Deann Borshay Liem’s NEW Film
For those of you who saw Deann Borshay Liem’s “First Person Plural” documentary on PBS, just thought you’d all be interested in her new film titled Precious Objects of Desire. Thanks for Sunny Jo as always for her great posts on the K@W listserv. If you’re interested in seeing Deann’s “First Person Plural” check my links section called “Adoptee Film Bibliography.”
FILMMAKER’S STATEMENT: Cha Jung Hee was a fellow orphan at the Sun Duck Orphanage in South Korea in the 1960s. She and I had nothing in common and I did not know her personally. And yet, at age 8, just before I was sent to the U.S. to be adopted by the Borshay family in California, my identity was switched with hers without anyone’s knowledge. I was given Cha Jung Hee’s name, birth date and family history and told to keep the switch a secret. Simultaneously, through a bureaucratic sleight of hand, my previous identity was completely erased.
For years, Cha Jung Hee was, paradoxically, both a stranger and also my official identity – a persona unknown, but always present, defining my life. In Precious Objects of Desire, I will search for Cha Jung Hee to finally put her erstwhile existence to rest by meeting her in real life and finding out how she has fared.
In the course of searching for Cha Jung Hee, I will interview a diverse selection of Korean orphans and adoptees, each with their own quests and extraordinary stories to tell. A biracial Korean-Black war orphan, shunned by Korean society, who as an adult meets potential biological siblings; twins adopted and raised in France, who speak only the French language, on their way “home” to Korea to visit their birth mother; an orphan from the North who was sent with several thousand War orphans to Romania who recalls what it was like to grow up in a boarding school in Eastern Europe; and many others.
These stories will be contextualized within a history of adoptions from Korea starting with the Korean War. Together, they will illuminate how international adoptions from Korea are closely associated with U.S. military involvement on the Korean peninsula, the prosperity and optimism of American society following World War II, and Cold War politics, all of which have led South Korea to become the number one “exporter” of children overseas and the U.S. the largest “importer” of adopted children in the world.
– Deann Borshay Liem