From a Silk Cocoon

2006
Distributed by Hesono O Productions, 2716 X Street, Sacramento, CA 95818; 415-863-0814 x108
Produced by Satsuki Ina
Directed by Emery Clay III, Stephen Holsapple, Satsuki Ina
DVD, color, 57 min.
Sr. High - Adult
Asian American Studies, History, Human Rights, World War II


Reviewed by Jessica Schomberg, Minnesota State University, Mankato

Highly Recommended  Highly Recommended   
 
Date Entered: 6/6/2006

Satsuki Ina was born in an internment camp in 1944. After discovering letters exchanged between her parents while they were held in separate camps, she began to piece together parts of her family’s history which her parents had never discussed.

Through excerpts of letters, journal entries, and haikus written at the time, as well as newspaper clippings, archival photographs and film footage, and a few dramatic recreations, this documentary is able to reconstruct the story of Ina’s parents and the 120,000 others who were detained by the U.S. government because of their Japanese heritage—both legal aliens and U.S. citizens. While interned in the prison camps, without legal representation or the right of due process, they were asked to answer a loyalty questionnaire. When Ina’s parents protested and demanded their legal rights, they were accused by the FBI of being disloyal and sent to a separate camp for enemy aliens. This film explores their feelings of betrayal and creates a genuine understanding of why and how they chose to renounce their citizenship.

Although, at 57 minutes, the film feels a little longer than it needs to be, the editing and technical aspects are well done. The narration is in English, with translations of written Japanese provided when necessary. Unfortunately, the DVD itself is designed to work like a VHS tape in that there are no chapter breaks—the only way to move through the program is fast forward or rewind—and, while there is a version of the DVD available with Japanese subtitles, I suspect they are “hard” subtitles.

Highly recommended for high school, college, and general audiences.

Awards

  • Best Director Documentary, New York International Independent Film & Video Festival
  • Grand Festival Award, Berkeley Video & Film Festival
  • Outstanding Documentary Program, Silver Telly Award
  • Outstanding Cultural Program, Bronze Telly Award
  • Historic/Cultural Program-Segment (Emmy), National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, San Francisco/Northern California Chapter.