‘Minari’ panel showcases unique Asian American experiences

A screening of the Oscar-winning film Minari and the ensuing roundtable on October 7, highlighted the experiences of students of Asian descent.

“What does it mean to be part of communities? Said panelist David Kim, MCAS ’23. “Like in the movie, a lot of people are trying to fit in, to assimilate, but I feel like it feels different to everyone. The diverse experience of what it means to be a part of [the Korean] community, I think, is something more highlighted.

Minari is a semi-autobiographical film surrounding a Korean-American family’s new relocation to rural Arkansas in the 1980s. They are seemingly worn down by the hardships they faced when parents, Jacob and Monica Yi, moved in. for the first time in America. The film begins with the family moving from California to a mobile home in Arkansas in hopes of starting a Korean produce farm that would take advantage of the growing Korean immigrant population in the United States.

The plot follows a family who, while struggling to make ends meet, maintain and express their Korean culture and heritage through playful and tragic memories on the farm.

Director Lee Isaac Chung Minari is a demonstration of resilience that is not isolated from the collective experiences of many Asian immigrant families. The film emphasizes the key values ​​of family love, tolerance and strength in the face of adversity which represent an ideology shared by many immigrants.

Prior to its screening, Assistant Professor of International Studies Ingu Hwang, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of International Studies Erik Owens, and Professor of English Christina Klein briefly discussed the importance of film within the independent film industry. and many Korean communities around the world.

“I think Minari is both a big and a small film, ”Klein said of the commercial success of Chung’s independent creation. “I think Minari is best understood as a short film … [and] cinematographer Lachlan Milne turned his budget constraints into a positive aesthetic style.

Kijun You, the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Boston, also spoke at the screening to reflect on the growing international attention to Korean culture, including its cuisine, music and cinema.

“It is indeed truly inspiring to see that, overcoming language and cultural barriers, Korean films have been widely recognized by global audiences… the film seems familiar, yet inspiring. [and] difficult at the same time, ”he said.

At the end of the film screening, audience students were able to discuss how the film spoke to them and the importance of portraying the experiences of Asian Americans in mainstream American society. Panelists Kim and Daisy Wong, both MCAS ’22, shared their experiences of educating immigrant families, from the little ways their parents and grandparents had to realizing the arduous sacrifices their families made for give them a chance to have a better life. .

“I found [Minari] report[ed] a lot to my own experiences, ”Wong said. ” Grandmother [in the film] has a very fundamental role in the family. She instilled in them a sense of resilience, ”Wong said.

The screening helped students reflect on bright moments and memories amidst the greatest struggles and struggles in the lives of Asian immigrants to America.

“As the grandmother says in the movie, the minari is a leafy vegetable known to be able to thrive in places where most other plants can’t,” You said. “I think it can be seen as a parallel. A symbol of the fact that throughout history Korean immigrants thrive even in the midst of the most difficult conditions. It is a symbol of hope and courage.

Featured Imagee by Léo Wang / Staff of Heights

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Hector Hedgepeth

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