Rose Khor

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August Moon, Safe Light

2010. Digital video, still images, sound
9:44 min.

August Moon, Safe Light is an experimental film that reworks dramatized images of the post-World War II American occupation of Japan. In the making of this film, the filmmaker rescues a rare archive of behind-the-scenes pictures of the Hollywood comedy, The Teahouse of the August Moon (1956), set in Okinawa starring Machiko Kyô, Glenn Ford, and Marlon Brando in “yellowface.” The film’s tone is a quiet reflection of the artist’s desire to understand history through lost documents. August Moon, Safe Light uses montage to reassemble the actors’ gestures, interactions, and speech to look critically at America’s role on the world stage. Our national consciousness is directed towards this historical moment as a means of examining race, gender, and cultural relations between the United States and Japan. The film compels the audience to view social and political histories from a different lens, focused on the margins of media.