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City Borders

West Heavens Salon

City Borders

2014.03.08 Sat19: 00 to 2014.03.09 Sun21: 00

Y.W.C.A Building (133 Yuanmingyuan Road, Shanghai)

Film Screening:8th March Saturday 19:00 - 21:00

Reservationhttp://www.rockbundartmuseum.org/en/event/overview/025gvt

OST Live Performance:9th March Sunday 19:00-21:00

Reservation:http://www.rockbundartmuseum.org/en/event/overview/1e2gvu

Film Info: 

From Border to Border

Taiwan |2013

108 min|Color|HD 

Director: CHUNG, Shefong (Taiwan)  

Produced by trees music & art 

Taking place in Calcutta’s Chinatown, From Border to Border recalls the complicated relationship that continues to divide India’s ethnic Chinese and mainstream Indian communities.  Supposedly marked by social exclusion and self-segregation, the ethnic Chinese community has remained a mystery despite generations of living in India.  Through a collection of oral narratives, Chung Shefong and her film crew carefully uncover the intriguing yet troubled history of India’s Chinese community.  Starting from the Chinese community’s arrival in India in the 1800s, to the effects of the 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict, to their recent mass emigration, From Border to Border puts voices to faces as interviewees retell their histories and describe their experiences living with generational discrimination and alienation, cultural preservation and familial expectations.  

SUMMARY

Taking place in Calcutta’s Chinatown, From Border to Border recalls the complicated relationship that continues to divide India’s ethnic Chinese and mainstream Indian communities.  Supposedly marked by social exclusion and self-segregation, the ethnic Chinese community has remained a mystery despite generations of living in India.  Through a collection of oral narratives divided into chapters of the film, Chung Shefong and her film crew carefully uncover the intriguing yet troubled history of India’s Chinese community through a broad array of chapters.

Starting from the Chinese community’s arrival in India in the 1700s, to the effects of the 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict, to their recent mass emigration, From Border to Border puts voices to faces as interviewees retell their histories and describe the timeless struggles of immigration: generational discrimination and alienation, cultural preservation and familial expectations.

CHAPTERS

SUGAR, TEA, LEATHER  

Calcutta’s Chinatown is characterized by a mosaic of different Chinese migrations, each migration marked by a different sub-culture, language and occupation.  Starting in the 1780s in Achipur, the first Chinese settlers migrated to India to work in a sugar factory built by “Acchi,” the accredited founder of Calcutta’s Chinatown.  In the 1800s, more Cantonese settlers began immigrating to India as tea garden laborers or carpenters in the hills of Assam.  Finally, in the years leading up to World War I, Hakka Chinese began to build their own community around Dhapa (also called Tangra), a leather tanning community that later grew to include shoe shops and restaurants.  Interspersed within these migrations were Hubei folk dentists and Shandong silk hawkers. 

UNCLEAN 

As current members of the Chinese-Indian community open their doors to the film crew , they proudly explain their family’s backgrounds.  Most families came to India in search of economic opportunity, often willing to do work that was otherwise avoided or looked down upon by the Indian population.  As a result, the Chinese community remained a separate entity from the Indian community.

THE INDEPENDENCE ERA 

During the Independence Era, the Chinese community found themselves faced with questions of identity and national pride as British rule came to an end and Indians celebrated their autonomy.  At the same time, ties to the mainland were severed among individual families of the Chinese community as the Chinese Civil War in 1949 left many families unable to return to their homes in the mainland.

BORDERS  

For the Indian community, 1962 was a year of humiliation and instability.  But for the ethnic Chinese community, 1962 is a marker of tragedy and rejection.  Very similar to the Japanese-American internment, the Chinese-Indian internment marked the legalized persecution of 3,000 ethnic Chinese who were accused as spies working for the Communist government.  From 1962 to as long as 1968, families were interned in Deoli Internment Camp in Rajasthan, and under very poor conditions.  Even after their internment, Chinese families continued to face persecution, whether it was through travel restrictions, land confiscation or social exclusion

FACE  

Living among such a close-knit and tradition-bound community has proven difficult for both young and older Chinese alike.  Bound by expectations to maintain Chinese identity and to conform to cultural expectations, interviewees explain their struggles and triumphs in finding acceptance of their individuality.

SCENTS 

At one time, leather tanneries used to be the lifeblood of the Tangra community.  But once journalists began to point at the leather factories as a source of mass pollution, tanneries were shut down, disgruntling owners and workers and even causing many to emigrate.

LANGUAGES

LAST STOP 

Members of the Chinese community finally share their thoughts on the future and current status of the Chinese-Indian community.  Some individuals speak of their desire to remain in India and acceptance of an Indian identity, but also reaffirm occasional feelings of alienation among the Indian mainstream.  Others speak of the abundant opportunities and security in other countries.  Regardless of their individual hopes and aspirations, interviewees recall bittersweet experiences of growing up in India as a Chinese-Indian.