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Film series explores nuances of bicultural relationships

Communication can be tricky enough, but what happens when you don't share the same spoken or sociological vocabulary? A new film series, Close Encounters Across Cultures, will examine bilingual and bicultural experiences, focusing on close relationships and personal conflicts between two protagonists who do not share the same language or culture.

The series opens on Thursday, Oct. 21, with Song of Exile, a 1990 film by Ann Hui which explores the relationship between a Japanese mother and her Chinese-born daughter.

Each film will be briefly introduced by an MIT faculty member (Professor of History Peter Perdue for the opener) who will also lead a follow-up discussion. Dr. Perdue's fields are history and East Asian languages and his research interests lie in modern Chinese and Japanese social and economic history.

Set in Japan, Texas, Czechoslovakia and Cameroon and using 20th-century historical events (wars, exile, colonialism, immigration), each film will explore how different generations in the same family or household ultimately overcome their linguistic and cultural barriers.

All screenings, which are organized by the Center for Bilingual/Bicultural Studies and the International Film Club, will take place on Thursdays at 7pm in Rm 4-237.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 20, 1999.

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