to her banishment from her parents’ home and her friends’ inner circle. Suddenly Wil finds herself struggling to take care of her mother while also exploring a blossoming relationship that she hides from nearly everyone except her best friend, Jay (Ato Essandoh).
Tradition battles modern life, generation battles generation, sexual preference battles gossip and scandal, and conventional roles get turned upside down and inside out in this film-festival favorite that will leave you smiling. The Pride Month series continues June 7 with A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge and June 8 with a NewFest Brunch screening of Punks. Saving Face, which earned Krusiec a Best Actress nomination at the Golden Horse Film Festival, is also part of Nitehawk’s Representation series, which continues June 8 with Dominga Sotomayor Castillo’s 2019 Too Late to Die Young.