Independent filmmaker Daisy Lee takes us on an exotic food-buying binge like nothing we have ever experienced before. Whoever thought farming was a calming experience has never entered the Ontario Food Terminal's unsuspecting gates. This multicultural multilingual market is a true global village: the people here often speak little or no English. Deals can be struck with a mere handshake just as quickly as a misinterpreted word or gesture can result in a bloody fist fight: the casualty of broken English. Designer Italian lettuce, blushing lychee nuts from China, and golden-skinned mangoes transported through a raging Nicaragua are a few of the treasures to be fought over at this renowned produce market.
The Morning Zoo 16mm film, 25:26 min., colour, sound 1989
Living around, among and between different cultures, one is forced constantly to re-evaluate and reassess. The proposition of a positive Asian identity, even with the perilous links to nationalism (and its equally dubious formulations) is nevertheless exciting, and a necessary, transitional step in making new, somehow different images and, in this hazy, anti-positivist age of unfixed meanings and political impotence, make them mean something. A hegemonic project, to be sure.
At turns brooding and playful, The Compact shows history working at the base of human relationships. Through flashbacks and dream sequences, Lee, a young Chinese Canadian woman, examines her relationships with her family, her Anglo-Canadian boyfriend and the society she lives in. The private world of Lee's imagination is a collage, juxtaposing the political! social! sexual relationships between east/west, woman/man, parent/child, creating new meanings and a sense of balance, wholeness from the diverse and often conflicting elements which shape her identity.
Lee is both vulnerable and powerful as she faces the oppressive burden of history. By awakening a new perception of history, she will not be bound by it, but seeks a celebratory affirmation of life.
The Compact 16 mm film, 20:00 min., b/w, sound 1990
The Displaced View traces a personal search for identity and pride within the unique and suppressed history of the Japanese in Canada. Through an examination of the emotional and cultural links between the women of one family, the processes of the construction of memory and the reconstruction of history are revealed. Utilizing an innovative combination of experimental, dramatic and documentary forms, the film emerges as a deeply moving and compassionate love letter. Just as the official history of the Japanese Canadians has been thrown into question, so does the film's fictionalized narrative question the documentary as truth.
The Displaced View 16 mm film, 52:00 min., colour, sound 1988