Tie A Yellow Ribbon – AAMP Screening
Last week, I attended the AAMP screening of Tie A Yellow Ribbon. It would interest me to know how many people attend screenings held by OBSA or the QRC, because the audience seemed to be almost all AAMP mentors, most of who helped put on the program. As far as I know, I was the only AAMP mentee there, and there was a girl from OBSA who wanted to broaden her horizons (which I thought was awesome). The girl from OBSA (sorry, I’m terrible at names or else I would give one; I don’t want it to seem like I’m purposely labeling her as “OBSA girl” or something) talked about how all the events she had attended in the past had been through OBSA or similar organizations, and she wanted a glimpse into similar events put on by different organizations, including AAMP. She noted that she didn’t really know that much about the Asian American experience, and in the discussion after the screening, each of the other people in the room (all Asian Americans) shared some reactions to movie and how the movie reflected their experience as an Asian American, if at all, as well as what kinds of movies they would like to see made about Asian Americans.
As for the movie itself, I was somewhat blindsided by the double storyline that took place. The synopsis posted by AAMP (the short synopsis provided by the official website) led me to believe that the two storylines of the film were actually pertaining to one person, not two. The synopsis reads:
“Estranged from her family due to a childhood indiscretion with her white brother, a young Korean adoptee woman seeks to regain a sense of home by exploring ties with the Asian Americans she meets in her new apartment building, until suddenly, her brother shows up at the door, stirring up long lost feelings that she has tried to bury.
Making her feature debut, writer-director Joy Dietrich, also a Korean adoptee, introduces audiences to the world of Asian American young women and delicately addresses the abnormally high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American girls, creating a work great compassion and poetic beauty.”
I assumed that the depression and suicide among Asian American girls was related to the storyline about the Korean adoptee (not a huge leap to make, right?). However, as I watched the film, I realized there was a completely separate storyline going on there. The “depression and suicide among Asian American girls” was, in fact, part of a second storyline involving Beatrice, the roommate of Jenny (the adoptee). The Beatrice storyline somewhat dimmed my view of the movie, as I felt like it was kind of beating a dead horse – mainly, the “overworked Asian who wants to be a writer/artist/musician but whose parents expect him/her to be a doctor/lawyer/businessperson” dead horse, but also the “exoticized, eroticized Asian female” dead horse. Granted, the movie somewhat addresses the latter by making Bea’s boyfriend (who has an Asian fetish of sorts) give an extraordinarily creepy speech about Asian American women that might have had some truth in it that was negated by the fact that he was pretty much sexually harassing Jenny; the movie was purposely exploring the sexualized Asian woman. But the biggest part of Bea’s story was the “disapproving parent” storyline, which I felt was just overdone and not really exploring a new facet of Asian American life and/or culture.
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