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And Thereafter

Directed by Hosup Lee

Best Documentary Feature, 2005 San Diego Asian Film Festival
Special Jury Award, 2004 Hawaii International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival

One of the most unsparing and enigmatic works of Asian American documentary, Hosup Lee’s AND THEREAFTER traces a year in the life of Young-Ja Wike, who, nearly 50 years prior, was a Korean war bride following an American GI to the United States. But life in America was nothing like the country of her dreams. Shunned as an outsider in New Jersey and in her own home, Young-Ja finds solace only in her garden of hot peppers. “These peppers are nicer to me than my family,” she mutters to the camera. It turns out that’s an understatement.

A Korean compatriot and unflinching observer, documentarian Hosup Lee captures a home life full of secrets and spite. In under an hour, Lee reveals details of a mixed-culture family and a feisty, unyielding woman holding it together while reflecting on the detours that led her thousands of miles from home. Most stirring of all is the plain way Lee lays it all out. The everyday reminders of war and trauma are revealed as matter-of-fact suburban mundaneness. The emotional toughness hardened around decades of pain remains unrecognizable to even her own family and untranslatable to the larger community. But to Lee’s camera, it shares a secret world of bitterness and bite, a thereafter that is more than an epilogue to history, but the continued embodiment of its perversities. 

–Brian Hu

Purchase tickets to all four films in SONGS OUR ELDERS TAUGHT ME for the special price of $25 general / $20 members.

Co-Presented by Korean American Bar Association San Diego (KABA-SD), Korean American Coalition San Diego (KAC-SD)

Preceded By

Wong Sinsaang

Directed by Eddie Wong

Peering through the dry cleaning, Eddie Wong views his laundromat father with frustration and awe.