Film Screening: The Undesirables + When The Sea Sends Forth A Forest

Film Screening: The Undesirables + When The Sea Sends Forth A Forest Film: Film Screening: The Undesirables + When The Sea Sends Forth A Forest
Open Eye Gallery, L3 1BP
Date(s): 24/08/2023
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Film Screening: The Undesirables + When The Sea Sends Forth A Forest

Thur 24 Aug / 6–8pm / Open Eye Gallery


As part of Independents Biennial 2023, Hester Yang will be showing The Undesirables, a developmental mixed-media film that looks into the hidden histories of the Chinese community in post-war Liverpool, with a particular focus on the gaps within archival materials and collective memory.

The event will share two short films, one by Hester Yang, and the 2020 film by Guangli Liu, When the Sea sends forth a Forest. Both films chart hidden migration histories of the Chinese diaspora.

Following the screenings, Hester Yang will be joined in conversation by Emily Beswick, a PhD student whose research centres on family photographs and Chinese migration in Liverpool.

Doors open 6pm

The Undesirables
Dir Hester Yang, 2022, UK, 19min
The term “undesirable” refers to a Home Office fIle HO 213/926 titled “Forced repatriation of Undesirable Chinese seamen”. It’s used to describe a communIty of Chinese migrant workers whose presence is seen as a problem and no longer welcomed when the war ended. In the mid to late 1940s, groups of Chinese seamen disappeared from the streets of Liverpool and were never to be heard from again, leaving behind hundreds of families who lived in the belief that they had been abandoned. The truth of the event was shrouded in secrecy for over half a century and to this day, many details still remain elusive and incomplete.

Working closely with families affected by the forced repatriations and the subsequent fifty years of concealment, the project is rooted in their lived experience as well as ruptures in the wider community. Their disjointed first person accounts come together to form a collective telling of shared experiences, serving not only as testimony to the historical injustice but also intergenerational trauma and lost identity.

When the Sea sends forth a Forest 直到海里长出森林
Dir Guangli Liu, 2020, France, 21min
“It was 1974, war had lasted for years…” So begins the memory of an old Chinese man who lived through the regime of the Khmer Rouge. Guangli Liu’s film is a collective imagination of that lost history based on propaganda videos and the disaster videos which spread throughout the world after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Narrated through the autobiographical voice, a tender, personal history unfurls as a virtual reality of an imagined recent past.

Hester Yang:
Emily Beswick:
Guangli Liu:


Image: Hester Yang

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