UC Berkeley Library

Korean Americans


An extensive documentary of the history of Korean American immigration to the United States. Pt. 1 covers early Korean immigration, beginning with a three-year period starting in 1903 when more than 7,000 Koreans left their strife-torn homeland for new lives on the sugar plantations of Hawaii. Pt. 2 explores the expansion of Korean immigration after the Korean War and changes in U.S. immigration law during the 1960s. 47 min.

Be Good, My Children

An irreverent drama about a Korean immigrant family in New York City, whose members each have very different ideas about what life should be like in their adopted homeland. Raises issues affecting many immigrant communities: racism, sexism, representation of Asians in the media. A film by Christine Chang. 47 min.

Black Hair and Black-eyed

A film by Julie Whang. From what sources does a young Korean-American lesbian draw her sense of identity? er mother, from fashion magazines, from the boy she dances with, or the girl she sleeps with, or her own barren apartment? 1994. 9 min.

Breaking Bread

A documentary and two shorts by director Hamid Rahmanian. In Breaking bread, a slice-of-life documentary depicts a Korean-American family who invites an Iranian friend for their father's last meal. The joining of disparate cultures affords an unusual chance to examine the interaction of disparate perspectives through the common human realities of food and death.

Camp Arirang

Filmmakers explore prostitution near American military bases in South Korea and examine the lives of the sex workers and their Amerasian children who live in U.S. camp towns throughout South Korea. Through interviews with the workers, soldiers and scholars the film examines the historical roots of the problem and the complicity of the Korean and American governments. 1995. 28 min.
Dist. by Center for Asian American Media

Daughters of the Cloth

A portrait of a Korean immigrant family, working in the downtown Los Angeles garment industry. Mr. and Mrs. Bang worked for over 17 years in the business, starting out as sewing laborers and later founding their own sewing contracting company. Now retired, they watch as their three daughters, navigate various levels of the industry. From a retailer at the top, a manufacturer and a contractor in the middle, to workers at the bottom, the Bang daughters search to find their place within a cutthroat apparel business.

Fighting Grandpa

A sensitive and probing portrayal of Korean immigrant grandparents and their marriage. Grandma, left alone with four children for ten years in Korea, while her husband studied in America, was finally brought to Hawaii where she endured new hardships. Now, after 70 years of marriage, when grandpa dies, grandma's stoicism gives way to a piercing grief which surprises and confounds her family. Director/writer/cinematographer, Greg Pak. 1998. 21 min.
Dist. by Center for Asian American Media catalog description

First-Person Plural

In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams led Borshay Liem to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, filmmaker Borshay Liem's journey makes a poignant essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities. Written, directed, and produced by Deann Borshay Liem. 1999. 59 min.

Great Girl

This film follows Kim Su Theiler who came to America as a child adoptee, as she returns to Korea looking for her birth mother. Drawn from personal experience, this film is an evocative and poetic drama about al and cultural disorientation. A film by Kim Su Theiler. 1994. 14 min.


Sensitive story of generation and cultural differences that occur when a Korean grandmother visits her daughter, American son-in-law, and bi-racial granddaughter in the United States. 30 min.