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The Princess of Nebraska






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Sasha (Ling Li) is part of the new youth generation of China, unbeholden to traditions and history, always trying to find themselves in the present moment. An exchange student in Nebraska, Sasha is pregnant after a one-night stand with Yang, a young man she knew briefly in Beijing. He was a “nan dan,” a male actor who specializes in female roles in the Beijing Opera. She departs for San Francisco, where she plans to get an abortion.

Boshen (Brian Danforth), a Caucasian American, who had an affair with Yang while living in China, takes Sasha in, hoping to persuade her to keep the child. However, Sasha is determined to do what she pleases – it’s her body, it’s her future. She wants to explore the new options open to her.

Sasha soon meets X, a bar hostess who reminds her of Yang, and they entertain a group of businessmen in a private karaoke room. Later she spends the night with X. Throughout, Sasha is text-messaging Yang, who never responds. She also creates a video diary with her cell phone which is intercut throughout the narrative. Along with her yearning for freedom, she also longs for connection.

At an ultrasound appointment, Sasha she sees the life growing inside her and something in her countenance changes. Boshen has talked to her about setting up a family, a new kind of family. Perhaps she will make a different decision after all.

Sasha leaves the clinic and watches a parade. In the final sequence, she is by herself, in a large empty room, lip-synching to the plaintive song by Antony and the Johnsons, “Hope There's Someone,” which begins “Hope there’s someone/Who'll take care of me/When I die, will I go.”


Director Wayne Wang
Cinematography/Co-Director Richard Wong
Screenwriter Michael Ray
Based on the short story by Yiyun Li
Editor Deirdre Slevin
Producer Yukie Kito
Producer Donald Young
Executive Producers Yasushi Kontani, Taizo Son, Stephen Gong


Sasha Ling Li
X Pamelyn Chee
Boshen Brian Danforth
James Patrice Lukulu Binaisa


Date for DVD release subject to change.