Film Image
18 minutes


"undertow" is an experimental short film which explores how the loss of family and culture can affect one's body consciousness and sexuality. It juxtaposes one adopted woman's reconstructed search for her birth mother (through a bleak urban landscape towards a phone booth) with the attempt to connect mind and body. Through multi-layered incorporation of text, dramatic and documentary footage, voice-over body movement, the internal challenges of crawling back into a murky past are revealed. "undertow" represents the pain and struggle of fighting against the forces--or currents (the undertow)--which seek to trap us and prevent us from knowing ourselves.
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Higher Education Institutions DVD Sale $200.00
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"A silent young woman, searching for her birth mother, wanders through a bleak, urban landscape, her body in pain. Text, sound and movement are combined in 'undertow' to create a sense of alienation and displacement." - Ming Yuen S. Ma, 1996 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film & Video Festival
"... powerful in how it externalizes personal reflection, 'undertow' speaks to issues concerning young people." - Kris Sorenson, Media Educator
"Continuing from her first piece, 'living in half tones,' 'Undertow' allows a creative process to bridge the gap between the real and the unknown. In this new piece, Ahn goes to a new level with vigorous use of sound to forward the images." - In-fin Tuan, Angles: Women Working in Film & Video

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TWN acknowledges that in New York we are on the unceded territory of the Lenni Lenape, Canarsie, Shinecock, and Munsee peoples and challenges the harm that continues to be inflicted upon Indigenous and People of Color communities here and abroad, which is why we all need to be part of the struggle for rights, equality and justice.

TWN is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Color Congress, MOSAIC, New York Community Trust, Peace Development Fund, Ford Foundation, Golden Globe Foundation, Kolibri Foundation and individual donors.