black & white, Documentary | DVD | Study Guide Available
Director: Jason Kao Hwang
Grade Levels: High school & up
AFTERBIRTH poetically explores the unpredictable relationship between appearance and identity, challenging notions of cultural essentialism with a call for spiritual transcendence. A “documentary” montage featuring white, black and yellow Chinese characters, some fictional, others real, confront the meaning of language, ritual and skin color to realize a true Asian American identity. Produced in 1983, the cast includes Jack Tchen, now director of New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute; Gopal Sukhu, now chair of the Chinese Language department at Columbia University; Fay Chiang, former director of Basement Workshop, now Program Developer at Project Reach, a youth crisis center in NYC’s Chinatown; experimental media artist Shu Lea Cheang; and the director, Jason Kao Hwang, now a highly-regarded jazz violinist/composer. (see jasonkaohwang.com) AFTERBIRTH premiered at the Museum of Modern Art in 1983.