The Austin Chronicle

Dreams, Journeys, Disasters, and Joy

October 5, 2007, Screens

Made in China

D: John Helde

A personal and pensive examination of what we call "home." In this case, filmmaker John Helde delves into his father's childhood – not such an unusual approach, except for the fact that his father, along with a large coterie of others in his generation, grew up in pre-World War II China while their parents worked for Christian-based organizations like the YMCA. Through interviews with his at-first-reticent father, archival photos, tracking down his father's peers, and finally making a trip to China himself, Helde takes a refreshing approach to the subject of home, homeland, the powerful imprint of childhood, and the peculiar wonder of discovering your parents were once children, too. At the same time, he illuminates a nearly forgotten history experienced by a rapidly passing generation, one brought into relief thanks to Helde's highly engaging obsession. – Belinda Acosta

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