Movie 1: Arirang
The documentary has two parts, "The Korean American Journey," which covers the community's history from 1903 to about 1960, and "The Korean American Dream," which continues the story through the present. The film begins the story of how and why, in less than three years in the early 1900s, more than 7,000 Koreans left their strife-torn homeland for new lives on the sugar plantations of Hawaii. The film is more than just another tale of a people immigrating to America and finding success. It reveals the little known story of how a country, obliterated from the world's consciousness, was kept alive and eventually restored by the determination, sacrifices and patriotism of her people overseas. We learn how, soon after the first wave of migration, Korea was taken over and annexed by Japan, which attempted to stamp out the Korean language and culture and reduce Koreans to second-class Japanese.
In this strange circumstance, the migrant Koreans became settlers.
As American settlers, the Korean sojourners organized around the cause of independence for Korea while simultaneously sinking roots deep into their new home. As they achieve astonishing success in American terms, they kept the idea of an independent Korea alive throughout Japan's half-century occupation of the Korea. They quickly acquired first-rate educations, established businesses and entered the professions - all the while drawing on the Christian church as a source of continuity. As they organized around the cause of independence for Korea, they simultaneously sank their roots deeply into American soil. After 1970, the Korean-American population expanded rapidly, at times perilously, to over one million today. This is a story about distances: from Seoul to New Jersey; from storekeeper to Harvard graduate; and from the devastating Los Angeles riots of 1992 to a heightened involvement in the American scene. The...