THE CURSE OF QUON GWON (1917)
dir. Marion E. Wong
“The first feature film made with an all-Chinese American cast and an all-Chinese American company, The Curse of Quon Gwon was written and directed by Marion E. Wong at her own Mandarin Film Company, based in Oakland, California. Offering an important counterpoint to racist depictions of Asian characters in other films of the period, the film explores western influence on traditional Chinese society and amongst Chinese American communities, suggesting Wong’s keen awareness of early twentieth-century transnational identity, as film scholar Jenny Kwok Wah Lau has observed.
Marion, who was in her early twenties at the time, also played the film’s villainess. Nearly all the actors in the movie are family members and friends. The leading role of the heroine was played by Marion’s sister-in-law, Violet Wong. Family members were also involved in other aspects of the film’s production, including costumes and finance.
Produced in 1916-1917, The Curse of Quon Gwon is the earliest example of Chinese American independent film known to exist today.”