Daughters Of The Cloth

February 19, 2010

Directed by Seung Hyun Yoo

Daughters of the Cloth (2000) profiles a Korean American mom-and-pop operation in Los Angeles' garment district, depicting the perpetual struggle to keep business afloat amidst economic woes. The documentary begins with the Bangs, a husband and wife who opened their sewing contracting company two years after their 1977 emigration from South Korea; it then zooms in on the manufacturing and sewing company founded by the Bangs' daughters upon their parents' retirement in the 1990s. Both generations struggle to navigate the industry's ups and downs, which include communicating with their Spanish-speaking workers, cost-cutting and dealing with auditors. First-time documentarian Yoo fails to engage the authence fully; Cloth Is mostly a series of interview segments, sans narration, which rather slowly ekes out the Bangs' story. Still, viewers will get the gist: Running a family business is tough, and everyone gets to share the burden as well as the profit. DVD available through the Center for Asian American Media. - Elaine Low