The Stream

Is Minari the movie to unite America?

On Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 19:30 GMT:
A new award-winning film about a struggling Korean immigrant family is garnering praise for its unique take on the American dream.

Minari, directed and written by Lee Isaac Chung, follows the Yi family as the patriarch attempts to start a farm in 1980s Arkansas. It explores universal themes about love, hard work, disappointment and resilience, and is the first Asian American produced, directed and cast film to be nominated for the Academy Awards. It is nominated in six categories, including Best Picture.

Its lead, Steven Yeun, also made Oscar history as the first Asian American to be nominated in the Best Actor category.

For many Asian Americans, euphoria over the film’s success comes at a difficult time. Anti-Asian hate crimes have spiked some 150 percent in the United States, a backlash that reportedly stems from negative stereotyping of Asians amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the worst crimes was a recent shooting in Georgia that left six Asian women dead. Authorities there have drawn sharp criticism for saying the alleged shooter was not racially motivated.

“In less than 48 hours, we had a historic Asian Oscar moment with multiple firsts in 93 years – then a mass shooting targeting 3 Asian-owned businesses,” tweeted author Min Jin Lee. “This is how terrorism works – you’re not allowed to feel safe, accepted, or valued. We can resist. Take up space. Make noise.”

In this episode of The Stream, we ask, is Minari the movie to unite America? Join the conversation.

In this episode of the Stream, we speak to:
Esther Yoon-Ji Kang, @estheryjkang
Reporter, WBEZ

Anthony Ocampo, @anthonyocampo
Scholar and Writer

Bing Chen, @BingChen
Co-Founder, GoldHouse