Film poster for "A Tale of Three Chinatowns" with three Chinatown locations.
Film poster for "A Tale of Three Chinatowns" with three Chinatown locations.
The history, evolution and challenges faced by Chinatowns in three American cities


Regular price $559.00


OFFICIAL SELECTION - DC Asian Pacific American Film Festival | OFFICIAL SELECTION - Boston Asian American Film Festival

Urban Ethnography • Chinese American Studies • Sociology • Urban Development and Gentrification

Date of Completion: 2021 | Run Time: 85 minutes​​ | Language: English with Cantonese, Mandarin & Taishanese subtitles | Captions: Yes | Includes: Transcript | Director: Lisa Mao | Producers: Penny Lee & Lisa Mao

 A TALE OF THREE CHINATOWNS explores the survival of urban ethnic neighborhoods in three American cities: Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Boston. Through the voices of residents, community activists, developers, and government officials, the film looks at the forces altering each community and the challenges that go with them, including the pressing issue of urban development and gentrification.

Educational Media Reviews Online | Patrick Crowley, Special Collections and Metadata Librarian, Southern Connecticut State University
"This film is highly recommended. Beyond its immediate and obvious use to Asian American Studies programs, I feel that this is the kind of documentary that would be useful for institutions with Urban Planning and Political Science strengths and could be crucial viewing in lower division coursework on American History and Cultural Studies. I also feel that this documentary could fit very appropriately in an advanced middle or high school class."

Liz Cheng | WGBH General Manager
“The film does an extraordinary job positioning how fragile the current Chinatown in Boston is. It has to be more than the community itself that wants to preserve it. A film like this is very important to get the word out that the public needs to join the fight for its future.

Tristan Au | The Eagle, American University
“This is an extremely important film that shines a light on the histories and experiences of Chinese Americans in these cities.”

“Gentrification is an ongoing problem, and people across communities must learn to support each other in the preservation of cultures that are currently at risk.”

Vivian Wu Wong, History and Social Sciences Dept. | Milton Academy

“A Tale of Three Chinatowns provides an insider's view to communities that have sustained the Chinese immigrant experience and elevates the voices of residents, small business owners and activists. Compelling and accessible, this film was an excellent choice for my high school's celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”

Tim Sieber, Profesor of Anthropology (Retired) |  University of Massachusetts Boston

“A Tale of Three Chinatowns is a beautifully done, multidisciplinary, and comparative look at the history and development of three of America’s notable Chinatowns – Boston, Washington DC, and Chicago. The film offers deep and complex portraits of these enclaves created in response to long-standing racism, exclusion, and segregation experienced by Chinese and later wider Asian arrivals; as sites for these beleaguered yet proud communities’ steady development of cultural and social capital; and, as crucibles for creative, heroic organizing, solidarity building, and cultural affirmation in resistance to the pressures of globalization, gentrification and displacement engulfing their respective cities and locations.  A rich mix of Interpretive, specialist voices offer strategic first-person, direct commentary on history, culture, politics, and change in these remarkable neighborhoods. A Tale can serve as a valuable documentary asset to courses in many fields, such as ethnic studies, US urban and immigration history, or urban studies more widely, cross-cutting classes in many disciplines.”