The movie Reunification is an award-winning classified documentary directed by Alvin Tsang in 2015. Tsang examines his family’s legacy of emigrating from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. The basis of these movements was increased vulnerabilities, betrayal, and splintered economic and psychological challenges. The filmmaker, who is also the editor, experienced some aspect of hope by returning to Hong Kong after he was left behind at the age of nine years. In the movie, Alvin reminiscences of the once-intact family and the reunification manifested a pressing desire—and a continuous pressure—for the editor-turned-filmmaker to be self-reflexive.
Alvin’s birthplace is Hong Kong, where he lived until he was nine years before traveling to the United States. The producer has moved ahead to pursue academic exploits and earned a degree in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. Thereafter, he began his career as an Editing Assistant in the film That’s My Face by Thomas Allen. Alvin has offered his assistance to other positions in the filmmaking industry, including colorist assistant, assistant editor, and co-producer (Queens World).
The movie begins by showing faded family photographs, old video footage among other exotic collections taken throughout the years (Yu). The collection illustrates a feeling that the film may have taken longer to produce since it required all the time to process entirely the history of the family members and confront the writer’s emotional turbulent background. This way the audience forms the powerful emotional reconciliation as well. Alvin desired to reunite with his family, especially after his mother’s settlement in America. The dream was shuttered permanently and immediately after arriving in the U.S. due to some unknown reasons.
Such a reunification took on and off for four intense years. A visual section preceded the audio section, a move that facilitated in producing more scenes to explain the different instances. Some scenes portray strong feelings such as the depression of living with the father in Hong Kong and the reasons for experimenting with the camera lighting and digital effects. But Alvin’s workflow shows a contradiction—as he started by shooting, then did some editing while writing the script, and at the same time developed the narrations. In doing so, Alvin concluded by making public the story that frustrated him. This is because the entire production reminded him of the painstakingly lonely memories of his dark past (Queens World). He was all alone in this progress as he felt that the production was one of the big and clunky puzzles where some of the parts fit well while others were missing.
Each of the steps Alvin made in the production of this film was on trial and error basis. To remain positive in the production process, Alvin had to concentrate on the development of every version of the film. Being a novice in the professional film production, Alvin had to prove his expertise, especially since the film was more exploratory (Queens World). He became more informed by the production of the film.
Through this way, Reunification shows a pressing need of poetic and self-reflexive exploration of the film with numerous unresolved issues. There are the wonderful articulation and the semblance of an explanation. With a beautiful score, the film revolves around channels and modes in the labor histories and the more of nostalgia, grief, and confusion (Yu). To find answers, Alvin focuses on his family but decides to move on after realizing that the closure he will derive will depend on him.
Overall, the film documents modern Asian-American immigration from the perspective of Alvin. It is necessary for the public to watch the movie, understand the struggles, and sacrifices among victories of the Asian-American community. Through the perspective of Alvin, the audience can relate to the challenge of tearing the family apart in the course of moving to America. Taking the film is more of an emotional journey that Alvin takes the audience through amid the social implications of being the initial generation immigrant. Lessons the viewers learned are unfathomable since they come to teach of the burden the immigrant children often bear. This is often overlooked, even as Alvin shines on the dramatic effects of these challenges. All Americans should watch the film to gain a necessary understanding of the experiences the communities go through and the psychological burden they bear. The public should also consider the role the immigrant women play in the lives of their families. In this case, Alvin’s mother took charge, even though her children had to work from an early age. In general, the family paid a deep emotional cost of separation and some go to the extent of family breakup as for living in America. These aspects are brought clearly in light of the hidden shadows. The film is powerful as Alvin takes the family and the audience through the process of healing and making meaning of the challenges the family underwent.
Queens World. “Reunification.” Queens World. 2017 March.
https://www.queensworldfilmfestival.com/films/detail.asp?fid=665. Accessed on 18 March 2017
Yu, Brandon. Reunification. 2015. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4461390/. Accessed on 18