JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS
Directed by Tadashi Nakamura
Tadashi Nakamura’s trilogy of Japanese American history (Yellow Brotherhood, Pilgrimage, A Song For Ourselves,) intertwined social justice and identity to debunk the model minority myth. His latest documentary may be his self-proclaimed least-political film, but as with his previous SDAFF-winning work, music intertwines with film and life in vibrant ways.
Young phenom Jake Shimabukuro amassed millions of hits from a single ukelele video (a jaw-dropping cover of the Beatles’ “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”) on YouTube in 2006, propelling him into the international limelight. LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS takes us from the 1990s and early 2000s, when Jake was an up-and-comer on the Hawaii circuit, to his recent endeavors, entertaining thousands in opera houses worldwide and inspiring residents in tsunami-devastated Sendai.
Nakamura with his visuals and Shimabukuro with his music collectively tell a story that complements each other elegantly, resulting in Nakamura’s best film to date. And while LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS doesn’t wear identity or politics on its sleeve, the film’s glimpse into Jake Shimabukuro’s personal journey of artistic legitimacy for both himself and the ukulele as an instrument is an underdog story that resonates as a story for all Asian Americans. –Erwin Mendoza
Producer: Donald Young
ʻĀina Paikai / USA / 2011 / 5 minsTwo men in a convenience have some words. But can anybody understand?
Precedes: JAKE SHIMABUKURO: LIFE ON FOUR STRINGS