Banana in a nutshell

  • the long tail

    A lot can happen in 9 years.

    I co-wrote and directed a dramatic feature film adaptation of Banana in a Nutshell, called My Wedding and other Secrets; I started a family, I become closer to my parents than I had been in a long time, and I mended some of the bridges I had damaged in making this original documentary.

    I learnt a lot about myself, my flaws, my limitations. I talked a lot, (over)shared a lot, listened a lot.

    And then Banana in a Nutshell slowly withdrew from my life. I moved onto other projects, the identity questions I had been so preoccupied with for years just sort of... dissipated. Every now and again, people would mention the film, and I would remember with a start, this thing I'd done so long ago. I didn't know how to feel about that. Who does that, make a documentary about themselves? Why did I do that? Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of it, and I would probably do it again. But I can't watch it any more. It's strange having this document of yourself, crystallising who you were, what you thought. I've changed a lot. For the better? Well, I hope so, but I can't tell from where I'm standing.

    I assumed the film would fade into obscurity in a few years, but I didn't count on the entire landscape of film/TV/screen content changing so drastically. I used to have to go bin-diving or VHS-copying for old films - never before have we had so much access to screen stories, never before have we been able to delve into the little niches and hidey holes of our watching pleasure. I'm just adding my little film to the big downloady bin out there just in case someone goes diving for it. I hope someone out there finds it worth a watch.

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  • from the mailbox

    At the end of the original 55-minute film, I mentioned that I would like to hear more stories like mine. Here's one of the few I received through email:


    no doubt you've recieved and will get many emails such as these, but i just needed to say thank you for crystalising my greatest fears and thoughts in a movie...

    the whole time i was watching this film i felt as if it was my story...

    having gone thru and fought the same battles and feeling all the same feelings and fearing all the same things i cry and cried and cried while watching your movie. my teeshirt was wet down the front when the lights came up... the most moving and compelling scene in your movie was where you stood in front of a white screen and described your relationship with your father and the lack of heartfelt words. i recalled every moment where i wished he would have said i love you or im proud of you or whatever the "correct" western phrase is for whatever moment.

    of course my fight was slightly different in that i am an only child, with that i have little emperor privilages and with that i must pave my own path and fight my own battles alone. i too lived like you did staying with my then boyfriend till he was ready for bed then drove home to my half room at my parents house and then sleeping till breakfast (which my mother cooked :) but i unlike you called thier bluff... i did feel at the time "for what am i to lose? i barely understand thier ways and they barely talk to me" its never really been the same, but it will never be the way my western mind (and heart) wants it to be. i went thru a very akward period (of about four years) where i had barley any contact with my parents and most of any thing said was thru my aunt (my yi, mothers younger sister :)

    i dont regret anything i did or said as it all leads me to where i am today, and i please with the out come, i turned the tables and i have some power in that i can do what i want and be who i want to be and i stand in noone shadows that doesnt mean i dont love my parents beucase i do, but i needed them to know more than anything that i was prepared to scrafice anything to be my own person and deep down all along i knew as western as i am they will still love me

    today i live with my american (white, blond with long surfie hair no less) fiance in a shoe box apartment in town... we have dinner about once a week with my parents and its become a relaxed social thing with reserved laughter and a few cans of brewskis, and not the akward not sure what to talk about next wanting to be polite but knowing that his skin wont change colour anytime soon and thats the only real deal breaker.

    my next deliema (as there shall always be one) is that what is a "wedding" meant to be like? there are really no "between ground" traditions, as white is the colour of funerals (it would be like going to your wedding in black, according to them) and a church is definaly not appropriate as im not religious (nor is my fiance) and dont even get me started on the food or the cake or even the wine... so im postponing it till i come up with a better plan.

    anyways, sorry about ranting but knowing that your of the same breed with obiviously some insight in to the whole ordeal perhaps you have some light to shed, perhaps it could be your next movie, i would love to know what your parents thought of the movie or if they even saw it... anyways, thanks agian for telling the rest of the world whats its like, and thank you for to steven for setting the standard for my partner. and being a willing participant in the akward half culture that we share.

    born in PR China
    arrived in Auckland 1980s (5 years old)
    feeling lost somewhere in between


    There's something so honest about this letter. I hope all is well for you, whatever you're doing right now, and I'd love to hear about the wedding. Or not, maybe a wedding doesn't need to be 'a thing', you know? You love each other, and that's cool enough.

    For the record, my mum has watched the film, but my dad hasn't (or he hasn't told me). It's not a big deal, I can understand it. Time is a funny thing. I can't tell whether it's him, or me that has changed the most since.

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