Archive for October 14, 2019

Fall of the I-Hotel: Jackie Jones, Patrick Nan, Kristine Chow

The documentary Fall of the I-Hotel by Curtis Choy was released in 1983, and it follows the story of the Manongs that lived in the International Hotel in San Francisco until their evictions. These elderly Filipino men lived in this repurposed hotel as low-rent housing in the heart of Manilatown, which gradually dwindled due to urban construction and gentrification. During the late 1960’s, the owners of the hotel began sending evictions to the residents, and in response, the community mobilized to protect these elders and prevent the destruction of the hotel. Eventually, after a long struggle, the Manongs were forcibly evicted by the police in 1977. They were not given aid or alternative housing after their evictions. The filmmaker Curtis Choy, who is notable for participating in the production of other Asian American films, spent six years producing Fall of the I-Hotel. 

In terms of filmic language, the use of black and white and color film dates the film, as color film became more accessible as time went on. The film uses a lot of medium shots, so the viewer is able to see the subject’s posture and clothing, while using a shallow depth of field to help guide the viewer’s attention on the subject. 

The first clip we are going to show depicts the disappearance of Manilatown as San Francisco gentrifies. The scene explains the issues that Manilatown faces as the nearby Financial District begins to encroach on the community. The gentrification shown in this documentary is still occuring today in places like the bay area, with other minority races as well. 

The film starts out with an audio history of Manongs, and the scene we show demonstrates the humanization of the Manongs by seeing how the residents of the I hotel live in their rooms. This makes the viewer more invested in the well-being of the residents of the I Hotel because there is a more personal attachment to them.  

October 14, 2019 at 5:56 am Leave a comment


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