One Book, One Philadelphia:
3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19104
dir. Kayo Hatta, 1994, U.S., color, 90mins. – in English and Japanese with subtitles
In celebration of One Book, One Philadelphia—A Project of the Office of the Mayor and the Free Library of Philadelphia
At the beginning of the 20th century, Hawaii’s economy was dominated by the export of sugar cane, and, to boost production, plantation owners imported workers from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and other countries. Men arrived in droves, with illusions of getting rich. Reality, of course, was far from the dream, so, instead of wealth, they sought the comfort and stability of a family. As Hawaii lacked an abundance of available women, the eventual solution was the concept of the “photo marriage.”
More than 20,000 picture brides came to Hawaii between 1907 and 1924, primarily from Japan and Korea. Most were young and, armed only with a photograph of their intended groom, they arrived to find hardship and disillusionment. In person, the men often bore little resemblance to their black-and-white representations, and the day-to-day work that awaited the new wives was grueling. City girls especially had a hard time coping.
Picture Bride was an Official Selection at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, received an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best first film, and won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award in 1995 for Best Dramatic Film.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion.