The plight of the Korean minority in Japan was brought home to me once when a Japanese friend told me a story from her childhood. One day a girl she'd been friends with for years revealed that her family was Zainichi—ethnic Koreans living in Japan. In light of the serious discrimination she'd face if the rest of the school found out, my friend was sworn to secrecy.
Pacchigi! (We Shall Overcome Someday), which is screening as part of Duke's East Asian Cinema series, is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet, only with warring gangs of ethnic Korean and Japanese students. It's set in Kyoto in 1968, and though the subject of Zainichi acceptance is a serious one, the film isn't always so. Directed by Kazuyuki Izutsu, who got his start in the porn industry in the '70s, Pacchigi! is loaded with broad comedy and cartoonish fight scenes. Nonetheless, it won a number of prestigious awards when it was released in 2004. —Marc Maximov