77 minutes 2016, Canada
What emerges from a pile of deteriorating 16mm home movies spanning from 1936 to 1951, is a moving story of a Chinese American family set against the backdrop of race and class in Chicago, and one collector’s obsession with the 1933-4 World’s Fair.
Rescued from an online auction, the filmmakers’ quest to make meaning of this Chinese American family’s early home movies connects him with Irena Lum – the surviving daughter of graphic artist and collector, Silas Henry Fung.
Intertwining a first person narrative as an outside witness with family accounts and other commentators, Kazimi weaves a rich tapestry of the life of an unusually wealthy family of colour from the Depression era. The retrieved footage offers an intimate and radically different visual perspective on the Chinese American community in Chicago – with a surprising feminist twist. Visually rich and textured, unafraid to show the decaying patina of a family archive, Random Acts of Legacy revels in the making of home movies and memory.
“Best Documentarian – “In a city crowded with great documentary filmmakers — Allan King , John Walker , Richard Fung , Laura Sky , Peter Lynch — Ali Kazimi stands out. Trained as a cinematographer, he pays close attention to the visual plan of all his films. But it’s the larger project that’s impressive. Whether it’s the story of an Iroquois photographer, Canadian government racism or villagers resisting an Indian mega-dam, there’s a common thread. Kazimi’s films are both the ongoing diary of an immigrant and a wide-ranging critique of hidden power.”
–Best of Toronto 2005, Now Magazine
Producer: Ali Kazimi
Associate Producer: Heidi McKenzie
Director: Ali Kazimi
Writer: Ali Kazimi
Cinematographer: Ali Kazimi
Editor: Gary Popovich, Ali Kazimi
Music Director & Sound Designer: Phil Strong
Music: Phil Strong, Thomas Hoy
Produced with the generous support of The Canada Council for the Arts and The Toronto Arts Council
Telephone: (416) 351-1317
401 Richmond Street West, Suite 452 Toronto, Ontario M5V 3A8 Canada