The Chinese-Canadian urban immigrant experience, narrated by a clever pre-teen
My Name is Susan Yee, by the Academy Award-winning Canadian director Beverly Shaffer, is a beguilingly straightforward short documentary from 1975 that manages to weave a surprisingly rich set of themes into a chronicle of a young girl’s daily life. Yee, a first generation Chinese-Canadian girl, is gently precocious, frequently funny and an excellent guide through the diverse Montreal community where she lives. The film follows her about as she comments with a child’s frankness on Montreal’s weather, demographics, dramatic urban and social change, and winter leisure-time activities. She’s also an astute observer of family life and the dynamics at school, offering droll observations on her parents’ worries and witty comments about classmates and teachers. Entertaining and insightful in equal measure, this affable film breezes by as it shares the charms and complexities of Yee’s life in the city.