Julie Huynh | 46376331
Of the readings for queer discussion last week, the article that was probably the most difficult for me to understand was PIRATED! For me, I believe that I had a hard time through conceptualizing how the different images and visuals in the film (which, at the time, I was only envisioning through text and not because I had already seen the footage) made sense with each other. While reading it, I wondered why the filmmaker chose to highlight the production of karaoke DVDs and videos or use footage of sailors performing blow jobs. This made better sense in class, when discussing the mentality of a young boy growing up; a boy’s dreams of pirates can be innocent, the age of sexual discovery, as well as the themes behind the repetition of Hoang’s film (the boy in the sea). Bringing up the themes of rebirth and freedom was beneficial in that it allowed me to better understand the reasoning behind this type of film and creates sense among the myriad of seemingly random clips from different sources (Vietnamese music videos, pirates, etc).
Johnathan Ahn’s coming out film was very moving and sad for me because of the theme of family that the film was focused on. Watching Johnathan traverse between his personal and family life made me feel dread as the film kept progressing, because I was already feeling the pain of retaliation and anguish from a disapproving Asian family. I was bracing myself for the part where someone flips out at the discovery that Johnathan was gay, but it never came. Also more disturbing but interesting was that part where John’s dad contentedly remarked something about how it didn’t matter what the baby chose; John had been a dancer and had turned out fine. It sounded like John’s father had known about his son and was fine with it. That was the only change of direction in the film, when everything else seemed like it was built towards the suppression of John’s ability to come out.
The shower scene at the very end was very tender and intimate, which astounded me the most because I wondered how John’s parents must have felt seeing that. I usually generalize Asian families and parents to be very conservative, and I was shocked that he included that footage and I also wonder how that sort of image became understood by his parents.