Bottom 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2002 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Bai Ling, Treach, Will Yun Lee, Kristy Wu, Kieu Chinh, Tina Chen

Non-Cast Credits

Bertha Bay-Sa Pan, Alexa L. Fogel, Joseph Infantolino, Jonathan Shoemaker, Derrick Tseng, Oren Moverman, John Inwood, Gary Levy, Teresa Mastropierro


Face, the extraordinary debut feature by Bertha Bay-Sa, transports us into a world seldom portrayed on screen: that of multiple generations of Asian American women blazing individual paths. Queens, New York, 1977: At a raucous Chinese wedding banquet, Kim, an ambitious girl on the brink of adulthood, rolls her eyes as her mother and uncle tease that she'll be the next one down the aisle. But she has other ideas.

Unfortunately, however, just as she's about to embark on a career, Kim gets pregnant by an arrogant rich boy and, following Old World custom, is forced to marry him. Shaken and miserable, she abandons the baby, leaving her to be reared by Kim's mother. Twenty years later, that baby, Genie, is a streetwise yet vulnerable chick, loyal to the grandmother who raised her, but unwilling to be constricted by Chinese traditions. When Kim resurfaces from Hong Kong and Genie falls in love with an African American DJ, all three women must confront a painful past and an uneasy present.

Bai Ling (Anna and the King), Kristy Wu (What's Cooking?) and Kieu Chinh (The Joy Luck Club) deliver superb, truthful performances that capture subtle, yet weighty, gestures traded among family members. Treach (of Naughty by Nature) is charming as the sensitive, stereotype-defying boyfriend. A buoyant hip-hop score and vibrant palette mirror Genie and New York City's sparkling vitality. Never succumbing to easy resolutions, Face is a rare, emotional film about the changing face of American immigrant families as each generation moves one step farther from the old country.


Caroline Libresco (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.