Slow Boats to China
Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
Tri-College users only until 2026-01-01, afterwards Open Access.
Slow Boat to China is a film about diasporic body and diasporic consciousness. I casted myself and my friend, Margin Zheng, to together capture a sense of solitude and rootlessness that are entangled with both dream and reality. Besides us, water and boat are also the main characters of this movie. They are historically significant as symbols of the "roots and routes'' of Chinese diaspora, and therefore carry memories, pains and pleasures generation after generation. I did not come to the U.S through a boat, neither did Margin, but that is because we were born in the age of airplanes and high speed railways. Boats are slow, and that is why they are no longer an experience that is available for many. Yet slowness is so important in an age of acceleration, especially for the Chinese diaspora community in the U.S. We are often seen as the agents of transnational capitalism that centers around high mobility and fast accumulation of wealth. This film is made to provide an alternative to that through a deliberate use of slow-pace editing and meditative soundscape.