Honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage

Explore films from the Duke Libraries to educate yourself about the significant contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to U.S. culture, and as a reminder of ongoing challenges they face, along with the anti-racist work that we have yet to do.


Directed by Celine Parreñas Shimizu, 2021

The Celine Archive  
Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
The Celine Archive is simultaneously an act of journalism, a journey into family and community memory and archives, a love poem, a story of grief and trauma, and a séance for the buried history of Filipino-Americans. Filmmaker and scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu artfully weaves together her own story of grief with the story of the tragic death of Celine Navarro, which has become lore. In 1932, Navarro was buried alive by her own community of Filipino-Americans in Northern California, but the circumstances surrounding her death were and are unclear and have oft been spun, sensationalized, and dramatized. The filmmaker, a grieving mother with ties to the same community, finds resonance with Navarro’s memory and long-lost story, and she sets out to first learn — and then tell — the truth about Navarro’s death, ultimately portraying her as a feminist heroine.

PBS, 2020

Asian Americans
Lilly DVD 33607 | Streaming video –
Duke netid/password required
Asian Americans
is a five-hour film PBS series that delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. As America becomes more diverse, and more divided, while facing unimaginable challenges, how do we move forward together? Told through intimate and personal lives, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played in shaping the nation’s story.

 

PBS, 2018

The Chinese Exclusion Act
DVD 31536 | Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
This American Experience documentary examines the origin, history and impact of the 1882 law that made it illegal for Chinese workers to come to America and for Chinese nationals already here ever to become U.S. citizens. The first in a long line of acts targeting the Chinese for exclusion, it remained in force for more than 60 years.

 

dir. by Puhipau and Joan Lander, 2005

Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege 
Streaming video – Duke netid/password required
Inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress for 2020Mauna Kea: Temple Under Siege paints a portrait of a mountain that has become a symbol of the Hawaiian struggle for physical, cultural and political survival. The program explores conflicting forces as they play themselves out in a contemporary island society where cultures collide daily. In an effort to find commonalities among indigenous people elsewhere regarding sacred mountains, the documentary visits Apache elders of Arizona who face the reality of telescope development on their revered mountain, Dzil Nchaa Si An, known as Mt. Graham.

 

directed by Renee Tajima-Peña, 1996


My America, or Honk if you Love Buddha
Lilly DVD 33771
The director of Who Killed Vincent Chin?  takes to the road to see what it means to be Asian American in our rapidly-changing society.

Directed by Christine Choy and Renee Tajima, 1990

 

Who Killed Vincent Chin?
Lilly DVD 28025  |   Streaming video –  Duke netid/password required
This Academy-Award nominated film is a powerful statement about racism in working-class America. It relates the stark facts of Vincent Chin’s brutal murder. Outrage filled the Asian-American community, after his accused murderer received a suspended sentence and a small fine, to the point where they organized an unprecedented civil rights protest. His bereaved mother, brought up to be self-effacing, successfully led a nationwide crusade for a retrial. This tragic story is interwoven with the whole fabric of timely social concerns. It addresses issues such as the failure of our judicial system to value every citizen’s rights equally, the collapse of the automobile industry under pressure from Japanese imports, and the souring of the American dream for the blue collar worker.

Asian and Asian American Film

Looking for Feature Films and more?

Lilly Library’s collection of feature films about Asian American and Pacific Islanders is rich and deep! Classic films, romantic comedies, family dramas, etc., created by Asians and Asian Americans are available to entertain and inspire you.

Discover the Duke Libraries’ collection of DVDs and streaming video platforms to watch Crazy Rich Asians, The Farewell, Joy Luck Club , The Namesake and Minari along with a host of other great movies.

Streaming Access available via Duke netid/password.

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