August 1, 2008

Directed by Tadashi H. Nakamura

When people of Japanese descent were placed in Internment camps following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it had a profound effect on the Nisei (second) generation that would remain largely unknown. Preferring not to speak of their experience, it took another generation to find out what incarceration was like in these camps. In director Tadashi H. Nakamura's 20-minute documentary, Pilgrimage, he juxtaposes the experience of Japanese Americans at Manzanar with post-9/11 hypernationalism. Nakamura relates the experiences of Japanese Americans following Pearl Harbor to Muslim and Arab Americans following the fall of the World Trade Center. Mixing never before aired footage of the first pilgrimage to Manzanar in 1969 with video of modern day trips that continue today, Nakamura is able to craft a moving documentary on uncovering an unimaginable experience, and at the same time celebrates the Nisei generation and Japanese culture. The Pilgrimage DVD features a study guide for teachers, additional interviews with survivors of Manzanar and extra footage of the 1969 and 2005 pilgrimages to Manzanar. -D.G.

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