The San José Museum of Art (SJMA) and the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, co-present Stories from the Farther Shore: Southeast Asian Film, a special film program showcasing recent documentary, art, and feature-length films by Southeast Asian filmmakers. Topics range from struggles with transgender identity in Finding Phong (2015) by Tran Phuong Thao and Swann Dubus to Malila: The Farewell Flower (2017), Anucha Boonyawatana’s meditation on love, loss, and mortality between two former gay lovers, to Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s The Island (2017), a dystopian art film shot on the Malaysian island of Pulau Bidong−the site of the largest and longest-operating refugee camp after the Vietnam War.
Stories from the Farther Shore coincides with Dinh Q. Lê: True Journey Is Return (September 14, 2018–April 7, 2019), an exhibition organized by SJMA highlighting the acclaimed Vietnamese artist’s video and photography installations that gives voice to multiple, simultaneous stories about Vietnamese life and the aftermath of the Vietnam War. The films presented in this program offer a similarly nuanced portrait of Southeast Asia, focused on contemporary issues both at home and abroad. At a time of growing hostility to immigrant and refugee experiences in the United States, the films in this program will join the exhibition in giving voice to complex, humanized stories of identity and homeland, loss and survival, tradition and modernity.