CINEMA: Concentration Camping

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Hitler had concentration camps: we had American-Japanese internment camps. Roosevelt Ok’ed it. Nixon, albeit 35 years later, apologized for it. Come and gone? I think not. Family Gathering is Lise Yasui’s opus which depicts her family’s experience in an American-Japanese internment camp. Yasui’s family left their internment shrouded in mystery for years as she was growing up. And so, Yasui’s curiosity to penetrate the taboo precipitated the production of this film. “I intended to make a straight-forward historical film that explored the political and social pressures that led to the internment,” Yasui said. Historical accounts in general, however, can be static and removed to the palate of the public; so to put sterile statistics into a palpable context, Yausi fashioned the film to address Japanese-American internments on a personal level, showing how myriad lives affected individually constitute one of America’s most heinous periods. Furthermore, Yasui asks what is left in the wake of 120,000 Japanese-Americans placed in internment? Does the American government still foster suspicions toward its erstwhile enemies? And what of America’s inhabitants of the same ethnic descent? Should they be trusted? All of these questions are grist for mill as Yasui profiles her family from the inside out as internees, and illuminates impact on American foreign policy that endures today. — AARON STELLA

Family Gathering will be playing at the Painted Bride on 230 Vine Street at 2:30 pm Sunday November 16th

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