Sewing Woman (1982)
14min · Documentary, Short · 1 October 1982
Sewing Woman chronicles the bittersweet journey of one woman's determination to survive: from an arranged marriage in old China to working class comforts in modern America. Produced over 18 years ago, this classic film continues to screen widely and is now treasured by a new generation of film goers it is considered by many cinema enthusiasts as an early prototype for the personal-diary genre made popular today with the recent handi-cam video explosion. Sewing Woman is based on a series of oral histories and the life story of the filmmaker's mother, Zem Ping Dong, an immigrant who has worked in San Francisco garment factories for over 30 years. With a candid first-person monologue spoken by veteran actress Lisa Lu, Sewing Woman reveals an inner strength which guides a journey through oppressive Chinese customs, U.S. immigration policies, family separation, and the conflicts of assimilation in America. Sewing Woman's story is interwoven with rare footage shot in rural villages of China and in factories of San Francisco Chinatown, treasured home movies, and intimate family photographs.
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