TO WEAVE A NAME
E Haku Inoa
Directed by Christen Hepuakoa Marquez
Official Selection, 2013 Hawaii International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2013 CAAMFest
One of the best Hawai’i films in recent years begins in New York City, where filmmaker Christen Hepuakoa Marquez wonders about her lengthy Hawaiian middle name. Christen’s lived in the continental U.S. for most of her life, arriving in Seattle with her white father after her Hawaiian mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and deemed unfit to raise Christen and her brothers. However, Christen’s Hawaiian name continued to haunt her like a long rope tethered to a distant, shadowy place. And at the end of that rope would be, inevitably, her mother, whom none of the siblings have seen in ten years.
TO WEAVE A NAME documents Christen’s journey back to Hawai’i, first with her siblings, then by herself. The mother they meet is eccentric, stubborn, a little awkward, and sometimes very difficult. But she’s mom, just decked out in Pilgrim garb and living as a near-recluse. Their reunion and attempt at reconciliation is handled with an anxious determination by Christen and her camera, and the result is exceptionally moving. But what sets TO WEAVE A NAME apart from most films about Hawaiian culture is that it refuses to romanticize the search for roots. Here, returning to one’s culture is difficult, not natural. It’s a process of research, diagnosis, mending, weaving. And it’s done not simply for the pleasure of identity but as a bold act of healing across oceans and generations. –Brian Hu
Christopher Yogi / USA / 2013 / 5 minsAn impressionistic take on a return home to Hawai’i.
Precedes: TO WEAVE A NAME