Xmas Without China
Airs Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV
Friday, November 22, 2013
Credit: Courtesy of Hee-Jae Park
Imagine living a month without the ubiquitous “Made in China” label on anything you purchase. Now imagine that month is December. One All-American family accepts this challenge from Chinese immigrant Tom Xia, who moved to the U.S. as a boy and wanted to explore the material relationship between his new home and his native one.
The rules: One family must remove everything made in China from their home (temporarily) while not purchasing anything new with that label for an entire holiday season.
In Alicia Dwyer’s film "Xmas Without China," there’s comedy and tragedy, but more than that questions of family, success, and consumerism that swirl around our idea of personal identity. "Xmas Without China," premiered at the SXSW Film Festival.
In the film, the Jones family gives up not just toys, plates, lamps, and clothes, but their beloved hair dryer, coffeemaker, XBox, and many Christmas decorations, challenging the way they both live everyday life and celebrate Christmas.
Meanwhile, Tom's parents construct a new home, using Chinese materials to proudly build their American dream. As they decorate for Christmas for the first time and the interactions between the Xias and the Joneses intensify, Tom realizes that he’s on a deeper journey to understand the complexities of his own divided loyalties between America and China.
"Xmas Without China" is a playful yet poignant exploration of America’s increasing interdependence with China in a time when, as President Obama says, “the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century.”
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