Rabbit in the Moon

Austin Chronicle

DIRECTED BY: Emiko Omori

REVIEWED: 03-29-99

Proving yet again that documentary filmmaking is a paramount attraction of film festivals these days, Emiko Omori's brilliant, affecting, though occasionally dry recounting of the travails of Japanese-Americans during WWII uses survivors of the forced relocation camps to tell the story of the hidden outrage of American history. In the wake of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, thousands of naturalized and second-generation Japanese-Americans (Nisei) were shunted off to internment camps spread across the U.S., from Arkansas to Idaho. With families split up and their constitutional rights trampled, they were forced to exist apart in a country into which they, ironically, only wished to assimilate. Omori, herself a survivor of the camps, paints a grim picture of hovels and horrors, rioting at Manzanar and food shortages, untethered racism, and broken spirits that clearly echoes the plight of Native Americans 100 years before.

--Marc Savlov

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