Directed by Richard Fung
Official Selection, 2016 Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival
Official Selection, 2016 Vancouver Queer Film Festival
Thirty years after he made the seminal documentary Orientations: Lesbian and Gay Asians, Richard Fung revists his original subjects to examine their trajectories as Asian Canadian LGBT activists in the decades that followed 1984. Some continue their activism in LGBT spaces, some in spaces that intersect: AIDS and medical work, anti-racism and anti-colonialism, gender equality, labor rights. Some have embarked on different professional directions – medicine, postal work – that nevertheless draw from their identities and their past political experience. Some have died. We watch as the subjects view clips of themselves 30 years ago; some laugh, some are embarrassed, all recognize the important history they are a part of.
With RE:ORIENTATIONS, Fung strings together what amounts to a dialogue between 1984 and 2016 through the subjects’ memories and self-reflection. They blush about their past boldness in seeking out sex and love, and they smile nostalgically about their youthful political energies. Fung adds another layer of dialogue too: that of contemporary Asian Canadian activists and scholars who also look at the older footage, considering the continuities to the present and identifying new trends. What all of this amounts to is nothing short of a history of LGBT Asian communities in Canada, told from those who lived it and those who are picking up where the previous generation left off. And Fung is right in the middle: an orchestrator of conversations, but also an inquisitive narrator and listener of stories. –Brian Hu