In a collage-like short film, UK filmmaker Christina Poon looks at her own family, in an attempt to find resolve on her and her brother's differing connection to their British-Chinese identity, and the factors that have contributed.
A mix of home VHS-8 footage from childhood, present-day interviews with family and re-enacted scenes, direct us through the jumble of realisations the siblings have whilst connecting their childhood and teenage experience to their feelings towards their Chinese heritage, now. What's interesting is how different that is for brother and sister, Jamie and Christina, and how that reflects on the whole family.
Christina Poon 'Looking back to my family's collection of photos, I was drawn to one of a wintermelon my mum had grown in our garden. It was a vivid memory for me since other families grew flowers whereas we were growing Asian vegetables in the UK weather. I wanted to use the this vegetable as a symbol for my brother and my view on cultural identity - through the mild taste and how it’s hidden behind our house.
However, it had turned out it wasn’t a wintermelon but a fig leaf gourd. Despite this. I still wanted to learn more about it so I talked about the fig leaf gourd with my Mum and found out it was used as a substitute for wintermelon for Chinese families in the UK due to its ability to grow in less humid climates. It was as if our family never had a piece of China in our home, but rather our version that we’ve developed and adapted.
Admittedly it was frightening to explore my British-Chinese identity since I’m representing ideas from being in my community, but there was a sense of comfort that identity is not fixed, but is built from different routes. There is no right way to tell these stories. Through Wintermelon, I found solace in the idea that I had an opportunity to relay this array of voices and be able to display these individual layers through filmmaking.'
Director - @christinawjp.design