Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the US in 1966. Told to keep her true identity a secret from her new American family, this eight-year-old girl quickly forgot she was ever anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers.
It follows acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem as she returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America. Traversing the landscapes of memory, amnesia and identity, while also uncovering layers of misinformation in her adoption, this moving and provocative film probes the ethics of international adoptions and reveals the cost of living with someone else’s identity. Part mystery, part personal odyssey, it raises fundamental questions about who we are…and who we could be but for the hands of fate.
A poignant culmination of the journey begun in First Person Plural. The film will elicit provocative discussions about identity, race, the politics and ethics of international adoption, and ideas of nation and belonging.
Elaine H. Kim, Professor, Asian American Studies, U.C. Berkeley
a brilliant and moving film that demonstrates how abstract debates over family, race, class and identity both arise out of and inform a life...It is an excellent resource for classes in the humanities and social sciences concerned with cultural interaction and the complexity of family and identity.
Sally Haslanger, Professor of Philosophy, Director, Women's and Gender Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
a fascinating look into one woman's personal story of transnational adoption and also a rare window onto the experiences of a generation of working class women in South Korea
Eleana Kim, Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of Rochester
IN THE MATTER OF CHA JUNG HEE is an exquisitely crafted film that should be in every school library
Ann Fessler, Professor, Rhode Island School of Design, filmmaker and author of "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade (The Penguin Press, 2006)
With her unique ability to mix personal perspective to larger institutional issues, Deann Borshay Liem has created two films that are important contributions to the exploration of the complexity of transnational and transracial adoption.
Beth Hall, Executive Director, PACT - An Adoption Alliance