In 1885, in the town of Eureka, the Chinese immigrants who helped build this Northern California gold mining town were violently expelled in what was known as the anti-Chinese riot of Eureka. Miida Chu’s short film, Eureka, tells that story from the eyes of a young immigrant.
Longlong (Ying Yue Joyce Chong) is an indentured Chinese prostitute whose life is run by her brothel madam, Ma (Cici Lau). When she was young, Ma locked Longlong in a crate to keep her from running, and, over time, she endured Ma’s grooming and the daily life of a prostitute servicing gold miners passing through. Eureka explores the toxic nature of this relationship between Ma and Longlong.
“…an indentured Chinese prostitute whose life is run by her brothel madam…”
The prejudice and racism against the Chinese in California during the turn of the century are well documented (look up the Chinese Exclusion Act for details). Eureka gives us a small glimpse of that time during the Gold Rush from Longlong’s perspective as she attempts to rise above her circumstance. Chong gives a very sympathetic performance as a young girl far away from home, enslaved by her own, and hated by her new homeland.
Eureka is a heartbreaking and triumphant story of one of the dark periods of California’s history.
Eureka screened at the 2022 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival.
"…a heartbreaking and triumphant story of one of the dark periods of California's history."