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Editor's Introduction to Part Two, "Crossing the Rivers of Time and Oceans of Culture: The Uses of Film in American-East Asian Relations"

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The Editor's Introduction to Part One of this two-part theme issue described the articles and offered thoughts on ways of looking at film in American-East Asian relations. This essay, the Introduction to Part Two, weighs the rewards and problems of using fiction film to represent history and other cultures. The dilemma inherent in fiction is that if we portray the past and foreign cultures as being "just like us," we gain immediacy and connection, but at the cost of ignoring cultural difference and historical change. On the other hand, if we respect the "strangeness of the past," we gain authenticity, analytic truth, and responsibility but invite sterility, academic solipsism, and isolation from the public. The essay concludes with a list of questions on how to learn about art, politics, and business when we compare film cultures and national projects across the Pacific.


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