The Bang Straws

Elan Gamaker (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formDigital or Visual Products


The Bang Straws draws its vision from the production history of The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin, 1937) which was one of cinema’s most notorious cases of casting discrimination, with American-German actress Luise Rainer winning the high-profile lead of the Chinese farmer’s wife O-Lan. To do so, she wore racist “yellowface” as so many Hollywood actors did. Despite Anna May Wong’s talent and clear desire to play O-Lan, MGM only offered her the role of sex worker Lotus instead. While the focus on Anna is now no longer directly present, the casting discrimination she faced in 1930s Hollywood remains, alongside the violence of the casting process, a recurring motif in Williams Gamaker’s work; The Bang Straws re-casts O-Lan and reconstructs its innovative analogue VFX: filming locusts in hyper close-up, a storm sequence and locust swarm made from tea leaves.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBritish Film Institute
Media of outputFilm
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2021

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