Minari: Unsettling “Belonging” to Asian/Amerika

David (Alan S. Kim) and Soonja (Youn Yuh-jung) in a still from the film "Minari".

By: Victoria M. Huỳnh 

When Minari was omitted from the Golden Globes’ “main” categories for Best Picture, Asian diasporas came to its defense, arguing for its “all-Americanness” to make sense of their (un)placehood. But claims to Amerikanness are inherently predicated on settler-colonial logics of Indigenous and Black genocide, and on the dispossession of our own homelands.

Rather than claiming belonging to U.S. empire, I feel Minari serves a necessary and wholly different purpose: it powerfully unsettles Korean/American  — and potentially Asian/American — understandings of “belonging.” 

Note: This essay contains mild spoilers for the film ‘Minari’ which will be available for release on February 12, 2021.

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