Re:Orientations (2016) and politics of identity

I had the privilege and pleasure of participating in the Toronto-based filmmaker and friend Richard Fung‘s latest film, Re:Orientationscurrently on the film festival circuit. It premiered in Toronto in May, and just screened at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival a few days ago on August 15. The film revisits many of the original participants in Fung’s 1984 film, Orientations, and raises provocative questions about Asian Canadian gay and lesbian identities and the politics of community building and belonging. I can’t believe Orientations came out 32 years ago, coincidentally the same year I immigrated to the United States. I remember watching Orientations as an undergraduate, and it’s been a classic for a while in queer Asian American studies. Re:Orientations is a thoughtful and intelligent film, beautifully shot and brilliantly edited.

I’m a relative newcomer to the “Asian Canadian” formation but not to the “queer Asian” political spaces, and Richard has kindly included my commentaries about identity, politics, etc. Basically, I play a nerdy professor in the film. 🙂

I get the final words in the film, actually. It’s slightly misquoted in this Vancouver-based Daily Xtra article:

"Today, with so many of us actively involved in a variety of social justice movements, not all under the umbrella of Asian, it seems like we need to imagine a different kind of gathering.... But I don’t think that kind of identity-based politics is all there is.”

I’ll need to double check, but I think I also said that identitarian politics are still very important, but that that’s not all there is. That we must imagine more. That there must be more.