Obāchan’s Garden

Canada 2001. Dir: Linda Ohama. 94 min. DCP

XI. Obāchan’s Garden
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Linda Ohama’s graceful, sensitive film, a portrait of her 103-year-old obāchan (grandmother), uncovers long-buried secrets as it relates a remarkable family history and chronicles the Japanese-Canadian experience. Hiroshima-born Asayo Murakami came to Canada in 1923 as a “picture bride,” promised to a man she had never met. She settled in Steveston, B.C. This account of her personal journey touches on some momentous events of the last century: the 1923 Tokyo earthquake, World War II, Canada’s wartime internment of Japanese-Canadians, the atomic bombing of Asayo’s hometown. The story takes an unexpected turn when Ohama discovers her obāchan’s unknown past. The film blends documentary and archival material with dramatic re-creations. “Intensely emotional and ultimately inspiring ... Ohama succeeds in navigating the challenging waters of memory, history, and representation” (Elan Mastai, VIFF).

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Introduced by Kirk Tougas, Vancouver photographer, filmmaker, and Obāchan’s Garden cinematographer