WMM new acquisition THE CELINE ARCHIVE will open the Harlem International Film Festival on Thursday, May 6 at an in-person screening! A live Q&A moderated by Denise Cruz, Professor of English at Columbia University, with filmmaker Celine Parreñas Shimizu will follow.
THE CELINE ARCHIVE is simultaneously an act of journalism, a journey into family and community memory and archives, a love poem, a story of grief and trauma, and a séance for the buried history of Filipino Americans. Filmmaker and scholar Celine Parreñas Shimizu artfully weaves together her own story of grief with the story of the tragic death of Celine Navarro, which has become lore. In 1932, Celine Navarro was buried alive by her Filipino community in Northern California. The filmmaker, a grieving mother with ties to the same community, uncovers Navarro’s story, revealing her struggle with patriarchal norms and gendered violence, which ultimately may have resulted in her murder.
“The #MeToo moment has allowed us to talk about this more openly,” Shimizu said, “so young girls and women do not have to feel silenced and unable to tell stories of racial uplift at the expense of sharing their experiences of gendered hierarchy within their communities.”
Through interviews with scholars, family, and community members, the film reveals a compassionate and human side of an oft-sensationalized story. Told with great care and respect for Navarro, her family, and her descendants, the film is a gift of love given to generations who have held Celine in their hearts and women fighting to have a voice in the face of violence.
– Myrakel Baker