Our friends at Chatham Square Library are hosting a new “Chinese in America Film Series,” devoted to exploring the diverse stories of those with Chinese heritage. First up in the series is the documentary Reunification (2015), directed by Alvin Tsang. They write:
When his mother and two siblings first emigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles in the early 1980s, six-year-old Alvin was forced to stay behind with his working, and consequently absent, father. Spending the following three years often alone in an empty apartment, he longed for his family’s reunification. However, upon Alvin and his father’s arrival to America, that dream was utterly and permanently shattered under circumstances the filmmaker has yet to fully comprehend to this day.
Reunification is Tsang’s poetic and self-reflexive exploration of many unresolved years – poetic in its wonderfully articulated narration and in its restraint as he grasps for any semblance of explanation. Backed by an achingly beautiful score, the film moves moodily across different channels and modes, bending into labor histories and Hong Kong’s colonial trajectories, wading in the mire of nostalgia, grief, and confusion that is his past. And in his search for answers, 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. –Brandon Yu
Reunification screens on Saturday, September 17, 2016, 2 p.m. in the Community Room (3rd floor) at Chatham Square Library (33 East Broadway). The filmmaker, Alvin Tsang, will be in attendance for a Q & A after the free screening.