In this collection of recent Asian American film and video, experimental and documentary forms are used to explore the acts – generous, cruel and almost always compromised – that sustain and unravel families. What is passed on through blood and kinship is complicated through personal stories that negotiate history, dreams and reality in ways that make life, as refracted from these short films, both extraordinary and mundane. TRT: 97mins
Q&A with Alison S.M. Kobayashi, Yoni Brook, Musa Syeed, Imran Uddin, Agnes Moon and Larilyn Sanchez following screening.
El Paso Vietnam, Ina Adele Ray, 2002, 10mins, 16mm B&W
In Texas during the Vietnam War, a smart, sassy, Vietnamese language teacher meets her future husband before he leaves for her hometown, Saigon, as told by her daughter through interviews, old photos, and archival footage.
Dan Carter, Alison S.M. Kobayashi, 2006, video, 15mins
The domestic life and everyday relations of an unseen man are revealed through his found answering machine messages. Donning mumus, moustaches and wigs, Kobayashi enacts each call’s intents: greetings, pleads and reconciliations from friends, lovers and family. The result is a revealing glimpse of a man who is never seen or heard from, and an experiment in the limits of documentary portraiture.
Dream of Me, Agnes Moon, 2007, 10mins, video, B&W
In this textured, fractured and moving portrait, Moon attempts to imagine the sister from whom she was separated, first by adoption and then by her sudden death in an auto accident.
Black Hair and Black Eyed, Julie Wang, 1995, video, 9mins* B&W
From what sources does a young Korean American woman draw her sense of identity? From her mother, who provides the kim chee recipe and offers to pick up what she needs from the Price Club? From fashion magazines, or her own short haircut, which brings her the berating of her entire extended family? From the boy she dances with, the girl she sleeps with, or her own barren apartment?
A Son’s Sacrifice, Yoni Brook, 2007, video, 27mins
The Muslim holiday of Qurbani is the busiest day of the year for the Queens-based halal slaughterhouse owned by Bangladeshi immigrant Riaz and his son Imran. This documentary tracks the days leading up to the holiday, as 27-year-old Imran- who grapples with this identity in the Muslim community because he is half Puerto Rican- prepares to prove to his father and his customers that he is ready to take over the family business.
Balikbayan, Larilyn Sanchez, 2003, video, 5mins
In this meditation on the body, loss and migration, a daughter sends a letter to accompany her mother’s journey back home, detailing gifts both sacred and sensible for the family.
Going Home, Hung Nguyen, 2006, video, 20mins
Set against his mother’s haunting recollections of their family’s escape from Vietnam, Nguyen reveals an intimate family decision that is at once painful and redeeming for all.
Chi-hui Yang is currently a Visiting Scholar at A/P/A Institute at NYU.
Co-sponsored by: The Center for Multicultural Education and Programs at NYU.