RANDOM ACTS OF LEGACY
Directed by Ali Kazimi
Honorable Mention, Best Canadian Feature Documentary, 2016 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
Official Selection, 2016 Chicago International Film Festival
By chance, director Ali Kazimi stumbled upon hours of home movies from 1936-1951 on an internet auction site. What made this trove of 16mm Kodachrome reels so rare was that it was of a Chinese American family, and that it came with a name: Silas Fung. Kazimi got in touch with Fung’s daughter Irena, who filled him in on the images that came to life after a rigorous restoration process. The patriarch in those home movie was Silas, a musician and commercial artist living in Chicago. The matriarch was Silas’s wife Edythe, the family breadwinner who was also a pioneer in the insurance business. The little girl? That was Irena.
With commentary by historians and Fung relatives who react with surprise and nostalgia, the newly-discovered footage becomes not just an artefactual treasure, but traces of the hand of an amateur filmmaker with a sharp sense of staging and in-camera editing, as obsessed about the incessant documentation of his family as he was with his other hobby, preserving the memorabilia of the Chicago World’s Fair. Even more extraordinary is that the footage shines light on American history as it’s never been seen before: the joys and celebrations, at play, at home, and at church, of a middle-class Chinese American family in the Midwest during the Depression years. –Brian Hu
Writer: Ali Kazimi
Tina Takemoto / USA / 2016 / 6 minsA playful grammatology of Sab Shimono, an actor of stage and screen from the 1960s to the present.
Precedes: RANDOM ACTS OF LEGACY