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Special Collections

Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies

The lives, stories, and cultures of people of Asian-Pacific descent and Asian and Pacific locales are presented in these films and videos.  Several pieces from other collections are included in the Asian Pacific Studies collection.  These include the Asian Diaspora collection, the Call to Media Action and Call for Change series, and the Blindness Series.  For studies in Asian Pacific cultures, these titles are essential viewing.

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Alan Kondo
Producer: Visual Communications
1973, 18 min., BW, US
"All this identity thing. What is it you're looking for?" asks the elderly aunt of leading Japanese American poet, Lawson Inada. Through this intimate portrait, we explore Inada's answer to this complex question. His poetry, which deals with the multicultural experiences of Asian Americans, is interwoven with scenes from his life as he visits the Chicano neighborhood where he grew up, plays with his son, and travels through the streets of downtown Fresno, California with its graffiti, bars and Nisei Barber Shop.
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Santiago Alvarez
Producer: ICAIC/Cuba
1969, 25 min., Color
This impressionist biography on the leader of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam skillfully interweaves still photos, newsreel footage, and Ho Chi Minh's poetry. Depicting a life that spanned three revolutions, three continents, and three wars, the film charts Ho Chi Minh's progression from militant student to leader of Vietnam's revolutionary independence movement. Accompanied by a dynamic sound track featuring the music of Adelberto Galvez.
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Gurinder Chadha
1992, 30 min., Color, UK
This humorous and thought-provoking film documents the residents of a South Asian home for the elderly in Britain. Director Gurinder Chadha assists the residents in directing their own video. The result is an examination of politics, ageism, and cross-cultural communication in contemporary British society. Interview subjects range from people on the street to Members of Parliament. The film ends with the triumphant screening of the group's completed film.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
1992, 16 min., Color, US
An introduction to Kim-Trang's video series on metaphorical and physical blindness, ALETHEIA explores the interconnected issues of cosmetic surgical alteration of the eyelids, technology, language, race and gender. This video is a highly graphic examination of dominant notions of normalcy, beauty and their effects and impositions on the body. Part of the Blindness Series.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
2002, 10 min., Color, US
Alexia is an experimental video about word blindness and metaphor. Word-blindness is a condition that usually afflicts people who have suffered a stroke, causing them to lose the visual recognition of individual letters but perceive the entire word, or vice versa. Metaphor is discussed in its function to reveal and obscure perception. Divided into five short sections, the tape draws a pattern with the motif of the finger and the moon to ruminate on language and blindness. Alexia opens with a quote from a well-known Buddhist passage: 'Do not mistake the finger for the moon' It goes on to present Giambattista Vico's theory on the origin of language and Ludwig Wittgenstein's theory on aspect-blindness, and ends with an (fictive) account of Kussmaul's (who coined the term alexia) wife as she experiences word-blindness, or Alexia.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
2002, 28 min., Color, US
Amaurosis is an experimental documentary about Nguyen Duc Dat, a blind, American Asian guitarist living in Little Saigon, California. Dat was a 'triple outcast': blind, Amerasian and an impoverished orphan. Beyond their disabilities, this community of Vietnamese-Americans is oppressed on many levels: language and cultural differences, immigrant and lower income status, and societal misunderstanding and alienation. AMAUROSIS strives to present the life of one member from this unique community and promote his rich contributions.
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Michael Cho
1991, 18 min., Color
Michael Cho's biting critique on popular cultural stereotypes centers on the case of two Cambodian immigrants tried in California on charges of slaughtering their pet dog for food. Contrasting animal rights issues, cultural diversity arguments, and the unflinching testimonials of dog lovers, the use of animals typically thought of as pets for food is presented along with evidence of the thousands of animals destroyed each year in the name of science and health.
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Tino Saroengallo
2002, 43 min., Color, Indonesia
After the fall of President Suharto in May 1998, the student movement in Indonesia had to face the military/police repression in their fight for overall reform. Because of the repression and force that they encountered, the student movement itself became more violent, until eventually they challenged the military in the streets. This documentary provides gripping and inspiring eyewitness footage of some of the most dramatic clashes in the student movement history.
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Angel Velasco Shaw
1994, 19 min., Color, US
This documentary was produced in collaboration with performance artist Nicky Paraiso for his critically acclaimed multi-media performance at P.S. 122. Eleven different interviews with "Asian Boys" are intercut with images of "fish out of water" in Chinatown and footage from the Miss Universe contest in the Philippines. The interviewees’ responses to requests for childhood stories range from humorous to hostile, from genuine to satirical, and tellingly reveal their underlying ideas about race and identity.
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Sarita Khurana & Fariba Alam
2004, 45 min., Color, US
B.E.S. (Bangla East Side) is a documentary portrait of four Bangladeshi teenagers growing up in the Lower East Side of New York City. Initially started as an after-school workshop at a local high school, the film follows Mahfuja, Jemi, Saleh and Maroofa as they travel between home and school, and as they negotiate their lives as young immigrant teens in post 9-11 America.
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J.T. Takagi & Christine Choy
Producer: Third World Newsreel
1982, 30 min., Color, US
This documentary examines the re-settlement of South-East Asian refugees in the United States in the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The film begins with a montage of riveting footage depicting the devastating effects of the war. It then unveils the mixed reception given Vietnamese refugees in the United States, from battles with local fishermen in Monterey, California, to conflicts in Philadelphia where their arrival in the city's poorest neighborhoods kindled resentment in the Black community. The film also explores their struggle to cope with life in the U.
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Ben Addelman & Samir Malla
Producer: Adam Symansky & National Film Board of Canada
2006, 71 min., Color, India/Canada
Bombay provides American and British outsourcing firms with access to well-educated, English-speaking youths eager to get ahead and willing to sacrifice almost anything to do it. For their efforts, they are paid more money than their parents ever dreamed of earning. And they spend it frequenting a new brand of all-night discos that cater to their unusual office hours. In BOMBAY CALLING, filmmakers Ben Addelman and Samir Mallal dive into this bustling world of late nights, long hours and hard partying. The result is a compelling insider's look at youth culture in India and at the growing number of young people who choose to follow the American dream.
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Va-Megn Thoj
Producer: Third World Newsreel Workshop
1996, 9 min., Color, US
This semi-autobiography traces the maker's birth on a secret CIA military base in the hills of Laos to his anti-war college years during the Persian Gulf War. Mixing archival footage, family photographs and dramatization, Thoj looks at how his life life has been controlled and his identity shaped by the war into which he was born, and finally links his personal history to Hmong history under French colonialism and during the American wars in Laos.
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Diana S. Lee & Grace Yoon-Kung Lee
1995, 29 min., BW, US/South Korea
A gritty look at the camp towns surrounding U.S. military bases in South Korea. This documentary follows Yon Ja Kim, a charismatic 50-year-old former sex worker through American Town, a government subsidized entertainment district for U.S. airforce personnel. Now a missionary devoted to aiding sex workers and running a daycare center for fatherless children, Ms. Kim takes the audience on a journey into her own past.
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Amy Chen
2001, 57 min., Color, US
This documentary brings to the public, for the first time, a story that was classified as secret by the US government for over four decades. Exploring the roots and legacy of the Cold War on the Chinese American community during the 1950s and the 1960s, it presents first hand accounts of seven men and women's experiences of being hunted down, jailed and targeted for deportation in America. During McCarthy era witch-hunts, the loyalties of over ten thousand American citizens of Chinese descent were questioned based on their ethnicity and alleged risk to national security.
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Scott Haynes & Fumiko Kiyooka
1985, 26 min., BW
A synthesis of documentary, dramatic, and experimental styles, this film follows two women recollecting their personal and familial experiences from World War II. One woman recounts the story of an aunt from Hiroshima whose father had been a member of the peace party when the militarist government forced its way to power. Exiled from Japan, they were then interned with Canadians of Japanese descent. The other woman recounts the details of her experience as a young nurse on the morning of August 6, 1945.
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Edward Wong
1999, 26 min., Color, US
COMRADES is a personal documentary essay about two men who took part in the violent socialist struggles of the mid-20th century, only to face resistance and disillusionment. The producer's father, Yook Wong, joined the communist revolution that swept through China in 1949. A generation later, a man named Alex Hing founded a group in San Francisco called the Red Guard, modeled after the communist youth in China. But in the end, the revolution didn't turn out the way anyone expected. Asian-American Studies/History.
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Kaizad Gustad
1994, 48 min., Color
Although he feels trapped working in his uncle's corner store in Little India, Rahul dreams of someday making it as a blues musician. A real black blues musician. Now if only he can overcome his Bombay accent, nagging relatives, immigration papers, infatuation with a blues singer, and hold a tune long enough to avoid being thrown out of every audition he might just make it.
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Kevin Lee
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2005, 12 min., Color, US
A restaurant owner beaten. A policeman fired. A 20 year subway conductor born in the U.S., threatened with job loss: All for wearing the signature turbans of their religion, Sikhism. Since 9/11, hate crimes and job losses have plagued the Sikh-American community, whose religion originated in India, and is not even Islamic. In response, the NYC Sikh community has organized to confront the bias and attacks, through legal suits, pressure on city officials and proactive public education. An excellent introduction to an often misunderstood religion and the success of community activism.
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Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Producer: Democratic Peoples' Republic of Viet Nam
1968, 20 min., BW, Vietnam
This film demonstrates the crucial role that Vietnamese women played in the war. It focuses on the attempts made during the war to achieve the total participation of women in production, education and combat. It shows the new methods of cooperation developed by women in the areas of agriculture, defense, child care and other essential activities of daily life. (Vietnamese sound track; text translation upon request, however, this film relies mostly on visuals.)
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Balvinder Dhenjan
1996, 46 min., Color, US/UK
Shot in Chicago and London this energetic documentary follows three very different Punjabi bands and their attempts to use their music as a bridge between the competing cultural influences of India and America. They face and deal with racism, discover both Desi sex and Desi sexism, look for role models and confront politics, history, religion, and their own multiple heritages.
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Barbara Hammer
2000, 85 min., Color, Japan/US
DEVOTION investigates the extremely complex and hierarchical relationships among a loyal group of filmmakers who dedicated up to 30 years making films for one man--Ogawa Shinsuke. These heartbreaking and sometimes funny stories have never been told on film before. Rare footage, stills, and diaries from archives as well as interviews with Oshima Nagisa, Hara Kazuo and Robert Kramer make this historical inquiry visually exciting and valuable.
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Kit-Yin Snyder
2003, 26 min., Color
A poetically inspired documentary, exploring the conflicts and contradictions of the "cultural statelessness" experienced by a first generation Chinese-American immigrant. It uses a series of first-person reflections and observations examining her passage from young Chinese girl to middle aged American woman. The film exposes the pushes and pulls of how she has come to understand the differences in customs, social values and traditions between her Chinese past and her American present. The film is narrated in a personal essay style that is at times anecdotal, seriously provocative or when appropriate, even humorous.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
1998, 23 min., Color, US
"I came across a New York Times article about a group of hysterically blind Cambodian women in Long Beach, California, the largest group of such people known in the world. Hysterical blindness is sight loss brought about by traumatic stress with little or no physical cause." This tape delves into two histories: the history of hysteria and of the Cambodian civil war. It examines the ascendant quality of personalities that survive great trauma and loss and looks at how individuals normalize experiences and histories of "unassimilatable" pain.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
2006, Color, US
How can we make visible the invisible? How can we "see" our lost loved ones? In EPILOGUE, Vietnamese-American filmmaker Tran T. Kim Trang looks for answers to these questions in the audio recordings of her dead mother, the handwritinng of the late French philosopher Jacques Derrida and the ultrasound photos of her newborn baby. Finding no ready-made answers, Tran invites us to reflect about life and death in this moving video essay about motherhood and mourning. EPILOGUE is the eight and final installment of Tran's THE BLINDNESS SERIES.
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Corinne E. Manabat
Producer: Corinne E. Manabat
2008, 15 min., Color, US
We all go through transitions in life, whether it's a career change, or moving, but for Davina Wan, hers has been very extreme - from the gang life to a "normal" life. Excuse My Gangsta Ways is a visual poetic documentary portrait on Davina Wan, a Chinese American woman, who was a former gang member from the 1990s Lower East Side. With interviews from her grandmother and godfather, we will take a look at the person she was and the person she has become, where fate and inspiration endure. A TWN Workshop production and part of the Call for Change Series.
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Yau Ching
1993, 38 min., Color
FLOW is a multi-layered investigation of contemporary political, cultural and psychological dislocations. Interweaving interviews with image processing and a critical and formally flexible use of the documentary genre this tape questions of "identity", "nationhood", and "multi-culturalism".
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Kim Jin Yoel
Producer: PURN Productions
2005, 99 min., Color, South Korea
A fascinating documentary about one of the little known legacies of the Korean War (1950-53), FORGOTTEN WARRIORS tells the stories of women guerilla fighters for North Korea who were captured, held for many years in South Korean jails - then released. Remaking their lives, assessing their past - and still socialist ot the core, this film profiles the characters and lives of these amazing women.
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Steven C. Ning
1983, 48 min., Color, US
This is a story of Joe Soo, a 13-year-old boy coming of age and coming to terms with his Chinese America heritage in Boston during the 1960s. His Boston encompasses Screamin' Jay Hawkins, the Kennedy years, "My Three Sons" and rock 'n' roll. It is a world his older brother has readily embraced and one his immigrant father fails to comprehend. An excellently executed drama, full of streetwise humor and insight.
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Sari Dalena
2002, 12 min., Color, US
A critical look at the proliferation of the mail-order bride industry in Asia and its representations of Asian women in the West.
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Christine Choy
Producer: Third World Newsreel
1976, 50 min., Color, US
This raw, gutsy portrait of New York's Chinatown captures the early days of an emerging consciousness in the community. We see a Chinatown rarely depicted, a vibrant community whose young and old join forces to protest police brutality and hostile real estate developers. With bold strokes, it paints an overview of the community and its history, from the early laborers driving spikes into the transcontinental railroad to the garment workers of today.
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Bob Miyamoto, Drawings by Betty Chen
1982, 6 min., Color
An animated film told through a young girl’s eyes, it combines the drawings of Betty Chen and haunting music of Nobuko Miyamoto to tell of 110,000 Japanese Americans incarcerated in U.S. concentration camps during World War II.
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Michael Sandoval
2002, 9 min., BW, US
Pummeling abag, a young Filipino-American fighter forges a space for himself in Queens, New York City -- a house dominated by the sermons of his minister father. Beneath the surface of this unspoken truce lie questions about religion, violence, responsibility and the meaning of being a man.
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Jeong-hyun Mun
2008, 89 min., Color, South Korea
When director Mun accidentally discovered the diaries of his late granduncle, who was mentally ill, he unexpectedly learned about his family's secret history. The small mountain village in South Jeolla Province where Mun's family lived, was nursing the wounds from conflicts of class, ideology as well as from the displacement of family members in South and North Korea, and even in Japan. It turned out that the history of his family contained all the tragedies of modern Korean history, a history he had only known through textbooks. This interesting documentary investigates a complex history linking the repercussions of Japanese colonialism and the Korean War to the director's family memories.
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Santiago Alvarez
Producer: ICAIC/Cuba
1967, 40 min., BW
Filmed in Hanoi on December 13, 1966, this documentary records the lives of people in the Vietnam capital and surrounding countryside at the height of U.S. bombing. Their daily activities are presented in a collage of images: building irrigation ditches, planting rice, fishing, weaving...life continued despite the shower of U.S. bombs. During these air raids, the people formed armed self-defense units so efficient that the life of the nation was not interrupted.
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Celine Salazar Parrenas
1994, 17 min., Color, US
Ten years after immigrating to the United States, three Filipina sisters move out of the family house and open a sari-sari (corner) store. On Christmas Eve their family meet in the store and share stories about their longings for home, before taking off to work the graveyard shifts at their various jobs. The film portrays the conflicts between the immigrant and U.S. born generations while recasting memories of loss and relocation.
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ManSee Kong
Producer: TWN Production Workshop
2008, 7 min., Color, US
Illustrates the effects of gentrification in Manhattan’s Chinatown as an elderly man and fellow tenants in endangered single-room occupancy building await the results of an anti-eviction lawsuit. A TWN Workshop production and part of the Call for Change Series.
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Duane Kubo & Robert Nakamura
Producer: Visual Communications
1980, 90 min., Color, US
This poignant drama chronicles the contributions and hardships of Japanese Americans from the turn of the century to the late seventies. This history is told by Oda, a feisty Issei--one of the elderly bachelor laborers living in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo. Veteran actor/director Mako leads a veteran cast of Asian/Pacific American actors and actresses including Pat Morita, Sachiko and the East-West Players, in this first feature film made by and about Asian Americans.
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Third World Newsreel
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2001, 6 min., Color, US
A recent string of hate crimes in the months following September 11th is set within the historical context of jingoism and nationalism in the United States.
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J.T. Takagi & Christine Choy
Producer: Third World Newsreel
1991, 56 min., Color, US/Korea
They speak the same language, share a similar culture and once belonged to a single nation. When the Korean War ended in 1953, ten million families were torn apart. By the early 90's, as the rest of the world celebrated the end of the Cold War, Koreans remain separated between North and South, fearing the threat of mutual destruction. Beginning with one man's journey to reunite with his sister in North Korea, director Takagi and producer Choy reveal the personal, social and political dimensions of one of the last divided nations on earth. Written by playwright David Henry Hwang, HOMES APART was also the first US project to get permission to film in both South & North Korea.
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Gurinder Chadha
1989, 30 min., Color, UK
This unique look at Asians in Britain offers first-hand views of second generation Asians, adding archival footage and invigorating Bhangra and Bangla music--traditional Punjabi songs updated with hip-hop and house music influences. From Manchester rooftops to embattled Belfast and the Welsh hills, Asians discuss the importance of expanding "Britishness" to include all kinds of cultural identities. They present different view-points on the roles that race and cultural identity play in their own lives and in British society as a whole.
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Mabel Maio
1998, 48 min., Color, Argentina
The Japanese who have settled in Argentina since the end of the 19th century came for many reasons: wanderlust, good farming, and even a love for tango. Japan Across The Seas weaves together the tales of the old and the young, the Japanese-born and the second-generation, to tell the history of the migrations that led to the establishment of Japanese-Argentine communities in Misiones, Buenos Aires, and Cordoba; of their struggles to balance their identities; of the discovery and maintenance of Japanese culture; and of their attachment to Argentina.
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Prem Kalliat
1990, 25 min., Color
This video offers a profile of a transsexual and her community in the Indian city of Bangalore. It provides a unique insight into the lives of Hijdas, a society of eunuchs numbering in the tens of thousands who have thrived in India for centuries. The Hijdas work as prostitutes and are a close-knit group who live and work communally. Jareena, who assumes the role of a man when she visits her family, explains this duality and how the Hijdas helped her form her identity and assert her true self.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
1994, 17 min., Color, US
The third installment in the series opens with two women who are blindfolded and making love. This visually lush and erotic exploration of blindness investigates questions of desire and power, empowerment and sexuality and AIDS/HIV as symbolized by the sense of sight.
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Santiago Alvarez
Producer: ICAIC/Cuba
1967, 20 min., Color
This Cuban film focuses on the history of foreign intervention in Laos, first by France and then by the United States. It shows how the liberation forces of Laos, under continuous U.S. bombing, were able to run an entire society in hidden caves and tunnels. Through the leadership of the Pathet Lao, they organized schools, cultural activities, clinics, as well as political and military activities literally underground.
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Sandeep Ray
1994, 45 min., Color
This moving documentary follows the filmmaker's cousin's imminent departure from India to pursue studies in the U.S. Torn between familial and national loyalties and her desire to travel and experience profoundly personal freedoms this film captures one young woman's embarkation into the world outside what she has known.
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Jason DaSilva
2003, 80 min., Color, US
Through critical lenses, this film explores a lesson that history has forgotten in a country that is alienating its citizens and violating their basic rights. During World War II it was Japanese-Americans, now it is brown skin, Muslims and people of Arabic and South Asian descent. Can America survive this perpetration of gross injustices yet again? This documentary follows the events post-9/11, examining the roundups and racial attacks that continue to occur in the name of national security. The film contains stories told by individuals who have felt the severity of wartime racism in America and explores the sullied past in the hopes of creating lessons for a different future.
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Kimberly Saree Tomes
1998, 18 min., Color
Tomes' pseudo-search for her roots as a Korean adoptee takes her from her adoptive father who works in bio-engineering (genetically creating the world's juiciest tomato) to the adoptive relationship between Dave, the founder of Wendy's, and KFC's Colonel Sanders. This wry and ironic tape moves swiftly between pop-culture quotes and today's conventional wisdom on the relationship between genetics and identity. Consistently unbalancing the viewers' expectations with its comic visual juxtapositions, Looking for Wendy is finally a highly contemporary take on the complexities and contradictions of the search for the authentic self.
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Siraj Jhaveri
1994, 30 min., Color
When your parents hate each other -- how do you learn to love? This award-winning, personal chronicle's the relationship between the filmmaker's Muslim father and Hindu mother --exploring their forbidden relationship in India, their elopement and eventual separation. Jhaveri interviews his reluctant subjects in the United States and travels to India to try and unfold the conditionalities of love and commitment.
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Aparna Talaulicar
1999, 30 min., Color, US
"Maid to Stay" is the story of four South Asian Women domestic workers in New York. Elizabeth has been sent back to India because her employers discover she's been talking to a women's group about how badly she's being treated. Shahida has escaped from trouble back home in Bangladesh and cannot return, but longs to do so. She doesn't like the work or being in the U.S. but must stay on. Nahar has been in exploitative work situations and now organizes other women like her. Gurbachan has fought and won legal battles against her former employers.
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Bibo Liang
2001, 60 min., Color, China
MARRIAGE is an intimate portrait about the intersecting and antagonistic relations between generations and institutions. Filmed in 1997, it traces two sides of one mountain in a remote village in Southwest China. A matchmaker named Zhang attempts to unite two families while guiding them through six formal rituals for marriage that date back over 2000 years. What is at stake in the negotiation of the dowry is not merely the money involved in this inter-family transaction, but the "saving face" that is constitutive of social status in their communities.
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Liu Xiaojin
2000, 120 min., Color, China
Since the time of the Qing Dynasty, villagers of Xiaotun have performed a folk opera in which all the actors wear masks. Known as the “Guansuo Opera”, its performances were suspended during the Cultural Revolution, and its script was burned. In 1980, through the approval of the local government, it started to perform again. “Mask” records the various antagonisms and attitudes amongst villagers, performers, village and county officials, local cultural researchers and filmmakers. More significantly, it reveals the cultural confrontation between “the observed” in the village and the filmmaking crew.
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Camilla Benolirao Griggers/Sari Lluch Dalena
Producer: Kawayan Films
2002, 57 min., Color, US/The Philippines
In the decade following the Spanish-American War, more Filipinos were killed by US troops than by the Spanish during the 300 years of colonial rule. More than 1 million Filipinos died between 1899 and 1913. This experimental documentary about the Philippine-American War of 1899 combines archival photographs and turn of the century film, digital video and 16mm footage to create memories of a forgotten history. A contemporary Filipina-American narrator weaves this complex history through historiography, experimental documentary and intercultural cinema.
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Christine Choy, Worth Long, Allan Siegel
Producer: Third World Newsreel
1984, 120 min., Color, US
This is an intimate portrait of life in the Mississippi Delta, where Chinese, African Americans and whites live in a complex world of cotton, labor, and racial conflict. The history of the Chinese community, originally brought to the South to work on cotton plantations after the Civil War, is framed against the harsh realities of civil rights, religion, politics, and class in the South. Rare historical footage and interviews of Delta residents are combined to create this unprecedented document of inter-ethnic relations in the American South. A Third World Newsreel production.
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Anita Chang
1997, 14 min., Color
Along with optically-printed home movie and hand-processed Super-8 film footage, the filmmaker incorporates an interview with her mother about immigration, motherhood and spirituality, in search of strength from her mother. The rawness of the interview speaks to the tenuousness of oral history. The film traverses various auditory terrain--young daughterhood, a recurring dream, the interview, and the current state of daughterhood, while the visual treatment offers texture, identity and direction to this journey.
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Herman Lew
1992, 30 min., Color
A lighthearted but poignant story about a second generation Chinese American teenager named Conrad. Living in New York City's Chinatown, Conrad's attraction to a local Italian girl clashes with the cultural forces of his family as well as with the urban environment of his neighborhood. This is a story about life, love and learning how to dance.
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Terrance Grace
1994, 52 min., Color
Internationally renowned actor Naseeruddin Shah stars in this poignant drama of an Indian ex-patriate living in a small American town. The film paints a portrait of a man struggling to re-invent himself. As memories of a home and family left behind seep to the surface, the collision of the old and the new world forces his life into a critical turn, and an act which could destroy both worlds.
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Angel Velasco Shaw
1992, 50 min., Color
A Filipina's exploration of the Catholic Church and 400 years of colonialism in the Pacific region is woven in a montage of images, sounds, stories and performances. Inspired by Lucy Reyes, a woman who has been re-enacting the Crucifixion for 16 years by being nailed to across. The video looks at the implications of worship, national, cultural, and personal identity.
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Gurinder Chadha
1990, 11 min., Color, UK
Set in the London home of an Indian family on the morning of their daughter's wedding, this film is a wry depiction of one of the most central of Indian traditions -- the arranged marriage. As the young Hindu bride, Meena, changes into her bridal sari, her divorced friend, Sita, helps with her clothing and her resolve. Together, the two women examine their different life choices -- Meena's decision to marry the "perfect" choice for her parents both clashes with and compliments Sita's choice to end her marriage.
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J.T. Takagi & Hye Jung Park
Edited by Dena Mermelstein
2003, 60 min., Color, North Korea/US
While this tiny state on the divided Korean peninsula is continually demonized in the U.S., few have any first hand knowledge of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. What is it like on the other side of the 38th parallel? How do Koreans in the North view this past decade with the fall of Soviet communism, natural disasters that brought famine and power shortages, and a continued, dangerously hostile relationship with the U.S.? What are the concerns of the Korean American community--many of whom have family in the north? This documentary follows a young Korean American woman to see her relatives, and through unique footage of life in the D.
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Mickey Chen & Ming-Hsiu Chen
1997, 50 min., Color, Taiwan
The first public gay wedding in Taiwan has stirred up considerable controversy, including a local campaign to ban this film. It tells the story of Yosheng and Gary, the first gay couple to have a public wedding in Taiwan. Their wedding was held in conventional Taiwanese fashion: a wedding banquet with friends and family and even the mayor of Taipei as the promised wedding moderator.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
1997, 21 min., Color, US
The latest tape in Kim-Trang's eight tape series on metaphorical and physical blindness Ocularis: Eye Surrogates addressing issues of surveillance and technology that allow us to see what we normally can not. Through a 1-800 number publicized nationally, recorded messages were collected of the callers’ fears and fantasies about video surveillance. The video highlights several narratives around video surveillance: a teenage babysitter watching pornography, a racist elementary school bully, a church leader attempting rape -- not to re-iterate the conventional privacy argument, but to engage in a consideration of the desire to watch surveillance materials --the desire to watch something go wrong.
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Tran T. Kim-Trang
1993, 14 min., Color, US
A visit with seven cosmetic surgeons specializing in eylid alteration, this piece juxtaposes text with consultation footage. OPERCULUM is revelatory of both the medicalization of race and the authority with which it continues to assert its ideology.
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Richard Fung
Producer: Gay Asians Toronto
1985, 56 min., Color, Canada
More than a dozen men and women of different Asian backgrounds speak frankly about their lives as members of a minority within a minority. They speak about coming out, homophobia, racism, cultural identity and the ways that being gay and Asian have shaped who they are. Active in Canadian lesbian and gay organizations, the Asian community, the women's movement, unions, the arts and human rights work, their commitment and outspokenness challenge the stereotype of passive Asians.
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Adele Pham
Producer: Adele Pham
2008, 16 min., Color, US
Two half Vietnamese documentary filmmakers, both named Adele, weave a shared narrative of mixed Asian (hapa) experiences through interviews with 7 other mixed race subjects. History, memory, and anecdotes on multiracial ethnicity are represented through archival images, super 8 film, verité, and interview.
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Newsreel
Producer: Newsreel
1969, 40 min., BW, US
This newly restored film records the mobilization and participation of the Vietnamese people in their country's fight against colonialism and foreign military aggression. Moving beyond the perception of the Vietnamese as victims, the film investigates a society fully committed to national liberation. It details their long history of resisting the U.S. military as well as their struggles to overcome the French colonial legacy of economic underdevelopment.
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Dong-won Kim
Producer: PURN Productions
2003, 149 min., Color, South Korea
In the spring of 1992 documentary filmmaker Dong-won Kim met Cho Chang-son and Kim Seak-hyoung, two North Koreans arrested by South Korean authorities years before. Convicted of spying for the North, they were incarcerated and spent thirty years as political prisoners. These men, and many others like them, underwent conversion schemes in prison that involved torture: those who renounced their communist beliefs were released from prison early. The others, known as "the unconverted," served their full terms. None could return home to the North, however, until the turn of this century, when tensions between North and South eased significantly.
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Konrad Aderer
Producer: Third World Newsreel Call for Change
2005, 11 min., Color, US
As part of the Homeland security measures, immigrant men from 25, mostly Muslim countries were required to enroll in a Special Registrationprogram. The result: no evidence of terror, but some 13,000 people are now being deported mostly for expired visas. The Alams were among the many families who believed that voluntarily participating in the Special Registrationwould show their loyalty. Instead, they face the prospect of breaking up their family, despite a decade of hard work and the raising of two children. Working with DRUM (Desis Rising Up and Moving), the Queens South Asian activist group, the Alams have become activists, organizing to fight for their right to stay.
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Shelton Ito
Producer: Third World Newsreel Workshop
1992, 5 min., Color, US
The Goong Hay Kid is the fictional Chinese rapper created and played by Alvin Eng. ROCK ME, GOONG HAY combines hip-hop styling with a forceful protest against stereotypes.
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Bibo Liang
2001, 60 min., Color, China
In an area south of Chengdu, a quickly evolving metropolitan city in the remote high mountains, lies the home of the Moso people, an indigenous ethnic minority in China. In 1943, Xiao Shuming, then a high school girl in Chengdu, was taken against her will by a Moso headman all the way to Lugu Lake to be his concubine. After 54 years of living with his tribe and having raised two sons and two daughters, this 70 year old woman finally succeeds in sending her granddaughter back to Chengdu, the "civilized world" from where she came.
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Arthur Dong
Producer: DeepFocus Productions
1983, 14 min., BW
This intimate document of Dong's mother's life is essential viewing for those who want to understand more about Asian women who immigrated to the U.S. from China. Through home movies, family snapshots, and rare archival footage, it weaves a loving tapestry of his mother's efforts to build a new life in America. "I'm just a sewing woman," says Zem Ping Dong. But as a Chinatown garment worker, she single-handedly brought her entire extended family to America in an era of tight immigration quotas. SEWING WOMAN earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Documentary in 1984.
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Veena Cabreros-Sud
1994, 4 min., BW
The repeated image of an encounter on the street between a young Filipino man and woman grows increasingly threatening as male and female voice-over articulates the moment? sub-text. Set to the beat of bhangra house and ragga hip hop this tape is a metaphoric look at the issues around violence, self-hatred and community.
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Ricardo Lobo
2003, 50 min., Color, US
THE SISTERS OF LADAKH is an inquiry into the feminine vision of Buddhism. Filmed on location in Ladakh, on the Himalayan border between India and Tibet, this one hour documentary features stunning photography and compelling testimonies of Tibetan nuns. THE SISTERS OF LADAKH documents their daily activities in an intimate and candid way, encompassing both their religious practices and the interaction with local communities. The nuns also discuss the condition and role of women in Buddhism, the current efforts to overcome gender prejudices and the challenges that lie ahead to build a compassionate world both at the local and global levels.
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Soh-Young Kim
2000, 93 min., Color, Korea
This documentary traces the trajectory of a Korean diasporic community in the former Soviet Union. Placed in internment camps by Stalin during World War II, the plight of a generation of Korean-Russians was documented in secret by the artist Shin Sun-nam, whose epic painting 'Requiem' has only recently been made public.
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Ming-Yuen S. Ma
1995, 50 min., Color
Working in collaboration with a diverse group of artists, writers, performers and musicians, many of them queer and Asian, Los Angeles-based media artist Ming-Yuen S. Ma has created a promiscuous montage inspired by and including gay porn, kung fu movies and TV cooking shows. Ma irreverently assesses the debate on positive/negative images, representation of sexuality and pleasure, sexual practices in the age of AIDS and their impact on queer Asians.
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Roddy Bogawa
1991, 72 min., Color, US
SOME DIVINE WIND (a reference to the Japanese term Kamikaze, or “divine wind”) tells the story of Ben, whose father was part of a U.S. bombing mission that destroyed his Japanese mother’s village—and killed her entire family—during World War II. Although his father discovered this horrible coincidence upon meeting his wife after the war, he keeps the realization secret. When his father has a breakdown and confesses his tragic story, Ben is torn between his love for his parents, his feelings of betrayal, and his own fervent efforts to assimilate
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Gil Gavreau
2003, 25 min., Color, Canada
In 1923, the Canadian government passed the infamous Exclusion Act, which barred all Chinese immigration to Canada for 24 years and required all Chinese-Canadian citizens to carry an identification card. Jean Lumb was one of those Canadians, and this documentary is her story. Jean worked much of her life to have this law changed, and in 1976, she was the first Chinese-Canadian ever to receive an Order of Canada. In 1995 irony and life came full circle for Jean Lumb when she became a citizenship judge, swearing in new Canadian citizens.
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Pooja Rangan
2006, 9 min., Color, India/US
In 2005, 8 feet of rain fell in Bombay, India in one day. This poetic piece highlights the resilience of the impoverished neighborhoods of this ancient city that were most affected, and how people survive and thrive, despite the lack of government assistance.
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Kevin Lee
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2001, 4 min., Color, US
A closer look at one of the most historical neighborhoods near the World Trade Center finds a variety of personalities, viewpoints, and perspectives. Those who live and work in New York City's Chinatown describe how their community has been affected since the attacks.
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Organization of Asian Women
Producer: Organization of Asian Women
1991, 55 min., Color, US
Through archival photographs, oral histories and folk songs by Nobuko Miyamoto, this video weaves the history of 200 years of Asian women's experiences. It begins with early Asian immigration to the U.S. from China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines and progresses to the 1950s.
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Vivek Renjen Bald
1996, 49 min., Color, US
This documentary focuses on the lives and dreams of South Asian immigrant taxi drivers in New York City. Combining video and taxi-driver interviews and the personal narrative of the second-generation bi-racial, Indian-American video maker, TAXI-VALA looks at the complexities of migration, displacement, economic empowerment and the pursuit of the elusive "American dream" within New York's growing South Asian communities.
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Pat Lau & Don Miller
Producer: Visual Communications
1973, 10 min., Color, US
This award-winning short film follows Tony, an active ten-year-old Chinese immigrant as he describes adjusting to an American school. Tony describes his first impressions of "strange new classrooms", as the film journeys with him through Los Angeles. A Visual Communications Production, this film was funded by the Office of Education Emergency School Aid Act.
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Ming-Yuen S. Ma
1993, 21 min., Color
The first in a series by the artist addressing Asian/Pacific Islander Gay experiences, this multilevel narrative explores sexuality, identity, tradition and personal recollection through gay Asian storytelling.
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Anita Lee
1996, 20 min., BW, Canada
An innovative drama that explores the unique relationship between two Korean-Canadian women. Grace, a second generation feminist academic, and Hyang-Sook, a recent immigrant from Korea. Grace is the translator for Hyang-Sook's immigration interviews and finds herself facing a moral dilemma-- is translating a lie an act of lying itself? The conflict is played out in Grace's psychic lanbdscape. In a role as a kiseang, a female court prostitute of 15th century Korea, she finds herself engaged in a mysterious poetry (sijo) competition with Hyan Sook dressed as a nobleman.
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Christina Choe
2000, 25 min., Color
TURMERIC BORDER-MARKS is an experimental documentary set in modern Seoul, Korea, where an intersection becomes two stories of migration, globalization, hybrid identity, cracked mirrors and turmeric (a yellow spice powder). A young Korean-American college student voyages back to the motherland where she meets South Asian migrant workers. These parallel stories illuminate and question our assumptions of identity and culture, as well as power and resistance. Through interviews, poems, super-8 imagery, and a bizarre Bangladesh wedding scene over a speaker phone, we witness a changing world, and a twist to the word "post-modern".
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Janice Ahn
2006, 8 min., Color, US
In the months prior to 9-11, an Afghan woman named Samira Rahman narrowly escapes from the Taliban, losing her family. After settling down in Long Island and beginning a new family, Samira is taken away by Homeland Security agents in the middle of the night. Her husband Abdul, who runs a coffee cart in South Ferry, and their two young boys await news of her fate.
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Angel Velasco Shaw
1998, 28 min., Color, Phillippines
A kaleidoscope of the filmmaker's impressions of current events from the Centennial commemoration to recent elections and their relationship to the past one hundred years of Philippine struggle. In a series of montages, the filmmaker asks people from the markets to malls questions about what a hero means, who their heroes/heroines are, what they think of the centennial celebration, and what they think the role of women is today. Within this contemporary context, bridging history to today, the filmmaker explores the absence of women in history from a more personal perspective, searching for the stories of her female ancestors--archival photographs depicting the Philippine Revolution, Philippine-American War, and images of society's heroes.
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Me-K Ahn
1995, 18 min., BW, US
"undertow" is an experimental short film which explores how the loss of family and culture can affect one's body consciousness and sexuality. It juxtaposes one adopted woman's reconstructed search for her birth mother (through a bleak urban landscape towards a phone booth) with the attempt to connect mind and body. Through multi-layered incorporation of text, dramatic and documentary footage, voice-over body movement, the internal challenges of crawling back into a murky past are revealed. "undertow" represents the pain and struggle of fighting against the forces--or currents (the undertow)--which seek to trap us and prevent us from knowing ourselves.
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Jessica Woodworth
1999, 18 min., Color
URGA SONG is a lyrical cine-poem portraying democratic Mongolia from the perspective of young artists residing in the capital city of Ulaan Baatar. Poetic imagery of stark landscapes, dramatic cityscapes and the community of avant-garde artists in Ulaan Baatar is accompanied by the voices of a choreographer and a painter who eloquently address freedom, democracy and the relationship between art and politics. Raised under a Soviet-dominated socialist regime and then confronted with societal upheaval when democracy and capitalism were embraced, these sensitive individuals grant the viewer an invaluable perspective upon the challenges of post-communism.
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Jeong II Geon
Producer: PURN Productions
2006, 45 min., South Korea
Spurred by the US government's plan to expand military bases in Pyeongtaek city, a war is being waged against the farmers of the South Korean village of Daechuri. In this joint effort by the South Korean and US governments to grab land that these farmers worked on for decades, schools and homes were destroyed, elderly women beaten, and thousands of police surrounded the village and enclosed it with barbed wire. This affecting documentary takes a look at the villagers and their struggle - and their difficult decisions on whether they can continue to stay and fight.
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Robert Nakamura
Producer: Visual Communications
1974, 37 min., Color, US
Lyricism and visual beauty are evident in this film as four Issei (first generation Japanese Americans) describe a collective history through their personal memories. The filmmaker paints the canvas of their lives with lush imagery and testimonies of hardship and racism on both personal and institutional levels. In a moving scene, several Issei talk about the World War II evacuation, and in one pilgrimage, three generations pay tribute to the memories of those whose lives were forever imprinted with their experiences at the Manzanar concentration camp.
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Yun Jong Suh
Producer: Third World Newsreel
2001, 12 min., Color, US
This short is a poignant and revealing document of the thoughts, hopes and fears of Muslim, Arab-American and South Asian children in the milieu of a country calling for war and unconditional compliance after the events of September 11th. Anxiety gives way to determination and perseverance as each of the children refuse to submit to popular sentiment and prejudice.
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Gurinder Chadha
1994, 19 min., BW, UK
What do you call an Indian woman who's funny in 20th Century Britain? A British performer? A Black comedienne? An enigma? This humorous and comedic documentary, brings the laughs and dreams of four Indian women cabaret performers while posing the questions: What is comedy and who defines it? Is it culturally specific, or can anyone enjoy the joke? Who makes it into the mainstream and why? Does comedy always have to come from a white perspective in Britain to be taken seriously? What -- ultimately, do you call a funny Indian woman?
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Shu Lea Cheang
1991, 300 min., Color
As video camcorders become more widely distributed in Asia, video makers have become active protagonists in the social and political changes taking place in the region. This series of tapes from five different parts of Asia offers a window on these movements. Each one hour tape illustrates Asia's struggles for freedom of expression and democracy from the perspectives of regional video makers, artists and activists: "Until Daybreak" (Korea); "A Legacy of Violence"(The Philippines); "The Generation After Martial Law"(Taiwan); "Only Something That is About to Disappear Becomes an Image" (Hong Kong); "Presenting River Elegy" (China).
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Fruto Corre
1990, 5 min., BW
A satiric look at U.S. intervention in the Philippines, using a half-Eartha Kitt, half-Imelda Marcos look-alike and television footage to represent the bizarre relationship between s.
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J.T. Takagi & Hye Jung Park
Producer: Third World Newsreel
1995, 60 min., Color, US/South Korea
Documenting the lives of women who work in the South Korean military brothels and clubs where over 27,000 women "service" the 37,000 American soldiers stationed in the most militarized region of the world, The Women Outside follows their provocative journey from the outskirts of Seoul to the inner cities of America. A testament of endurance and survival, it raises questions about U.S. military policy, South Korean government policy and their common dependence on the sexual labor of women. The Women Outside is a film that challenges the U.S. military presence in Korea, and the role women are forced to play in global geopolitics.
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Jyoti Mistry
1997, 20 min., Color
This provocative short film explores women's power, force and passion through an enigmatic series of images, erotic performances and tableaux vivant. Beautifully shot, it references as well as recreates a trajectory of images of women throughout history. Moving from the slow, thoughtful effect of allegorical painting to the fast paced impact of MTV, Yoni plays with the structures of stylization, narrative and montage. There is a poetic and lyrical feel to this film's investigation of representing the feminine and it manages to explore both the chains that bind as well as the threads that connect women --across time, culture and history.
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Democratic Republic of Vietnam
Producer: Democratic Peoples' Republic of Viet Nam
1969, 25 min., BW, Vietnam
Art, dance, music and poetry became a vital necessity for the liberated areas of South Vietnam in their daily efforts to survive the bombings and napalming of the Vietnam War. In this moving film, teenagers in the NLF liberated zones make beautiful puppets from the remains of downed U.S. warplanes. They work their puppet shows in dramatic ballet form. Armed with these puppets, they travel through the countryside, performing for village children even as U.S. planes circle overhead. [ English Voiceover]
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