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Art Lovers Movie Club: Richard Fung, ‘Dirty Laundry’

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Welcome to Art Lovers Movie Club, where you’ll find a selection of artists’ videos available exclusively online at artreview.com.

‘Roger Kwong is on a trip across the Canadian Rockies. He is travelling on railway tracks originally laid in the nineteenth century by immigrant Chinese workers, including his great-grandfather. Roger’s readings into the documents of this history contain surprising accusations. These, combined with the discovery of an inexplicable photograph, and fateful encounters with a spirited, tree-planting dyke and a hunky Chinese attendant, raise unsettling questions about Roger’s great-grandfather and Roger’s own connection to the past.’

Richard Fung’s 1996 film Dirty Laundry delves into hidden narratives of gender and sexuality in nineteenth century Chinese-Canadian history, a time when Chinese communities were almost exclusively ‘bachelor’ workers (often married men separated from family in China). The anti-Chinese rhetoric of the time reviled such men as sodomites, with the few Chinese women regarded as sodomites. Later accounts purged this history of sexuality altogether. Dirty Laundry moves from a late-night encounter between a steward and a passenger on a train to documentary interviews and archival material, to ‘excavate the historical representation of outlaw sexuality’.

‘Fung’s work is positioned at the intersection of plural identities, reflecting on the artist’s roots, his sexuality and the Asian diaspora,’ writes Ren Scateni in a recent profile of the artist for ArtReview Asia. ‘In the wake of anti-Asian racism, which has flared up critically in the West during the COVID-19 pandemic, Fung’s work acquires greater relevance for the way it validates Asian lives, specifically those of the most vulnerable due to their gender, sexuality and class.’

Richard Fung, Dirty Laundry (1996)
Producer/Director: Richard Fung
Cinematographer: Kwoi
Principal Cast: Jo Alcampo, Andy Quan, T.H. Xia
Editors: Dennis Day and Miume Jan
Music: Lee Pui Ming and Jeffrey Steven

Screening dates:
Richard Fung, Dirty Laundry (1996): 8 – 30 September 2021

Previous films in Art Lovers Movie Club include Luis Roque’s Heaven, screened 18–25 March 2020; Wong Ping’s An Emo Nose (2015), screened 26–31 March 2020; Laure Prouvost’s Shed A Light (2018), screened 2–9 April 2020; Alex Da Corte’s TRUƎ LIFƎ and BAD LAND (2017), screened 9–15 April 2020; Stine Deja’s 4K ZEN (2017), screened 17–23 April 2020; Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s Fog Dog, screened 24–30 April 2020; Ivens Machado’s Versus (1974), screened 11–19 May 2020; Roger Hiorns’s BENIGN (2005), screened 15–21 May 2020; Jennet Thomas’s ANIMAL CONDENSED>>ANIMAL EXPANDED#2 (2018), screened 5–12 June 2020; Larry Achiampong’s The Expulsion (2019), screened 12-22 June 2020; Shezad Dawood’s Leviathan Cycle (2017-2018), screened 21 May–26 June 2020; Heman Chong’s Changi Airport Terminal 3 (Singapore Circuit Breaker Day 10, 16 April 2020) 4K 60 Binaural Walk 263 (2020), screened 26 June–3 July 2020; Berwick Street Film Collective’s Nightcleaners (1975), screened 3–17 July 2020; Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s We Were Lost in Our Country (2019), screened 17–31 July 2020; Grace Schwindt, Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society (2014), screened 721 August 2020; Hayoun Kwon, 489 Years (2016), screened 2–16 October 2020; Tulapop Saenjaroen, People on Sunday (2019), screened 16 October–2 November 2020; Grada Kilomba, A World of Illusions (2017-2019), screened 4–25 November 2020; Shen Xin, Provocation of a Nightingale #1 (2017), screened 15 January – 8 February 2021; Charwei Tsai, Hear Her Singing (2017), screened 8 February – 1 March 2021; Gelare Khoshgozaran, Medina Wasl: Connecting Town (2018) and Men of My Dreams (2020), screened 2 – 23 March 2021; Lu Yang, Delusional Mandala (2015), Delusional Crime and Punishment (2016) and Delusional World (2020), screened 24 March – 14 April 2021; Xiaowen Zhu, Oriental Silk (2015), screened 23 April – 14 May 2021; Alia Ali, Mahjar (2020), screened 20 May – 10 June 2021; Chris Zhongtian Yuan, Wuhan Punk (2020), screened 11 June – 2 July 2021; Alberta Whittle, HOLDING THE LINE: a refrain in two parts (2021), screened 18 June – 17 July 2021; Maya Schweizer, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Metropolis. Report from China (2004-06), screened 13 July – 3 August 2021; Chim↑Pom, Black of Death (2013), screened 17 August – 7 September 2021.

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