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Women’s Edge Film Series: The Grace Lee Project

By AMANDA SCHURR
[ONE NIGHT ONLY] Grace Lee is an intelligent, well-liked, soft-spoken young American woman born of Korean immigrants. The issue is that she is far from alone. With more than 2,000 documented Grace Lees in the U.S. alone, it seems most everyone knows a Grace Lee, and most every Grace Lee is described in similar terms—with a disconcerting emphasis on the words “petite” and “nice,” even from some Grace Lees about other Grace Lees. “Does any other name scream ‘generic Asian girl’?” asks the director of The Grace Lee Project, who is one such Grace Lee herself. Starting online, the Missouri native eventually travels the world to meet fellow Grace Lees, who she finds reinforce the stereotypes as much as they defy them. Among the scholars and concert pianists, she discovers an 88-year-old social activist often referred to as “Grace X” for her work in the Black Power movement, and a deaf woman who survived an abusive adoptive family to take in other victims of domestic violence. The filmmaker is an affable guide, and her deadpan, self-deprecating delivery buoys an already slight look at identity. Ultimately, though, The Grace Lee Project suffers from its own timidity, touching upon gender, assimilation, sexuality, religion and pop culture (who knew Grace Kelly worship was such a factor?), without drawing any conclusions other than the obvious: We’re different, but we’re in this together. It’s a pleasant enough personal quest that doesn’t really go anywhere.
 

Special Note

Clinton Street Theater. 7 pm Tuesday, July 9
 
  • Genres: Documentary
  • Running Time: 68 minutes
  • Release Date: Friday, March 11, 2005
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English
  • Critic's Score: B-
  • Directed by: Grace Lee [Director], Grace Lee [Writer], Amy Ferraris [Writer], Grace Lee [Producer], In-Ah Lee [Executive Producer]
  • Watch the trailer
 

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