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One Way, or “the Other”: Asian American Film and Video

Wednesday, December 12, 2007
7:30 p.m. Fresh Kill
Shu Lea Cheang (U.S., 1994)

A red smudge of smog lingers over Manhattan as adverts from the GX Corporation assure us that all is well. Below the smog, near Fresh Kill, the world’s largest garbage heap, live Shareen (Sarita Choudhury, Mississippi Masala) and Claire (Erin McMurtry), a lesbian couple making their way in a pre-apocalytpic land of environmental decay and consumer ecstasy. Written by Jessica Hagedorn, the ever-iconoclastic Filipina novelist, Fresh Kill is an amalgam of post-mod machinations involving rampant TV screens, toxic sushi, exploding ethnicities, glowing pets, and multinational abductions. In search of their missing daughter, Shareen, a salvage artist, and Claire, a waitress at the Naga Saki sushi bar, meet up with an underground of activist hackers who let loose their “eco-cybernoia” insurgency. Edited with the frenzied feel of channel-surfing and driven by a searing score by Vernon Reid from Living Colour, this is a seriocomic screed proposing a new future, strikingly cynical, kaleidoscopically cool, and multi-culti without tears.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Jessica Hagedorn. Photographed by Jane Castle. With Sarita Choudhury, Erin McMurtry, Ron Vawter, Karen Finley. (80 mins, Color, 35mm, From Shu Lea Cheang)

Preceded by short:
It Is a Crime (Meena Nanji, U.S., 1996). Nanji uses footage from mainstream British and Hollywood films and a poem by Shani Mootoo to explore the ways in which the image industries have distorted culture. (6 mins, Color, Mini-DV, From Video Data Bank)

• (Total running time: 86 mins)