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Asian Studies

Asian Studies


By Leslee Udwin

INDIA'S DAUGHTER is the powerful story of the 2012, brutal gang rape on a Delhi bus of a 23 year old medical student, who later died from her injuries. In 2012, it made international headlines and ignited protests by women in India and around the world. This month India's government banned the film while the BBC moved their planned broadcast up by days and ignited a new controversy. BAFTA winning filmmaker Leslee Udwin, herself a victim of rape, went to India inspired by the protests against sexual assault. With an all Indian crew, Udwin got exclusive, first time on camera interviews with the rapists and defense attorney, none of whom express remorse. The defense attorney goes even further, stating that "immodest" women deserve what happens to them. An impassioned plea for change, INDIA'S DAUGHTER pays tribute to a remarkable and inspiring young woman and explores the compelling human stories behind the incident and the political ramifications throughout India. But beyond India, the film lays bare the way in which societies and their patriarchal values have spawned such acts of violence globally.

DVD (Color, Hindi) / 2015 / () / 62 minutes

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By Julianna Brannum

LADONNA HARRIS: INDIAN 101 from Comanche filmmaker Julianna Brannum, chronicles the life of Comanche activist and national civil rights leader LaDonna Harris and the role that she has played in Native and mainstream America history since the 1960s. In this new verite style documentary, Brannum, the great niece of Harris, celebrates her life and the personal struggles that led her to become a voice for Native people and her contemporary work to strengthen and rebuild indigenous communities and train emerging Native leaders around the world.

Harris's activism began in Oklahoma, fighting segregation and assisting grassroots Native and women's groups. In Washington LaDonna introduced landmark programs and legislation returning territory to tribes, improving education and healthcare for Native Americans, ending job discrimination against women, and targeting other pressing issues of the time. For over three decades, "Indian 101," her course for legislators, combatted ignorance about America's most marginalized population. Using interviews, archival footage and photographs, this film justly celebrates one of the most important women leaders in Native American and U.S. history.

DVD (Color) / 2014 / () / 63 minutes

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By Jenny Chio

Tourism in China today signifies many things. To the Chinese government, tourism is a win-win opportunity to promote rural development and modernization and to encourage urban residents to flex their disposable incomes through domestic travel. To tourists - past, present, and future - it is the epitome of middle-class leisure, proof that the country has moved beyond the hardships of the past and toward a prosperous future. And to those who live in the sites that are visited, tourism is a means to an end, a chance to earn a living by turning one's home into a destination.

In the words of Dr. Stevan Harrell, Prof. of Anthropology at the Univ. of Washington, "This colorful, entertaining, gently ironic documentary presents a vivid and sensitive portrait of a side of China that is little known outside the country: the world of ethnic tourism. In recent years, hundreds of millions of Chinese tourists, mostly city-dwellers, have used their newly increased incomes to travel. And many of the places they visit are ethnic minority villages in China's West and Southwest. They go there for the culture, for the scenery, for the clean air, for something different to see and do."

Peasant Family Happiness depicts the everyday experience of "doing tourism" in two rural ethnic tourism villages in contemporary China: Ping'an in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Upper Jidao in Guizhou Province. In these villages, residents negotiate between the day-to-day consequences of tourist arrivals and idealized projections of who they are. Questions of "authenticity" are rendered secondary to, yet not entirely subsumed by, market imperatives.

Culture and identity remain important for sustaining community, but in ways that reveal just how much labor goes into creating leisure experiences. What really matters to the villagers of Ping'an and Upper Jidao are the bigger, more pressing questions confronting modern rural communities across the globe: the possibilities brought about by improved transport networks, the promises and perils of leaving one's home to be a migrant worker elsewhere, and the pleasures of imagining one's own future through the lens of successful, profitable tourism.

Peasant Family Happiness was produced as part of a larger anthropological research project on tourism and rural development in China today. Various scenes, a rough cut, and the final film were screened in both Ping'an and Upper Jidao villages on multiple occasions.

With its "deft and intimate camera work," its stunning visuals of spectacular rural landscapes, and its "insightful, vivid, and intelligently humorous" paradoxes and ironies, Peasant Family Happiness will thoroughly engage students and stimulate reflection and discussion in a wide range of courses in cultural anthropology, China and East Asia, development issues, ethnicity and identity, and tourism.

DVD (Color) / 2013 / () / 70 minutes

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Directed by Cary McClelland, Imran Babur (Co-Director)

Six bold Pakistanis from very different walks of life attempt to build a new future while struggling with their country's current crisis.

Six bold people navigate the dangerous waters of Pakistan's current crisis to discover a new tomorrow: a cricket star starts a progressive political party, a female journalist goes behind Taliban lines, an ex-mujahid seeks redemption, a trucker crosses dangerous territory to feed his family, a supermodel pushes feminism through fashion, and a subversive Sufi rocker uses music to heal.

Filmed by a team of Americans and Pakistanis over two years, WITHOUT SHEPHERDS cuts through alarmist media depictions of the country to celebrate the bravery of its people.

DVD / 2013 / (Grades 10-12, College, Adults) / 145 minutes

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By Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha

In San Antonio, Lisa and Brian Switzer risk their savings with a Medical Tourism company promising them an affordable solution after seven years of infertility. Halfway around the world in Mumbai, 27-year-old Aasia Khan, mother of three, contracts with a fertility clinic to be implanted with the Texas couple's embryos. MADE IN INDIA, about real people involved in international surrogacy, follows the Switzers and Aasia through every stage of the process.

With its dual focus, this emotionally charged, thoroughly absorbing film charts obstacles faced by the Switzers and presents intimate insights into Aasia's circumstances and motivation. As their stories become increasingly intertwined, the bigger picture behind offshore outsourcing of pregnanciesˇXa booming, unregulated reproductive industry valued at $450 million in India aloneˇXbegins to emerge. So do revealing questions about international surrogacy's legal and ethical implications, global corporate practices, human and reproductive rights, and commodification of the body.

DVD (English, Hindi, Color) / 2010 / () / 97 minutes

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Directed by Weijun Chen

An experiment in democracy is taking place in Wuhan, the most populous city in central China. For the first time ever, the students in grade three at Evergreen Primary School have been asked to elect a class monitor. Traditionally appointed by the teacher, the class monitor holds a powerful position, helping to control the students, keeping them on task and doling out punishment to those who disobey. The teacher has chosen three candidates: Luo Lei (a boy), the current class monitor; Cheng Cheng (a boy); and Xu Xiaofei (a girl). Each candidate is asked to choose two assistants to help with his or her campaign.

To prove their worthiness, the candidates must perform in three events. First is a talent show, where each candidate plays an instrument or sings a song. Second is a debate, in which the candidates bring up the shortcomings of their opponents as well as their own personal qualifications. And finally, each candidate must deliver a speech, an opportunity to appeal directly to classmates and ask for their votes.

At home, each of the children is coached by his or her parents and pushed to practice and memorize for each stage of the campaign. Although their parents are supportive, the candidates feel the pressure. Tears and the occasional angry outburst reveal the emotional impact. At school, the candidates talk to classmates one-on-one, making promises, planning tactics (including negative ones) and at times expressing doubts about their own candidacies.

For all three children, the campaign takes its toll, especially for the losing candidates and their assistants. Viewers are left to decide if the experiment in democracy has been "successful" and what it might mean for democracy in China. Please Vote for Me challenges those committed to China's democratization to consider the feasibility of, and processes involved in, its implementation.

DVD / 2007 / () / 52 minutes

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The Dynamic Culture of Contemporary Korea (Volume 1) introduces various aspects of Korea's contemporary culture. It reveals the dynamism of Korean culture with scenes of samulnori, a form of traditional percussion music, Nanta, a high-energy non-verbal stage performance, and the frenzied "street cheering" during the 2002 World Cup. There are also highlights of the hallyu (Korean wave) phenomenon, which has led to the spread of Korean pop culture throughout Asia and beyond.

DVD (Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish) / 2005 / () / 40 minutes

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The Clothes, Foods and Houses of Korea (Volume 2) is a general overview of the Korean ways of living. This includes a description of a traditional Korean house, hanok, and its noteworthy characteristics: ondol, underfloor heating system, maru, traditional wooden floor, and jeongwon, a Korean-style garden. In addition, it explains about the dietary practices of Koreans, like kimchi and soy-bean uses.

DVD (Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish) / 2005 / () / 40 minutes

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The Life of Koreans (Volume 3) provides information about the world of Korea's traditional customs and rituals, including, dol, a first-year birthday celebration, as well as practices related to the rite of passage, wedding, funeral, and memorial services in Korea.

DVD (Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish) / 2005 / () / 40 minutes

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The Beauty of Traditional Korean Arts (Volume 4) explores various genres of traditional Korean art, including traditional fine arts, such as calligraphy, pottery, and landscape painting; traditional music forms like pansori and minyo, and musical instruments gayagum and geomungo; and Korean dance, such as salpuri (exorcist) and buchaechum (fan dance).

DVD (Arabic, Chinese, English, Russian, Spanish) / 2005 / () / 40 minutes

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An international group of veterans builds a village in Vietnam for children with Agent Orange-related deformities.

THE FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE is a documentary film about an international group of veterans who are building a village in Vietnam for children with Agent Orange-related deformities.

Built on a former rice paddy near Hanoi, the Vietnam Village of Friendship stands not only as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, but as a testament to the potential for all people to come to terms with the past, heal the wounds of war, and create a better world.

Following the story of the village's founder, American veteran George Mizo, THE FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE takes us through his experiences of war's horror to the personal transformation that led to the birth of this remarkable village. Working alongside the Vietnamese general responsible for killing his entire platoon in 1968, George and other veterans from the US, Vietnam, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and Australia are attempting to mitigate the ongoing effects of the toxic herbicide sprayed during the war. Their efforts are a powerful example of how average people can still make a profound difference in our increasingly globalized world. As such, the Vietnam Friendship Village has the potential to change not only the lives of the children who live in it and the men who build it, but all who come to understand its vision.

DVD (Color, Closed Captioned) / 2002 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 51 minutes

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A cyclone in Bangladesh results in the construction of an experimental community health center.

In 1991 a devastating cyclone struck the district of Chakaria in western Bangladesh. Foreign aid flooded into the region in the wake of that disaster, bringing much needed food, drugs, and other supplies. But in what is still a very conservative Muslim region, the very same aid bred dependency and mistrust.

What was needed in Chakaria was a real experiment in community participation, one in which the villagers could decide what kind of health services were necessary, and then take it upon themselves to facilitate those services. With this in mind, community doctor Moazzem Houssain from the International Centre of Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR.B) took up residence in Chakaria to work with the villagers on the construction of the district's first-ever health center.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE tells the story of the experiment: the obstacles the project had to overcome, the successes it has achieved, and the role that community health care provision can play in the framework of a national health care strategy.

With the support of the World Health Organization; the European Commission Directorate General for Development to promote better understanding of development issues; the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

DVD (Color) / 2002 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 23 minutes

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Tour of rapidly urbanizing Hanoi, and the effect on citizens and culture.

Hanoi is one the new global cities of the 21st century--a burgeoning center of international trade and tourism, in competition with other fast growing cities of South East Asia and the south China region. Growing urbanization has led to a boom in construction: market reform and globalization have caused an influx of Western consumer goods.

My Hanoi is the story of Tran Thuy Linh, whose family has lived in the flower village area of Hanoi for generations, but now must move. Thuy describes the extended family she grew up with in the flower village, and charts the stories of their lives against the backdrop of the changing skyline of the city -- old people, young people, politicians, housewives, and the migrant day laborers who work on the construction sites.

Seen through Thuy's eyes, the program profiles a city in a period of dramatic change -- emerging from colonialism and the still painful memory of the Vietnam War, through socialism to the current free market era where a younger generation is asserting itself as a force for change.

DVD (Color) / 2001 / (Grades 7-12, College, Adult) / 27 minutes

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The struggle for greater democracy and free speech in Thailand.

Tourist companies idealize Thailand as a land of gentle, smiling people and stunning landscapes. But rapid industrialization, the growing consumer culture of the 1980s 'bubble economy' era, and the effect of IMF structural adjustment programs imposed in 1997 when that bubble burst, have led to a huge rise in poverty, crime, and environmental damage. The Thai government has responded by introducing a new constitution, designed to eliminate the corruption and cronyism that has been at the heart of Thai politics for decades. This film reveals the hypocrisy of Thai politics and charts the history of recent struggles for greater democracy and freedom of speech.

DVD (Color) / 1999 / (Grades 9-12, College, Adult) / 30 minutes

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How social issues affect daily life in Japan.

DVD / 1989 / (Grades 9-Adult) / 30 minutes

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This program about Japanese food and drink explores the bounty of the sea and mountains in Japan as a source for their nutrition.

DVD / 1989 / (Grades 9-Adult) / 30 minutes

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The Khon - Two complete ballets

Complete performances of the ballets Nonduk's Finger and The Abduction of Sita performed by artists and musicians from the College of Music and Dramatic arts in Chieng Mai Thailand.

Nonduk's Finger (duration: 53') concerns the difficulties of Nonduk, gatekeeper to the great god Shiva, and how the help Shiva gives him turns against him. Revenge and retribution and the vagaries of power are the subject of this charming fantasy.

In The Abduction of Sita (duration: 63') Lust and jealousy almost destroy the wonderful relationship between the noble god Rama and his beautiful wife Sita but with the help of the kindly and wily monkey god Hanuman, all is resolved.

These two ballets display the charm and colour of the Classical Dance of Thailand known as the Khon. Mask, movement, gesture, song and music combine to give a strange but timeless parade of human weakness and virtue which reflect in a remarkable way the struggles of modern Thailand to come to terms with the demands of democracy and the weight of tradition.

DVD / / () / 119 minutes

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A documentary history of the city of Bangkok from it's foundation at the end of the 18th century up to the last quarter of the twentieth.

The film was shot in 1973 when Thailand was on the cusp of it's astounding development into the vibrant and astonishingly modern city it now is with skyscrapers and expressways on every hand. By showing glimpses of a time long gone the film is itself now a piece of history.

With the founding of Bangkok came the founding of the remarkable Chakri dynasty of absolute kings who have led the country so ably through the complexities of the last two centuries; the film outlines some of their major contributions up to those of the present king. Still today the place of the now constitutional monarchy is kernel as the country struggles to establish its fragile democracy and the film goes some way to explain this. It also brings out the lives of ordinary people and some of the many distinctive elements of the Bangkok world.

DVD / / () / 40 minutes

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The Middle Kingdom today - how China is viewed through the eyes of the democratic nations of the world.

Geography - The all important geography of China and how it has affected Chinaˇ¦s past.

The Dynasties of China - A brief overview of the Dynasties of China, remarkable for their duration and the peace and stability they engendered.

About Confucius - Confucius and his thinking, and how he came to dominate the Chinese world view.

Writing and control - The establishment of the Chinese character script and how it affected the controls of government.

Modern China - The establishment of modern China and its current undemocratic government.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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Superstition - Superstition, like everywhere else in the world, largely dominated the Chinese mind in early times.

Commentators on the works of Confucius - Confucian ideas established themselves but there were many commentators over the following centuries who muddied the waters.

The Han Dynasty - The Han dynasty was principally responsible for making Confucian ideas the norm for government and society.

Taoism - Taoism, growing out of early animism, developed ideas of non-interference in the ways of nature.

Buddhism - Buddhism, imported from India, introduced ideas of rebirth and reward for good conduct.

China and Tibet - Today China rules Tibet as it has always done. A largely Buddhist country, it has problems with the secular Chinese.

Sung Education and the Mandarin Bureaucracy - In the Sung dynasty, education according to Confucian principles was established on a huge and influential scale.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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Art and the Bronzes - After trying to establish what art is we look at the wonderful bronze work of early times in China.

Ceramics - Fine ceramics from many different ages have come down to us; in particular the Tang Sung and Ming dynasty ware.

The Chinese Character Script - The Chinese character script is difficult to learn but beautiful to see and writing it is regarded as an art form.

Poetry - Poets have always been held in high regard in China. Even in translation their particular beauties shine through.

Literature - Literature in the form of plays and novels developed in later centuries just as they did in other parts of the world.

Epilogue - After their early brilliance, under a deeply conservative leadership, the talents of the Chinese in all fields began to be stifled and consequently to decay.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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Music - Music was much enjoyed by Confucius who saw it as a basic element of human harmony.

Houses, Gardens and the Honourable man - With due Confucian regard for order and control over nature, the Chinese gardens are amongst the greatest beauties of the land.

Painting and the Honourable man - For many centuries Chinese painters have wonderfully depicted the people and the landscape.

Science - No society has done so much for science; their great qualities of curiosity and invention have been an immeasurable gift to the world.

Descent into chaos - As the Confucian ethic is dimmed and clouded by blind conservatism, battered by outside forces, Chinese society disintegrates.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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Taiping Rebellion - Driven partly by the injustices suffered by the poor and a muddled view of the religious beliefs imported by western missionaries, the Taiping Rebellion rocked China to the core.

Japan - Japan, looked down on by the Chinese as of little import, displays how it has adapted to the times as the Chinese have not.

The Boxers and the end of the empire - As the empire collapses, a secret society called the Boxers feebly attempts to drive out the foreigners.

Japan and the Communist takeover - Japan invades and after the second world war the Communists take over and impose order.

China and the Communists - The rule of Mao and the Communists.

Overseas Chinese - Effective Overseas Chinese communities.

China: The Great Dilemma - The Great Dilemma which faces the Chinese today is how to bring about the democratic freedoms which society deserves without bringing Chaos yet again.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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Confucius 551 -479bc

Confucius was not exactly an author in the way that other writers in the series are. His ideas however, expressed in his Analects (reported sayings), have been the backbone of the Chinese psyche ever since he uttered them. He was very concerned that people should read history and poetry, with the result that the Chinese for most of their existence have been the most literate society on earth. The well-read man has always been considered at the pinnacle of society. This DVD tells what is known of his life and gives an introduction to his ideas and his importance in Chinese life. It is followed by an overview with leads to books he had a hand in, or that will help to understand him.

DVD / / () / 35 minutes

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RAMA 6th King of Siam

The video follows the life of King Vajiravudh, Rama 6th of the Chakri dynasty of Siam, modern Thailand. Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been colonised by a western power and King Vajiravudh was the first Thai king to have been educated in the west. In the eyes of the world rather overshadowed by his charismatic father King Chulalongkorn (best known to the world at large as the king in the musical the King and I) King Vajiravudh was an unusually talented and sensitive man who learned a great deal from his life in England and who committed himself to continuing the reform of his country begun by his father. Trying to be a democrat and a monarch with absolute power was a difficult act. He soon began appointing people on merit and not because they were his brothers or cousins. This was not the way to win the support of the ruling clique. However up to his sudden and unexpected death in 1926 he clung tenaciously to his beliefs and worked tirelessly and often very effectively for his country. The programme was made with the support of the Museum to his memory in Bangkok and is dedicated to the remarkable school he founded, Vajiravudh College.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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The Khon - Documentary on Thai Classical Dance

At the end of the 18th century Thailand was defeated by its arch enemy Burma and the capital Ayudhya destroyed. A new beginning was made further down river at Bangkok. Along with new palaces and temples the kings brought back the old forms of dance which had graced the court of Ayudhya. A Thai version of the Indian epic of the doings of King Rama called in Thailand the Ramakien was produced and through the preservation of the dance and the development of these stories, Thai culture was given a new treasure all its own.

Modern times always view the past differently and the traditional arts in Thailand can be easily swamped and forgotten just as elsewherein the world. Fortunately there are still talented and devoted dancers and musicians and artists who keep it all alive and in the Academy ofMusic and Dance which thrives today in Chieng Mai film makerMalcolm Hossick has found a treasure to record for the outside world to see.

This documentary film follows the training and development of young dancers and musicians along with parts of finished performances of two stories from the Ramakien.

DVD / / () / 50 minutes

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