Portraying one of the shadier details of American history, this is the story of Jack McGurn, who comes to Los Angeles in 1936. He gets a job at a movie theatre in Little Tokyo and falls in love with the boss's daughter, Lily Kawamura. When her father finds out, he is fired and forbidden ever to see her again. But together they escape to Seattle. When the war breaks out, the authorities decide that the Japanese immigrants must live in camps like war prisoners.
From the same director
Dennis Quaid (Jack McGurn), Tamlyn Tomita (Lily Yuriko Kawamura / McGann), Sab Shimono (Hiroshi Kawamura), Shizuko Hoshi (Mrs. Kawamura), Stan Egi (Charlie Kawamura), Ronald Yamamoto (Harry Kawamura), Akemi Nishino (Dulcie Kawamura), Naomi Nakano (Joyce Kawamura), Brady Tsurutani (Frankie Kawamura), Elizabeth Gilliam (Younger Mini McGann), Shyree Mezick (Middle Mini McGann), Caroline Junko King (Older Mini McGann), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Augie Farrell), Colm Meaney (Gerry McGurn), Becky Ann Baker (Marge McGurn), John Finnegan (Brennan), Takamuro Ikeguchi (Mr. Fujiuka), Danny Kamekona (Mr. Nishikawa), Yoshimi Imai (Mr. Yamanaka), Lenny Imamura (Japanese Actor), Goh Misawa (Acting Troupe Manager), Sanae Hosaka (Social Club Singer), Shuko Akune (Reiko Sakoda), Keenan Shimizu (Master of Ceremonies), Dale Ishimoto (Mr. Ogata)...
Alan Parker (written by)
"Come See The Paradise" is a forgotten gem of a film that takes place during one of the United States' darkest and most shameful times. At the onset of World War II, Japanese-Americans were put into internment camps This injustice lasted for several years. Alan Parker's fictional film takes place before, during and after this time. It tells the story of Jack McGurn (Dennis Quaid), an Irish-American labor organizer who falls in love with Lily Kawamura (Tamlyn Tomita), a young girl who lives with her large family in San Fransisco. Lily's father (Sab Shimono) does not agree with the romance, which forces Jack and Lily to elope in Seattle. Jack gets into some trouble with the law while picketing, and Lily, angry that Jack has not changed his ways since the birth of their daughter, Mini, takes the child back to her family's house. Soon after, Pearl Harbor is bombed, the Kawamuras are shuttled off to various camps (except Mr. Kawamura who is believed to be a traitor), and Jack is forced into the army.
Like many films, "Come See The Paradise" is about the strength of love. The fact that it uses this period as a backdrop sets it apart from the rest. The chemistry between Quaid and Tomita is amazing. Just watch them together when they meet for the first time and they kiss. It's simply stunning. Quaid has rarely been this good, and Tomita is obviously relishing having a lead role. In most of her films she's listed as "(somebody's) wife". Films like this and "The Joy Luck Club" prove that she is one of the most talented and under-used actresses.
Some have complained that this film uses an "American" character to tell the story of a "Japanese" family. As if any non-Japanese audience members would not be able to understand, or relate to, the Japanese family. The Quaid character is called "un-American" because of his labor rights stance. The family is called "un-American" simply because they are of Japanese descent. Even though the children were born in the United States. So what exactly does it mean to be "un-American"?
Side note: this movie has not been released on DVD. I anxiously await that day.
Older Mini McGann: Why are we so early?
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: It's good to be early.
Older Mini McGann: Do you ever worry that you won't recognize him, Mama?
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: You recognize me, don't you?
Older Mini McGann: Well, he might have grown a beard or a moustache or something. And I was so little. I only think I remember him. Do you think he'll remember me?
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: Well, he has all your photographs and all the letters you wrote him, and he has all your school reports
Older Mini McGann: You sent him my school reports?
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: Of course I did. I wanted to let him know how well you were doing. Come on, now. I got some tea and rice cakes here. We'll have a nice talk while we're walking, okay? Let's go.
Older Mini McGann: How far do we have to walk?
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: Not far.
Older Mini McGann: If we have so much time, then why are you walking so fast? I shouldn't have worn these new shoes. I think I have a blister. Mama!
[speaks in Japanese]
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: [replies in Japanese] Try not to think about it. You want to look pretty, don't you?
Older Mini McGann: Can we talk about Papa?
Lily Yuriko Kawamura: Okay.
The movie ranks at the No. #1 spot on the top 10 list of most Oscar-bait movies ever made according to research by UCLA sociologists Gabriel Rossman and Oliver Schilke. According to website 'Wikipedia', this movie is "the most deliberate example of Oscar bait in their study of 3,000 films released since 1985. The identification is based on various elements calculated to be likely to draw Oscar nominations, including the previous nominations of [Alan] Parker, the film's setting in Hollywood (including Quaid's projectionist character), and its depiction of a tragic historical event against the background of war and racism. It was only released in a few cities during the last week of that year to make it eligible for the awards. However, it was not nominated for any Oscars and failed at the box office".
Ела да видиш рая (Bulgaria (Bulgarian title)) • Bem-Vindos ao Paraíso (Brazil) • Bienvenue au paradis (Canada (French title); France) • Komm und sieh das Paradies (Germany; West Germany) • Kom og se paradis (Denmark) • Bienvenido al paraíso (Spain) • Tervetuloa paratiisiin (Finland (video box title)) • Ela na deis ton Paradeiso (Greece (transliterated ISO-LATIN-1 title)) • Ελα να Δεις τον Παράδεισο (Greece) • Gyertek el a mennyországba! (Hungary)
relocation, train, atomic bomb, racism, racial prejudice, world war two, absent without leave, cake, card game, fingerprint, flower, horseback riding, lineup, little tokyo, pianist, police officer, racetrack, sex scene, army, sailor, soldier, strawberry, chinese, irish american, pearl harbor, japanese american, watching a movie, vomiting, theatre production, cigarette smoking...
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