For class, we watched some films to decide whether to include them in this year’s film festival, and one of the films we had to watch was called “I Am Jupiter, I Am the Biggest Planet.” Another film we had to watch was called “The Secret Life of Asian Americans.” Only one of these films actually depicted Asian Americans and showed some of the struggles and experiences of Asian Americans…and that film was “The Secret Life of Asian Americans.”
This short film revolves around a Filipino American college student who is striving to become a filmmaker. In his film, he talks about microaggressions he deals with such as being labeled a Pacific Islander and not Asian American by other people. He also tells viewers how he felt when the Academy Awards last year tried to be very diverse, yet made jokes at the expense of Asians.
This film is, of course, not perfect. There are still audio and editing issues, but the message is real. I have never related more to a piece of media before in my life. On the other hand “I Am Jupiter, I Am the Biggest Planet” confused me because it is not an Asian American film. It is a film that so happens to be directed by an Asian American. The film takes place in the Philippines and tells the story of prostitutes. There are actually no Asian Americans in this film. No Asian American issues are brought up and if this film were to be shown at the festival it would be problematic. It would be problematic because it is not an Asian American film. Representation matters so why not show a film that talks about the struggles of being Asian American in media as opposed to a film about prostitutes in a Asian American film festival?