Sunday, April 13, 2008

Response: Sa-i-gu

First of all, I was very interested to view Sa-i-gu, as I had not heard a lot about the influence of the Watts riots on Korean Americans. However, while I found the personal interviews the three producers conducted interesting and engaging, I didn't feel that I had gained a broader understanding of how the riots affected Korean Americans as a whole. These narratives, while poignant, were highly personal and left me wondering to what extent I could generalize these women's impressions. In light of this, I worried that the effect of the film would merely be to elicit sympathy and not to inspire a deeper understanding.

That being said, I was impressed with the analysis of the situation offered by the women interviewed. I think it would be easy for the victims to misguidedly take this as an excuse to hate all black people, but none of the women interviewed seemed to do so. On the contrary, their reactions seemed to indicate a more complicated understanding, and hence a more interesting one.

Even so, in the end I'm still not sure what to make of this film, and I seemed to sense similar reactions from others. I look forward to discussing/reading what other people thought.


Lucy Lou said...

I had some of the same apprehensions after watching the film. The race relations of that time and place were obviously far more complex than three women could explain using their own personal experiences... and the documentary even began with the disclaimer "These women speak only for themselves."

I (also?) question how effective a "documentary" this is, though, since it seems to focus mainly on the personal stories and gives little background information and objective insights into the events (though since it was made so soon after the riots, it might have been a more widely-known event at the time). Compared to Monkey Dance, which seemed to offer many more insights into the lives of Cambodian-American adolescents and how they dealt with their cultural heritage, Sa-i-gu seems to be merely a spontaneous reaction to what was happening then and there. The filmmakers seemed to even admit the spontaneous nature of the film when they said they made it with no money and borrowed equipment.

Melissa said...

I was reading over my post and I realized that I typed Watts riots when I meant to say LA riots. I guess I just wasn't thinking. Sorry for any confusion.