Hyperallergic is proud to premiere the newest piece by video essayist Kevin B. Lee. You can stream it here exclusively through July 14 — Dan Schindel, Associate Editor for Documentary
On March 15, Lee Isaac Chung’s Minari earned six Academy Award nominations, including for Best Picture — an unprecedented feat for a film featuring an Asian American story, cast, and director. The next day, eight people, six of whom were women of Asian descent, were murdered by a mass shooter in three Atlanta-area spas. The proximity of these events starkly sets the poles of the Asian American experience, between exalted model minorities and dehumanized figures toiling at the margins of society. Those two archetypes have stood throughout the complex history of Asians in America. My attempts to reflect on these extremes, and how they inform each other, led to the making of this video essay, “Mourning with Minari.”
I express gratitude to Hyperallergic for publishing this video, especially because they previously published Peter George Kim’s indispensable “Minari Isn’t Really About the American Dream. It’s About U.S. Empire.” The lens that Kim’s article provides, enabling deeper layers of context around the film, offered a valuable pretext for devising my own response.