Chan Is Missing

Chan Is Missing is a 1982 American independent comedy-drama film produced and directed by Wayne Wang. The film, which is shot in black and white, is plotted as a mystery with noir undertones, and its title is a play on the Charlie Chan film series which focuses on a fictional Chinese immigrant detective in Honolulu. Chan Is Missing turns the Charlie Chan detective trope on its head by making "Chan" the missing person that the film's two protagonists, Jo and Steve, search for. In the process of trying to locate Chan, a fractured, even contradictory portrait of him emerges, mirroring the complexities of the polyglot Chinese American community that Chan's character allegorizes.


Jo is a taxi driver in Chinatown, San Francisco who, with his nephew Steve, is seeking to purchase a cab license. Jo's friend Chan Hung was the go-between for the transaction but has disappeared, taking Jo's money. The two men search for Chan by speaking with various Chinatown locals, each of whom has a different impression of Chan's personality and motivations. The portrait that is created is incomplete and, at times, contradictory.


    More details

    contentLocation San Francisco
    director Wayne Wang
    editor Wayne Wang
    genre comedy-drama crime mystery
    keywords end kill speak taxi driver
    musicBy Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo
    producer Wayne Wang
    productionCompany American Film Institute
    publisher New Yorker Films
    theme buddy independent noir