Asian American Film and Video Prompt for Final Essay-

6-7 pages in 12 p font, double-spaced

6 pages minimum and 7 pages maxà (if you are on a roll ?)

Citations are required for the film and the reading.


***Bring in BRIEF, RELEVANT Quotations from the articles attached to the films.***

  1. The film, Saving Face, according to Jennifer Cheng is about norms of respectability– i.e.: saving face in the community. “This unfinished moment of “people will think…” and Gao’s denial of Wil’s sexuality underscores the value Gao places on appearances and her concerns about how others will perceive her daughter (and therefore her and her entire family) …” (Cheng, 5).

Discuss how despite gossip (informal conversations that reinforce gender norms), Wil, and her mother Hwei Lan must challenge narrowly defined gender norms such as the good daughter, and the good mother to find their happiness.

Citation: Cheng, Jennifer. “You talk to your Mother About Us?”: Queerness, Gossip and Chinese American Respectability Politics in Saving Face.” The Foundationalist, 3:1, 2019, 1-14.

2.The film, The Fall of the I-Hotel gives the viewer a glance into the history of early Filipino immigration to the U.S. and provides present lives of elderly Filipinos. Eve Oishi, in her article “I-Hotel”, points out that poet and community activist, “[Al] Robles interviews Frankie, one of the residents, who keeps a photo album, of the women he has known in his travels…” Robles’ narration explains that laws preventing immigration of Asian Women combined with anti-miscegenation laws prevented family life for a whole generation of Asian Americans” (Oishi 139).

With examples of scenes or statements from the film, discuss some of the struggles that Filipino men confronted in the past and what the I-Hotel means to them today. Bring in relevant quotes from Oishi’s articleß this article will be sent in pdf on Canvas.

  1. In her article, “Home is where the Han Is: a Korean American Perspective on the Los Angeles Upheavals”, Elaine Kim discusses the events of Sa-i-gu /April 29, 1992. Kim writes that for the Korean American immigrant community, “…the initiation into becoming American, … requires that Korean Americans take on the country’s legacy of five centuries of racial violence and inequality, of divide and rule, of privilege for the rich and oppression of the poor. Within this legacy, they have been assigned a place on the frontlines” (Kim, 220)

With the above statement in mind, discuss the experiences and comments of the women in the film, Sa-i-gu — their expectations about America and their feelings of betrayal.  Bring in relevant quotes from the film and from Elaine Kim’s essay, “Home Is Where the Han Is.”

  1. Commenting on the role of memory in Lise Yasui’s film, A Family Gathering, Cassandra Van Buren writes about Yasui’s journey to recover memories about her grandfather and reinstate his dignity: “…she now understands the pain associated with the war years. Not only do those years bring back memories of theft…complete upheaval, incarceration, and destruction of their family unit” (Van Buren, 14). With specific examples, discuss the portrait of grandfather Masuo that Lise Yasui reconstructs through interviews with family members. Bring in quotes from Cassandra Van Buren’s article: “Family Gathering: Release from Emotional Internment” to support your discussion of the film.
  2. Quoting Michael Salzman on Native Americans and trauma, Jennifer McMahon makes this comment: “Rather than continue to celebrate the American cowboy, The Rider sheds light on the potentially adverse impact of cowboy/rodeo culture due to its glamorization of high-risk activities, and the way it may exert a coercive appeal on individuals who lack alternative means of social recognition and income (Salzman).”

With this statement in mind, give specific examples to discuss how Chloé Zhao represents Brady’s dilemma about his life as a rider. How does Zhao delicately connect Brady’s dilemma to issues of masculinity? For example, how does Brady see himself as a father figure to Lily, a best buddy to Lane, as a skillful horse trainer etc.? Bring in quotes from Jennifer McMahon’s essay, “Cowboy, ‘Indian’, Rider: Deconstructing Dichotomous Stereotypes in The Rider.”

Explanation & Answer length: 6 Pages

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