In the dark karaoke rooms of Los Angeles’s Koreatown stripmalls, Kasie works as a doumi girl, a young hostess paid to cater to rich businessmen’s capricious whims. As she struggles to hide her sorrow through soju-and-MDMA-fueled nights, her mind is focused on one thing: earning enough tips to provide for her bedridden father. When her father’s caretaker unexpectedly quits, Kasie seeks help from her estranged brother, and the siblings are forced to reconnect and reconcile the suppressed trauma that lead to their separation.
The follow-up to Justin Chon’s award-winning debut Gook (2017), Ms. Purple (2019) digs beneath the veneer of the model minority myth and delivers an antidote to the polished onslaught of K-Pop and Korean dramas. Chon isn’t afraid to unravel the darker and complex corners of the Korean-American experience. Tiffany Chu delivers a layered performance as Kasie, navigating the fine line between desperation and determination, immersed in lush cinematic moments reminiscent of Wong Kar Wai’s In the Mood for Love and Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight.
Backed by Executive Producer and Lost alum Daniel Dae-Kim and featuring a cameo by Single Parents Jake Choi, Ms. Purple premiered in competition at Sundance and solidifies Chon as a filmmaker to watch.