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Film: Reunification

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Jane Shen
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Film: Reunification

In this deeply personal award-winning documentary film that gives an insider view on the contemporary Asian American immigrant experience, divorce and family psychology, and the personal filmmaking process, filmmaker Alvin Tsang reflects on his family’s migration from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, fraught with betrayal from his parents’ divorce, economic strife, and communication meltdown between parents and children. This poetic exploration of many unresolved years moves moodily across different channels and modes, bending into labor histories and Hong Kong’s colonial trajectories. Tsang turns the camera on his own family, cautiously prodding for answers, but fully acknowledging that the only closure he can get will be from deciding for himself how to move on.

This documentary movie won Special Jury Prize at San Diego Asian Film Festival; Fest screenings at Queens World, Hong Kong Independent, DC Asian Pacific American, HK Contemporary, Pineapple Underground; Screenings at Maysles Cinema, New York Public Library, Queens Library, AAARI

I took my high school students to the film screening event and met with Alvin Tsang. Alvin Tsang is a graduate of UC San Diego’s Visual Arts department, where he also began his film career as an editing assistant for That’s My Face (2001), an award-winning film by Thomas Allen Harris (director, Through a Lens Darkly) exploring the mythical African “face” found in Brazil, East Africa, and the U.S. Tsang edited Josiah Lee’s Handling the A.M. (2006), a short film about the absurdity and falsity of Asian American stereotypes, and Robert E. Holley’s HIV/AIDS awareness film, Love Me Through It (2008). 

When we came back from the film screening, I had my students filled in the attached reflection sheet. Then we also had an hour discussion about the movie reflecing the immigrant life of their own. Many students could resonate the story in the movie to their own lives. As immigrants, no matter what culture back ground they had, there are so similar strugglings to survive and to succeed in this new country.