LOS ANGELES ASIAN PACIFIC FILM FESTIVAL May 8th
Highlight: (from the L.A.A.P.F.F. guide)
HAFU: The Mixed-Race Experience in Japan
HAFUis more than a mere documentary about mixed race Japanese, or so called Hafu. The film seeks to break with the “one nation, one culture, one race” paradigm which has shaped much of contemporary Japan's self-image, and makes a compelling argument for the hybrid reality of Japanese identity today. At the same time, Megumi Nishikura and Lara Perez Takagi, both Hafu themselves, render visible the hardship of those subjects who do not comfortably fit into common categories of belonging, and offer them a platform to be heard. What happens if my looks do not match my nationality, or if my language does not reflect my home country? Who defines the compatibility of subjects and their identities in the first place?
Most of the featured protagonists grew up in Japan, but cannot escape the role of the foreigner. As a Venezuelan citizen, Ed has to renew his visa every few years, despite being raised by his Japanese mother in Japan. Every time again, he is confronted with his identification as an outsider to Japanese society and the prospect of being expelled from the country he identifies both as home and hostile. Fusae is part of that same community of “foreigners within.” Part Korean and part Japanese, she appears with a strong sense of belonging at first, “I was born in Kobe, so this is where I want to work and pay taxes.” After a while, however, Fusae allows a deeper look into the traumatic experience of being mixed race in Japan and the tears she sheds reveal the inner turmoil that defines the lives of many other Hafus: of David, born to a Japanese father and Ghanaian mother, who surprised the other kids with the fact that his blood was not green, but red as theirs; of Sophia, who grew up in Australia ashamed of her bento box lunch and secretly wishing to be blond like her class mates. What all of the here depicted Hafus share, is the longing to belong. Not just to be acknowledged, as Ed puts it, but to be understood and accepted.
Synopsis written by: Feng-Mei Heberer
Screenings Wednesday, May 08 7:30 PM National Center for the Preservation of Democracy http://laapff.festpro.com/films/detail/hafu_2013#!http://asianfilmfestla2.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=561234Â