Wayne Wang’s double exposure

Shuttling between independent and studio pictures since helming 1993's successful "The Joy Luck Club," Wayne Wang has seen his latter career marked by a distinct duality of purpose. It's no surprise then that the filmmaker recently chose to shoot two divergent low-budget movies back to back, then release them almost simultaneously as companion pieces.

Making the gentle and heartfelt "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," opening Friday in L.A., followed by the brash, more experimental "The Princess of Nebraska," premiering online on YouTube on Oct. 17 (youtube.com/ytscreeningroom), had its risks, both practical and artistic, harking back to such other notable Wang pairings as "Chan Is Missing" (1982) and "Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Heart" (1985), flip-side views of San Francisco's Chinatown; and 1995's Brooklyn-based art-house hit "Smoke" and its immediate follow-up, "Blue in the Face."

Nonetheless, the director's latest efforts represent a much-needed creative U-turn after helming an uneven string of big-budget studio films, including the Jennifer Lopez hit "Maid in Manhattan" and the more disappointing "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "Last Holiday."

(LA Times)


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