SXSW 2013 Review: CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CHINA

By Renee’ Collins

Rating: 4.5 (Out of 5 Reels)

Two families living side by side, but worlds apart, collide when pride and mischief inspire Chinese immigrant Tom Xia to challenge his American neighbors to celebrate Christmas without any Chinese products.  Fed up with toy and food recalls, the Jones family eagerly accepts the consumer mission-impossible and is drawn into a surprising intercultural exchange with the Xia family.  As the Joneses wrestle with the escalating influence of China in their lives and Tom struggles to get beyond the stereotypes, he realizes that he’s on a deeper journey to understand the complexities of his own divided loyalties between the US and China (SXSW).

When I read the description of this film I knew I had to see it because I thought the topic was fascinating.  Just imagine going through a major holiday without purchasing anything made in China.  I would have thought it was near impossible.  This challenge places the Jones family in a difficult and stressful position because they don’t realize just how difficult the task is until they start clearing everything from their house made in China.  That meant everything from televisions to game consoles to decorations.  All the while, Tom Xia, the Chinese immigrant who sets them on this task begins to explore his own heritage.  He and his parents moved to American when he was a child and still have relations in China whom they miss dearly.  We also experience the sacrifice Tom’s parents made to bring their son to America so he could have better opportunities in his life.

This film takes the viewer back and forth through both families’ ordeals.  The Jones’ struggle with cutting out products from China and the Xia’ struggle with their decision to move to America and all that that entails for immigrants.  This film is fascinating and well worth a look.  I would recommend this film to anyone looking at the global picture.

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