AM/NESIA: Forgotten “Archipelagos” of Oceania


Senso Daughters (International Version)

AUSTRALIA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA, JAPAN / 1990 / English, Japanese, Tok Pisin Dialogue / Color / 16mm / 54 min

Director: Sekiguchi Noriko
Photography: Chris Owen, Shimizu Yoshio
Music: Komuro Hitoshi
Producers: Sekiguchi Noriko, Yamagami Tetsujiro, Chris Owen
Source: Siglo

Japan’s wartime sexual enslavement of women for the “comfort” of soldiers was widespread all throughout the Asia and Pacific region. Shot at the end of the 1980s, shortly after the death of Japan’s wartime Emperor Showa (Hirohito), this film draws attention to the devastating trauma of institutionalized sexual violence remembered by Pacific Islander women in Papua New Guinea, where Japan invaded and made a damaging impact on the local population in the early years of the Pacific War. When the film was made at the dawn of the Heisei Era, the survivors and perpetrators of these rapes were still alive to testify about this violence. Viewing this film today helps a new generation to see beyond the amnesia and revisionism of the new Reiwa Era.

Island Soldier

FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA, USA / 2017 / English, Kosraean / Color / Digital File / 85 min

Director, Photography: Nathan Fitch
Editing: Bryan Chang, Nathan Fitch
Producers: Nathan Fitch, Fivel Rothberg, Bryan Chang
Production Company: Seachange Pictures
Source: Uno Port Art Films

The Federated States of Micronesia, often called the “jewels of the Pacific,” are home to Kosrae State (including Kosrae Island). Here, many of the youth decide to enlist in the US military. Following World War I, the islands became a Japanese mandate. Caught up in the turmoil of the Pacific War, Micronesia came under US administration at the end of WWII. Because of a defense treaty with the United States, Micronesia has maintained, even after its 1986 independence, a military enlistment rate far higher than in the US mainland. The film’s US director carefully depicts islanders who have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. The pain faced by families of the deployed soldiers and the contradictory reality forced upon them come into sharp relief in this heart-wrenching exposition.

Out of State

HAWAI‘I [USA] / 2017 / English / Color / Digital File / 79 min

Director: Ciara Lacy
Photography: Chapin Hall
Editing: Jeff Consiglio, Sara Booth, Jason Zeldes
Sound Design, Re-recording: Joe Milner
Music: Tyler Strickland
Executive Producers: Terry Leonard, Anderson Hinsch, Jessie Creel, Sally Jo Fifer, Leanne K. Ferrer, Joshua Strickland, Iwamoto Family Foundation
Producers: Beau Bassett, Ciara Lacy
Source: Ciara Lacy

Inside a prison in a desert in the US state of Arizona, Native Hawaiians perform a powerful hula. Because of overcrowding in Hawai‘i’s prisons, these men have been sent to prison thousands of miles from home. Here, they rediscover traditional, indigenous culture and build tighter connections with each other. David and Hale, now on probation upon their release, return to Hawai‘i to begin new lives, only to find themselves confronting family problems and the hardship of poverty. We come face-to-face with a portrait of the real Hawai‘i, that bears no relation to its image as a place to go on vacation and forget your troubles.

Kumu Hina

HAWAI‘I [USA] / 2014 / English / Color / Digital File / 77 min

Directors: Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson
Editing: Nels Bangerter
Composer, Guitarist: Makana
Animation: Jerad Greenleaf
Executive Producer: Leanne Ferrer
Producers: Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson, Connie M Florez
Courtesy of Japanese Subtitles: Kansai Queer Film Festival
Source: Dean Hamer

Colonization transformed not only land but also bodies, rendering some people and their histories invisible, especially those whose identities did not fit the gender binary of the colonizer. Power reverberates within and around Kumu Hina, a highly respected Hawaiian community leader and teacher of hula and other Hawaiian traditions. Embodying both male and female spirits in her place “somewhere in the middle” as a māhū third gender person, Hina heals Hawai‘i by reversing the reductive colonial teachings that have attempted to erase the very practices and knowledge integral to living in harmony with each other and the land.