Saving The Far East CafeDirected by Directed by Emma Marie Chiang and Martin Peter Bustamante
Opened in 1920, Far East Cafe is one of the oldest large banquet halls remaining in San Francisco Chinatown after the shuttering of Empress of China, Gold Mountain, and New Asia. These large banquet restaurants are historically important both as an economic ecosystem employing staff who live in Chinatown in addition to being a cultural and political institution for the community by hosting thousands of Chinese wedding banquets, family association gatherings, community galas, and political events throughout its one hundred and two-year history. Challenged by a plethora of changes through the years; encroaching gentrification, labor issues, generational shifts in taste & culture, and the impact of Covid-19, we document the struggle, the resilience, and determination as Far East Cafe fights to remain open as a central space of communal belonging.
When inequality is built into every part of our urban environments, what are the rituals we need to create and protect to combat erasure?