The #7 Train: An Immigrant Journey | Chicago Reader

The #7 Train: An Immigrant Journey

According to video makers Hye Jung Park and J.T. Takagi, every day more than half a million people from 117 countries ride New York's number seven subway line, which travels from Queens to Times Square. This half-hour video focuses on four of them: a gay Pakistani who works as a fabric salesman, a Korean who manages a fish store in Harlem, and two Indian women who peddle goods in the streets of Chinatown. The subjects go about their business, talking about their hopes, frustrations, and fears, but it's a bad sign when Park and Takagi allow some of them to wallow in narcissistic display. Like a school project, this is enthusiastic in its kaleidoscopic coverage but superficial in its investigation. In Madeleine Lim's amateurish Sambal Belacam in San Francisco (25 min.) three expatriate Singaporean lesbians talk ad nauseam about their lives and desires, as if they've been in group therapy too long. They're seen preparing the title dish, a chili-and-shrimp paste popular in Malaysian cuisine, but for some reason their faces are hidden. On the same program: Melanie Liwanag Aguila's Bacon, Scott Catolico's Smoking Can Kill You, Nisha Ganatra's Chutney Popcorn, and His Distance Between Us, another ingenious live/animation short from Kevin D'Souza.

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