Grace Lee — the name, the movie

Korean-American filmmaker Grace Lee has made a movie about her own very common name, those who share it with her, and what cultural implications it may have, both in the West and Asia.

Here is the opening of one reviewer’s description of the film:

Smartly counterprogrammed opposite the orientalized depictions of Asian femininity in Memoirs of a Geisha, The Grace Lee Project is a breezy first-person video essay that goes in search of the average Asian American woman, all the while wondering if there is in fact such a thing. Early in her documentary, filmmaker Grace Lee points out that almost everyone knows a Grace Lee, and what’s more, is inclined to describe her the same way: nice, intelligent, quiet, sweet, studious, sort of forgettable. (Oh, and plays the violin.) Even G.L.’s often think of other G.L.’s—and of themselves—in those non- descript terms. Intrigued and disconcerted by the oppressive commonness of her name—and even more so by the perceived attributes that cling to it—Lee sets out to humanize the sociocultural abstraction and statistical mean that is “Grace Lee.”

Although the film premiered in late 2005 and received good reviews, it is not yet commercially available on DVD.

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