Horror films

I think it’s interesting how violence against women gets translated to thrill when put in the genre “horror”. It would be interesting to find out the history of the horror film genre.

I must say either I missed something or am not understanding something in class, but the clips of horror movies we watched stirred up some very uncomfortable feelings in me. What was happening? Although I knew everything was staged, deep down I know that these things actually happen to people on a more regular basis than what the movie industry or some audience think. women experiencing and surviving violence is not uncommon. We need to give a deeper analysis of what is happening in films and what they are doing to the audience.

For the future, it would be helpful if trigger warnings were given ahead of time. on a more positive note, this class has opened my eyes to many different genres of film that I wasn’t previously aware of. Its helpful to see women on screen, but representations and depiction of characters are key factors in sustaining ideologies that may disempower (or empower in some cases) characters that represent actual peoples.


barrier device

I like short films. But I really like Barrier Device because it featured Asian American women without flattening their identities and multiple complexes. It brings Asian faces and bodies on to the big screen without simplifying representation and expanded the scope of femininities rather than singularizing experiences.

Although in mainstream media, Asian American representations lack depth and complexity, artist groups and individuals are utilizing non traditional media and exercising creativities in drama, comedy, music, spoken word, and more.

notable Asian Americans in the media includes Jujubee, Far East Movement, fashion designer Jason Wu, who have gained widespread publicity through their success in RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Michelle Obama’s wardrobe, respectively. There have also been recent movements and pushes for celebration and awareness in Asian American arts, including the Chicago Asian American Jazz Movement, the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and Asian Improv Arts Midwest. There are also notable independent artists on the rise. Natalise along with others like Jhameel and Yuna have been able to reach a wider audience and even garner international support with the help of Youtube.

Some lgbtq Asian American spoken word or performance artists include Kit Yan, Kay Barett, Kareem Khubchandanee, Fawzia Mirza, and more. They can all be found on social media platforms, and their work add diversity to depth to the material that is available for viewers who enjoy media arts.

Tale of the Night Fairies

Tale of the night fairies follows the stories of sex workers working in urban areas in India. The interviewees share their ideas on uplifting the sex worker communities that are usually demonized by the mainstream public. The interviews demonstrate a lot of strength and wisdom in their negotiations with identities and hostility that may come from neighbors or the police. The film also documents the sex worker carnival, where men and women come together to celebrate this profession that has been around for thousands of years.

I wanted to ask the filmmaker more about the inclusion of the interviewee who refers to themselves as “one of the boys”. Would more conversations on their gender be included if the filmmaker had more time and/or budget? What is their experience being someone who works in a field that is predominantly biological female sex workers?

The women shared about triumphant moments where they resisted policing from the government and the general public. Through peaceful protest, demonstration, educational workshops, carnivals, and outreach to community members by community members, the sex workers were able to expand the scope of their identities to be recognized as educators and professionals areas they have done activism in.

women in struggle

while watching Women in Struggle, I was trying to align the stories they were sharing to their body language and facial expressions. The women who were interviewed shared (what I interpreted as) a mixture of resilience and numbness. Through their interviews one can see their strength but also vulnerability. each revolutionary had their own story and what they did that was criminalized by the Israeli army. It is inspiring to see the role of women in national liberation movements instead of only male figures and voices.

Im interested in seeing the role of children in these revolutionaries’ lives. One of the interviewees said that adopting her child became life changing. What was it that happened for her when her son entered her life?

What is the role of art in the war? For people who are/were a part of the movement, did art play a role in sustaining their efforts and/or hold communities together? I read a book that contained pictures of art on The Wall and it records people’s angst and frustrations towards the war but att he same time celebrated life and the value of being alive.


Women and Violence

Throughout this semester I’ve found the idea of women, guns and violence highly interesting. In many of the films we’ve seen I found a reoccurring theme of women or individuals, who weren’t born naturally violent– but were made that way due to circumstances. I find this idea fascinating because we can apply it to almost every film we’ve seen (or so I would like to argue for most). This mirrors with a lot of other injustices among society. In order to create change, some anarchist may say… there needs to be violence. Guns against guns.

For example, the Black Panthers were perceived as being highly dangerous. What people don’t know is that they were merely protecting themselves from discrimination and police brutality through one of the worse times in history for people of color. 

Thus, this idea that’s been presented by this class is interesting not only because it highlights many issues we have seen in the past, but many issues we are still faced with in the present and future. 

Maquilapolis film and the gaze

The film Maquilapolis shed a light on the exploitation of women in Mexico working in factories. I feel like this film was powerful because it demonstrated the hardships women had to go through to support their families. What was really fascinating to me about this film, is that these women nearly worked themselves to death, literally, because of the horrible working conditions. 

Another aspect I enjoyed about this film was the way in which the maquiladoras these women worked for attempted to extend or prolong these harsh working conditions without higher waged pay. I liked this because it shows how injustice is prolonged until people unite, and fight back against it. These woman most likely would have died from the toxins in the air, had they not done anything proactive. 

At the beginning of the film the women talked about how the men in the factories pushed them around and gave them most of the responsibilities because of the fact that they were women. This also reinforced how traditional Mexico is in terms of gender norms. 

Mosquita y Mari and Eve’s Bayou

This film was particularly enjoyable because I feel like it really spoke to the Latin American/Hispano audience. I think the director did a good job of making this film relatable to young girls out there, of hispanic culture. There is a lot of gossip about young girls reputation within this culture. It becomes a focus for young hispanic youth to achieve the american dream and finish school succesfully. This is way Mosquita’s parents try to deviate her from getting into cars with boys. 

I found this film interesting in relation to Eve’s Bayou in terms of reality. Often times people “overlook” situations and pass them off as conventional, such as the eldest daughter’s relationship with the father in Eve’s Bayou and the relationship between Mosquita y Mari. 

I think this is interesting because of the pre-existing gender normatives. Is it that society overlooks these relationships, or chooses not to see them for what they are? I really liked the ending for the film Eve’s Bayou, because it left many dangling questions!


Cambodian Son Film

The film Cambodian Son was really powerful. While viewing this film, I felt like I was on the verge of tears at many times. What truly fascinated me about this film was the power that film has on sparking awareness to other people. It is always a particular group of individuals that are targeted in the U.S. who are victims of deportation or other injustices. It is unfair and ironic, that so many people from other countries come to the U.S. to live “the American Dream” and find a country of injustice and rejection. There are standard and social constructions present that are unfavorable for those who come to this country and aren’t fully aware of what they’re getting themselves into.

I also believe that urban neighborhoods are often victim to many injustices. The environment and climate determines a lot of the values, attitudes and beliefs of that particular community. All in all I was in awe of this film. I believe this film brought up many of the same things that other films we’ve seen in class have touched on. In many ways this film is relatable to the suppression and injustices acted upon women; who are also a particular group of individuals.  

Playing with ambiguity- By Hook or By Crook

Before our class discussion about this film, I was very confuse- therefore I wasn’t sure about how I felt about the film. There is a lot that happens in this film and I feel that as the audience we never get full reasons and explanations of why things with the characters happen the way they do. With that being said, that does not mean that I dislike the film. After we talked about it as a class, things became more clear and things slowly became more meaningful. From my understanding, as an audience, in this film, we are being played!

Things to think about:

-The gender of Shy and Valentine is not defined. The signs/indications that the show us, do not tell us if they are men or women. This breaks us away from having to categorize them into a group (male, female, men, woman, boy, or girl). This film does an excellent job playing with the boundaries of gender.

-Queerness: Not only because of their gender but because of their behavior. Looking at it in a different way would be asking ourselves “who is more queer? Them, us, society? What is the meaning of the film? What is the purpose of the director? What is the story trying to tell us?”

Part of the answer has to do with the world being “queer”. Meaning that, society can not accept “different”. There is a scene that illustrates this very well- the scene with the kids asking if Shy was a boy or a girl at first, and then not really caring about his gender. This shows that the world can see them as the queer ones and they can also see the world as queer. It can go both ways. Another important aspect that i want to point out is Valentines behavior. At times, it seems like he has a mental disability, but this is just another example of how they are viewed for being “different”. In fact they are different; but different doesn’t mean “bad”- and this is, in my opinion, what their story is trying to tell us.


The love story of Mosquita and Maria

One of my favorite!

I love love stories. This one was a little different but an interesting one. There are no words that can exactly describe their relationship. There are many things that can be said about their relationship such as “maybe they are confused about their sexuality” but the film does a good job, in my opinion, showing that this is not the case for this particular love story. It is obvious that they care about one another and they feel something much stronger for one another that they can’t even explain. That is the beauty of their story. That is love- unexplainable and uncontrollable.

It was extremely interesting to see everyone else’s behavior regarding Maria and Mosquita. For example, Yoli’s (Mosquita) parents don’t even acknowledge that Yoli can have a love/romantic relationship with Maria or any other girl. Just like the topic of abortion on the clips of motherhood that we watched for this class, homosexuality is never mentioned, and that makes me think that maybe they for whatever reason where never exposed to it, and therefore never even crossed their mind. Yoli’s parents have a strong focus on her education-her future. They are very strict and they are always policing her.

There are other instances (scenes) in the film when Mosquita and Maria appear to be policed about their homosexuality:

-parents walking in on them when they were at Yolis house laying down together on the sofa

-their classmates and friends watching Mosquita and Maria play when they are on top of one another at the field.

-Guy from the store that keeps gossiping/talking about “girls going inside cars with boys”

The film gives us the sense that Yoli’s parents are ok with Yoli, as long as she is not with a man. It is obvious that they want the best for Yoli and based on the culture and their experiences, a boyfriend means trouble, since she would run the risk of getting pregnant and not continuing her education.

Their love story is like any other love story of high school sweethearts. I love the ending scene with the road. The road, for me symbolizes obstacles that can separate them but them looking at each other on that last scene, says a lot more- they are meant for one another.