THOUSAND PIECES OF GOLD
"A genuine triumph. Independent in the best sense of the word, Thousand Pieces of Gold gives us the Old West through a piece of candle-lit silk, hardship diffused through tears and smoke. This is classic Western filmmaking."
- Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times
Set in a mining town in the 1880s, Thousand Pieces of Gold is based on the classic novel by Ruthanne Lum McCunn with a screenplay by award-winning filmmaker Anne Makepeace (Tribal Justice). Upon its release in 1990, the film won immediate acclaim for its portrayal of the real-life story of Lalu (Rosalind Chao), a young Chinese woman whose desperately poor parents sell her into slavery. She is trafficked to a nefarious saloonkeeper in Idaho's gold country. Eventually Charlie (Chris Cooper), a man of different ilk, wins her in a poker game and slowly gains her trust. Way ahead of its time, the film resonates even more powerfully today in the era of #MeToo.
Nancy Kelly became a victim of prejudice against women directors within the American film industry and was never offered another movie to direct in spite of extraordinary reviews from critics, some of whom compared her talent to that of John Ford.