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Directed by Eric Byler
Produced by Lisa Onodera
Written by Eric Byler
Based on the novel "American Knees" by Shawn Wong
Starring Chris Tashima
Allison Sie
Kelly Hu
Ben Shenkman
Autumn Reeser
Joan Chen
Music by Michael Brook
Cinematography Rob Humphreys
Stacy Toyama
Edited by Kenn Kashima
Distributed by IFC First Take
Running time
110 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Americanese is a 2006 film by Eric Byler based on the novel American Knees by Shawn Wong, concerning the relationships of a man and woman of Asian descent in the United States.


The film was written and directed by Eric Byler, adapted from the novel, "American Knees," by Shawn Wong. It was produced by Lisa Onodera, who optioned the book when it was first published in 1995. The film had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival (SXSW) in 2006, where it won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature and a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Ensemble Cast.[1] In October 2006, IFC Films acquired the film for distribution, under their IFC First Take distribution arm,[2] which will release the film on a "day-and-date" platform, which will include a limited theatrical release accompanied simultaneously with a video on demand (VOD) broadcast premiere on Comcast cable.


Raymond Ding, a middle-aged Chinese American college professor, and Aurora Crane, his younger Hapa (half-Asian) girlfriend, have just split, but continue to drift in and out of each other's lives. Unable to fully let go, Raymond visits the apartment they once shared, during the day while Aurora is away. Aurora is haunted by flashbacks of moments from their relationship. Encouraged by their best friends to move on, Raymond and Aurora each begin new relationships. Aurora dates Steve, a Caucasian man closer to her age (and also her best friend's ex). Raymond dates Betty, a Vietnamese American colleague, who he soon discovers is haunted by her own past. Race and identity issues begin to surface as Raymond and Aurora try to start new lives, but remain drawn to their past.


Film festivals[edit]



Critical reception[edit]

Americanese was met with generally positive reviews. The film has a score of 67% with a certified "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 9 reviews.[3]

Acclaimed Film critic Roger Ebert from the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film 3 1/2 out of 4 stars and wrote of the film, saying "Byler deals with characters who have lived their years, learned from them, and try to apply their values to their lives. Their romances are not heedless but wary, and involve a lot of negotiation," and finished by calling the film "...uncommonly absorbing."[4]

Kevin Crust of the Los Angeles Times in his review stated that Americanese had "Fine, understated performances and the self-assured way that Byler lets the film find its own rhythms, rather than setting into some template, result in a mature film of subtle complexity."[5]



  1. ^ a b c d Americanese wins at SXSW on IndieWire
  2. ^ Americanese acquired by IFC on IndieWire
  3. ^ "Americanese". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Americanese". Roger Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Crust, Kevin. "A modern love story". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  6. ^ 2006 SIFF Award winners on Alternative Film Guide

External links[edit]