Tyrus: The Tyrus Wong Story

77 min. Pamela Tom, dist. by Good Docs, www.gooddocs.net. 2017. DVD $129; acad. libs. $349; streaming/DVD $559. Public performance. ART-GENERAL
Tyrus Wong, who died in 2016 at the age of 106, was a Chinese-born American artist who practiced in a variety of media, from greeting card illustration to kite-making. He is best known for his work in the film industry as an artist for Walt Disney and Warner Brothers. The film effectively showcases his talents as well as primarily focusing on the racism he experienced during his career. At the Disney studios, Wong made a major impact with his paintings that became the inspiration for Bambi (1942), but his work was improperly credited; he was later fired for his participation in the Disney animators' strike. He went on to a better atmosphere at Warner, where he enjoyed a 26-year career as a storyboard artist. Film clips, illustrations, and home movies are intermixed with interviews with Wong, his daughters and colleagues, and art and film historians.
VERDICT A fascinating and well-made documentary of interest to artists, art and film history enthusiasts, and students of Asian American and popular culture studies.

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