Films: a) Breathin’: The Eddy Zheng Story, b) Marion Wong’s story, c) Mississippi Masala
For discussions leading to mid-term assignments, I suggest, we focus on the following questions–perhaps, they all are inter-related:
1. Asian-American identity in cinema: what makes an Asian-American film? (made by Asian-Americans only or can we include films on Asian-Amercians made by non-Asian-Americans, for example?) What is really at stake? Identity and authenticity? (We discussed the problem of identity and authenticity in several sessions, so this should be helpful.)
2. How do we associate Asian-American forms of identity with the problems of immigration and survival in cinema? Is it enough to survive or must one learn to live the prejudices and fight against them? Should we all become social justice warriors regardless of one’s affiliation and status? Do you know of any such story? Share, please!
3. Is the treatment of Eddy Zheng in “Breathin'” an anomaly or a common occurrence? This was and still is a brilliant question to ponder. Thanks to Peter, Andrew, Marion, Mike, Gemma, and many others for raising this question in different forms in the last class.
4. Is there a way to think about Angela Davis’ essay on the PIC as relevant to other experiences? Can you please reread the essay and bring home the salient points?
5. If you were to undertake a media project on one of the community identities and issues, how would you frame the narrative? Where would you direct your focus, literally and cinematically?
6. If you were to write about the problem of PIC, what are the possible narrative strategies especially in relation to the essays and articles you have read? Would you base your views on interviews or historical archives or critical writing or data alone? Justify.
7. Can we think of non-mainstream strategies and tactics for countering the narratives of power? Is any of the film doing any such thing?
In each of these questions, you are free to pick and choose, of course. You are also welcome to interlink one question with the other if you so choose. Also, you are welcome to add more questions here.
And finally, I will try and put the names of the other films you might as well watch later tonight.