“Tie A Yellow Ribbon”

A movie by Korean Adoptee filmaker Joy Dietrich. The official web site is here.

In the feature-length narrative film TIE A YELLOW RIBBON, Jenny Mason,
a Korean adoptee and aspiring photographer, walks the streets of New
York in a state of resigned indifference. Her days are spent with white
friends and colleagues, her nights with white men. She has no contact
with her Midwestern family due to a childhood indiscretion with her
white brother, Joe. She rejects any attachment, dumping men as fast as
she can pick them up. Yet she longs for a connection that would make
her feel at home — a home that she has lost and is forever seeking.

One day, her roommate asks her to move out, fanning her fears of
abandonment. But as one door closes, another opens. She moves in with
the beautiful but troubled Beatrice Shimizu and meets super-cool Simon
Chang, whose sister, Sandy, lives next door. Together they open a whole
new world for Jenny, an Asian American existence that she has never
explored. Her indifference toward life starts melting away, as she
embraces Bea, who battles her own self-esteem issues with family and a
philandering boyfriend, Phillip. Bea and Simon encourage and help
jumpstart Jenny’s career in photography.

Suddenly, Joe appears at her door, stirring up long lost feelings that
she has tried to bury. As Jenny searches for a voice and photographic
style that she can call her own, she finds that she must face her
unresolved feelings toward her brother and family, and ultimately
reconcile her identity as an Asian American.

Making her feature debut, writer-director Joy Dietrich, also a Korean
adoptee, introduces audiences to the world of Asian American young
women and delicately addresses the abnormally high rates of depression
and suicide among Asian American girls, creating a work great
compassion and poetic beauty.

Author: JaeRan

Assistant professor at UW Tacoma, writer, and researcher.

5 thoughts

  1. Thanks for the heads up on this — I actually went and saw it this afternoon.
    I’m still processing it a bit, but hope to write about it at some point in the future.

  2. Looks very intriguing.
    But she fell/continues to fall in love with her adoptive brother? That sounds…uhhh…interesting?? -_-

  3. This msg is in response to Mee-Hee. Did you see the movie yet? I would have liked to see a more obvious critique of the relationship with her brother; however, I believe the filmmaker used the metaphor of the car to act as a symbol of what was really going on. Let me see if I remember the events correctly: Jenny fantasizes about her brother coming back to her; she doesn’t reach out to him. He shows up one day, unannounced. They drive to a beach getaway; he is driving the car. Towards the end of the trip, she can sense that her friend, Bea, is in trouble and needs her, but her brother refuses to cut the trip short.

  4. Her brother is (and always was) driving the car. It isn’t until she gathers rage towards him, that she’s able to get him to stop the car herself. Then she finally gets to go home to her new friends, which are – essentially – parts of her. Well, that’s how I interpreted the power dynamics of the relationship. I’m really curious what other people thought.

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