Where was The Joy Luck Club filmed?
San Francisco (USA), China
House, Mansion, Auditorium, Church
Cape Cod, Asian, Cubicles, Victorian, Contemporary Modern
About The Joy Luck Club
Directed by Wayne Wang and featuring an all-star cast of Kieu Chinh, Tsai Chin, France Nuyen, and Lisa Lu, The Joy Luck Club is a 1993 cinematic masterpiece. Its stunning visuals and powerful story will surely leave viewers captivated.
The riveting film explores the stories of four Chinese-American women and their first-generation immigrant mothers, all residing in beautiful San Francisco. Adapted from Amy Tan's 1989 novel of the same name, director Wayne Wang and screenwriter Ronald Bass created an intricate tapestry composed of sixteen stories to illustrate how generational differences can be a source of both tension and understanding in The Joy Luck Club.
This silken film version has remained true to its bestselling namesake, making it an enduring classic for audiences far and wide.
The story focuses on the relationships between the mother and daughter pairings as they struggle to understand each other’s cultural differences. Through a series of sixteen vignettes that span generations and continents, it explores cultural conflict and the often-turbulent relationships between mothers and daughters.
Critics lauded The Joy Luck Club for its intricate representation of the complex relationship between culture, generation, gender, and identity. Upon hitting theaters in 1993, this movie was met with critical acclaim. In 1995, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) recognized this film for Best Adapted Screenplay due to Ronald Bass and Amy Tan's excellent writing.
The Joy Luck Club Locations
The Joy Luck Club employed the use of an ambitious mixture of international filmmaking locations to create an emotionally powerful story. To create a vivid tapestry for the viewers, most of the scenes were filmed in San Francisco and its neighboring areas.
Furthermore, six weeks' worth of footage was captured in China to further enhance the cinematic experience. Notable landmarks such as Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, and Fisherman's Wharf are heavily featured throughout - making it an ideal classic movie set amidst various sites around the San Francisco Bay Area including Bernal Heights.
A trip to visit The Joy Luck Club filming locations would certainly be worthwhile for any fan of the movie. Tourists can join guided tours around Chinatown where many scenes were shot, or explore San Francisco’s other iconic spots like Lombard Street and Union Square while taking in beautiful views from Coit Tower or Alcatraz Island.
The surprise party scene in Joy Luck Club
901 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
The scene in the movie is one of joy and celebration as the characters gather to celebrate June (Ming-Na Wen) and her upcoming reunion with her long-lost twin sisters in China. The apartment is brightly lit and decorated for the occasion, bearing signs of American culture as well as hints of Chinese culture - with Chinese decorations and artwork hung up on the walls.
There are photos of June's family around the apartment, and a large window allows natural light to flood into the room. The apartment scenes were filmed at 901 Union St in San Francisco County. This is a community located in a residential part of town, surrounded by cafes and restaurants where visitors can sample some delicious local cuisines.
Visitors can also find one or two stores nearby that sell traditional Chinese items like herbs, teas, and spices to give visitors an authentic feeling when they visit this iconic location.
Getting to 901 Union St takes only about a 10-minute drive from downtown San Francisco. Public transportation such as BART or Muni buses can also get you to the location. Those more adventurous souls who wish to wander through this beautiful city on foot can do so too, but it could take nearly an hour depending on where you start your journey from.
The confrontation at Chinatown scene in Joy Luck Club
Hang Ah St, San Francisco, CA 94108, USA
At the age of six, a chess-loving six years old Waverly Jong (Tamlyn Tomita) blossoms into an intrepid champion. Unfortunately for her, Lindo's (Tsai Chin) incessant bragging about Waverly's triumphs at family gatherings soon wears thin on the young prodigy.
Consequently, exasperated by her mother’s chest-thumping attitude and determined to make a point in protest, Waverly puts down her pieces and quits chess altogether. The camera pans around Waverly and Lindo as they face off against each other before Waverly decides to run away, showing both their emotions while also providing a view of the vibrant cityscape that surrounds them.
The scene from the movie takes place on Hang Ah Street in San Francisco's Chinatown. The location of this street has been carefully chosen for its visual impact, as it is a bustling area with plenty of people and activities taking place. The street is lined with restaurants, stores, and other businesses, giving the viewer a glimpse into the everyday life of the area.
Hang Ah St is located in San Francisco's Chinatown district, near Grant Avenue and Bush Street. It is easily recognizable by its bright red Chinese-style buildings and long rows of shops offering traditional goods such as herbal medicine, tea, and souvenirs.
To get to Hang Ah St from downtown San Francisco, take the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) train from Civic Center Station towards Powell Street. After arriving at Powell Street, walk up to Market Street until you reach Clay St. From there it’s just a few minutes walk until reaching Hang Ah St which will be located on your right side when facing southbound.
Harold and Lena's home interior scene in Joy Luck Club
610 Rhode Island Street, San Francisco, CA, USA
The scene in the movie occurs right after Ying-Ying St. Clair (France Nuyen) has resolved her traumas, providing a moment of relief and joy. Lena St. Clair (Lauren Tom) takes Ying-Ying on a tour of the new apartment she shares with Harold (Michael Paul Chan), her husband and boss.
While the initial atmosphere is quite jovial, it quickly turns awkward as Ying-Ying learns of their financial arrangements. Lena explains that they split the costs of their life evenly, making their home life contentious. Despite this arrangement, Harold dominates the decisions and does not take into account most of Lena's needs.
For the interiors, the scenes at Lena’s abode were filmed at 610 Rhode Island Street in San Francisco, California. This street is located in the Potrero Hill district of the city and is close to some popular tourist attractions such as Mission Dolores Park and AT&T Park. The loft used for this scene was constructed to replicate modern American living spaces, with cubicle-style walls and gleaming technologies that give off an air of luxury.
If driving from downtown San Francisco, start by heading north on Van Ness Avenue and continue onto 10th Street. Once there, turn right at the second cross street onto San Bruno Avenue. From there, make a left-hand turn onto 16th Street and then take another right until reaching Rhode Island Street where 610 Rhode Island will be just off to your right side.
Alternatively, if taking public transportation there are several bus lines (such as 19, 9) that stop on Rhode Island St & 18th St which is only 2 minute's walk from Rhode Island street.
Rose and Mrs. Jordan at the garden scene in Joy Luck Club
Filoli Historic House & Garden, 86 Cañada Rd, Woodside, CA 94062, USA
The scene in the movie where Rose Hsu Jordan (Rosalind Chao) meets Mrs. Jordan, Ted's mother (Diane Baker), takes place in the grandeur of the Jordan family mansion. This is a critical juncture in their relationship, as Rose must advocate for herself and her devotion to Ted (Andrew McCarthy) despite his mother's misgivings.
Ted's mom was speaking to Rose about how she wasn't the appropriate choice for him as a wife. Nevertheless, it was at that moment that Ted stepped forward and declared his passion for Rose. The majestic Filori Historic House & Garden served as a backdrop to the monumental on-screen confrontation.
Its grand halls and elegant decor only enhanced the atmosphere of tension between Rose and Mrs. Jordan. The estate is located in Woodside, California about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Constructed in 1915 and 1917 by William Bowers Bourn II, an heir to one of California's most prominent mining families, Filoli is considered one of America's greatest remaining country estates from the early 20th century.
Today it stands as an example of what life was like during the Golden Age of California history. The Filoli Historic House also served as the setting for several other scenes in the movie, including those of the Jordan family mansion, the Shanghai ballroom, and Ying-Ying’s child's drowning.
Filoli is approximately 30 miles south of downtown San Francisco via Highway 101 S or 280 S. Depending on traffic conditions, it usually takes about 40 minutes to get there from downtown San Francisco.
A funeral of An-Mei's mother scene in Joy Luck Club
Horace Mann School, 23rd St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
The scene at the church is an emotional one, as An-Mei Hsu (Lisa Lu) stands before her dead mother. Her mother (Elizabeth Sung) committed suicide in order to punish Wu-Tsing (Tian-Ming Wu) and ensure that An-Mei and her half-brother were respected and raised accordingly.
It is a powerful moment of realization for An-Mei as she rises to her newfound strength and sees things clearly. The Horace Mann School at 3351 -23rd Street in San Francisco provided the backdrop for the scene. It’s a historic building with an auditorium and church hall. It also features impressive architecture and tall columns standing proudly in the foyer.
If you take a bus from downtown San Francisco, get off at Mission Street. From there, you can walk for about 5 minutes until you get to Horace Mann School. Alternatively, if you drive, you need to head east on Mission Street until it intersects with South Van Ness Avenue. After that turn right onto 23rd Street and keep going straight until you reach 3351 – 23rd Street where the school is located.
June finds out about the secret scene in Joy Luck Club
Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
The scene was filmed at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a spectacularly beautiful national park just north of San Francisco. On Easter, June (Ming-Na Wen) was astounded to receive the incredible news from the club that her long-lost twin sisters were alive. The gorgeous scenery only added to the emotion of this joyous moment, with a sense of calmness and serenity in the air that truly brings out the emotion.
Located at Mill Valley, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area has served as a backdrop for several other movies and TV shows, including Mrs. Doubtfire, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and Jurassic Park. With more than 80 miles of trails running through rolling hills and rugged coastlines, it offers breathtaking views with lots of opportunities to spot wildlife.
To get to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area from downtown San Francisco. take US-101 Northbound until you reach the Alexander Avenue exit (442) and follow signs to Marin Headlands Visitor Center.
Alternatively, take the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from downtown San Francisco to Mill Valley Station in Marin County and then use public transportation from there — either a bus (route 70 or 71) or Golden Gate Transit (bus 101 or 108). For those who prefer water transportation, there are ferries departing from Pier 39 every day that will take you directly to the Marin Headlands Visitors Center.
The Joy Luck Club was an unforgettable movie with great performances, a compelling script, and an amazing concept. The film captures the beauty of relationships between parents and children and the importance of carrying on one's heritage and culture.
The cast did an exemplary job portraying the characters, from the heartbreakingly sad moments to emotional highs showing genuine love between family members. Each actor brings a different aspect out of their character that makes them stand out; this is especially true for Ming-Na Wen as June who gives us a real insight into how difficult it can be when trying to find a balance between two cultures.
Compared to other films released at the time, The Joy Luck Club tackled issues that were not commonly seen in movies then and even now.
Wang does an excellent job directing this story with his use of music, setting, and dialogue that puts you right in the middle of the action. The movie received praise for its contribution to the movie industry in terms of the representation of Asian-American stories on screen.