video still, A-DA-DA, 2002; courtesy of Artist

In Korea, A-DA-DA is an onomatopoetic name given to a person who stutters. A-DA-DA is conceived as a stuttering film, not a film about stuttering. The film endeavors to tell of the relationship between a Korean-born foreigner in America and his father in Korea, separated both culturally and generationally by the communication gap between them. The film assumes multiplicity in its filmic style and concept, similar to the way in which a stutterer repeatedly stops the speech that he has started. The multiple aspects of the film put the audience through a series of different modes in terms of their engagement with the story, from total detachment to forced emotional involvement; it delays the viewer's definition of the film's identity. I cast two Asian American non-professional actors in their youth in order to portray difference within sameness. The film is often interrupted by a voice, or I, that speaks different languages in the film: English, Korean with English subtitles, and plain text in English. This third character, I, eventually assumes a role, or a persona that exists as yet another foreigner to the audience within the film culture.


____ Artsonje