AM/NESIA: Forgotten “Archipelagos” of Oceania
Shorts Program 2 - October 14 - Yamagata Citizens’ Hall
The vast Pacific Islands region, also known as Oceania, is a blue “continent” of water—the largest inhabited place on earth; yet it is among the most colonized and militarized areas on the planet, in the intersection of American and Japanese empires from the twentieth century to the present. AM/NESIA is a program of selected films that engage with important Lands, Bodies, and Crossings that have been silenced, forgotten, and marginalized between Japan and the United States. Films in the “Lands” selections of AM/NESIA engage, for instance, with Pacific Islander resistance to nuclear testing and climate change in ancestral sites where identity is interwoven with land. In “Bodies” we focus on how people’s identities and bodies have been marginalized, erased, or transformed by colonialism in Oceania—such as with changing understandings of indigenous gender ideologies, and the high rates of incarceration or military recruitment of Pacific Islander men. Finally, in “Crossings,” we explore the theme of forgotten migrations, cultural exchange, and in-betweenness in Oceania, particularly between the Japanese archipelago and the Pacific Islands. Critically exploring prewar propaganda films, testimonies of former settlers and soldiers, ambivalent nationalities, and circuits of hula dancing, we remember the routes and roots that historically have connected Japan with its Pacific neighborhood.