‘Minari’ Screening Helps Break Representation Barriers for AAPI Students

A calming female voice hummed on screen, blending with the background noise around her. In the midst of playing card games and waiting for bubble tea, the chattering audience slowly lowered their voices. “Minari,” a Korean movie centered around the difficulties of immigrating to the United States, was projected in the Gelb Science Center Tent last Friday night.

Event organizer Elizabeth Chou ’22 said, “After the Asian town halls and the anti-Asian hate visuals, I was frustrated because I [felt] like there wasn’t that much on Asian representation, and what changes could be implemented to go towards that. So, one of the ideas that I had was to do movie screenings, because I feel like through film, people can really learn from other perspectives, and then be able to do so in a way that they can potentially relate to the characters, so it’s more impactful.”
One of the attendees, Tina Zeng ’24, appreciated the choice of “Minari” and reflected on its importance to the community. According to Zeng, the movie was unique in a way that is not often seen in films.

“I’ve seen ‘Minari’ before, but I feel like it’s [a] really unique movie that I’m glad the staff were able to bring to this campus because I think it’s definitely important to watch. [‘Minari’ is] valuable in terms of not only its entertainment, but also its representation of a narrative that we don’t really see much in movies,” said Zeng.

Besides the movie, the “Minari” screening event also featured a bubble tea giveaway. There was a total of 50 boba for both rounds of the giveaways, and the first round began 30 minutes after the movie started. Similarly to Zeng, attendee and giveaway winner Leo Peters ’24 noted the importance of Asian representation in films.

“[‘Minari’ has] a lot of representation of Asian Americans… I think it’s fortunate that this had a majority Asian cast, and I was able to identify with the characters,” said Peters.

Similarly, Chou noted that the main focus of the screening was representation of Asian Americans and Asian American identity. The movie acted as an introduction to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, celebrated in May, according to Kiran Ramratnam ’22, a board member of Asian Women Empowerment.

“May is Asian American Pacific Islander heritage month and… with everything that’s happening, like the surge of anti-Asian racism, it’s very important to talk about that, but to also talk about Asian art, Asian joy, and Asian film. So, I think it’s really important that the way we talk about the Asian identities at whole conversation about what it means to be Asian in all sorts of different ways,” said Ramratnam.

Editor’s Note: Elizabeth Chou is an Illustration Editor for The Phillipian.