Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

Maxine Hong Kingston: Talking Story

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $250.00 Home use: $50.00
  • Date: Copyright 1990. Released 1991.
  • Descriptors: Kingston, Maxine Hong. Authors - American. American literature. Women - Authors.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Joan Saffa, Stephen Talbot, Gayle K. Yamada. Directed by Joan Saffa. Narrated by B. D. Wong. Color. English, Chinese. Subtitled. 60 min.
  • Production Company: KQED, San Francisco
  • Available from: CrossCurrent Media 346 9th Street, 2nd Floor San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 552-9550
  • Cataloging: 810 Kingston, Maxine Hong - Interviews|| Authors, Chinese American - Biography|| Chinese American women - Biography
  • Awards: CINE Golden Eagle, 1990.
  • Print Entry #: 3:1171
  • Reviewer: Deborah Matthews

    Maxine Hong Kingston: Talking Story gives viewers the opportunity to hear this storyteller speak from her heart about what motivates her to create: a turbulent haunting of ancestors, her cultural heritage, sexual and racial oppression, and her search for self. These elements combine, welling up inside of her, and escape beyond the taboo of silence to release emotional accounts of her people and their past. In a gentle voice she talks to the viewer about her family, her life, and her art as if we are physically present. This ability to connect is what makes her such a powerful storyteller. This video is an effective conduit for her message, masterfully blending words and pictures.

    Each aspect of production is sensitive to the subject, allowing Kingston to lead us along a fascinating path of discovery. There is a natural flow of stories about her life and growth, as a writer and a person, that is always woven into her past. We feel how inextricably bonded she is to her ancestors, because it is through her that they speak to us. It is also through them that she is able to understand herself. By touching the past, she can come into her own, always journeying, restless to bring her next story to life.

    The technical aspects of the program flow harmoniously, never distracting, always enhancing Kingston's focus. Music and editing support the continuity of the well-written script. Skillful editing yields no distractions so that the viewer is able to let Kingston's words captivate the imagination.

    Many of the tales that Kingston relates emanate from her ancestors and the suffering they endured. She believes that by remembering the pain and by telling their stories, they can have immortality. The living, in turn, can understand themselves by exploring the past. This program is a gentle yet profound presentation that not only provides insight and interpretation for readers of Kingston's works, but challenges as well to explore ourselves.

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