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This week's episode of Saturday School continues our Season 6 theme if exploring Asian films about Asian America, and we're looking at the 1978 Japanese film Take Me Away! (Furimukeba Ai), directed by Nobuhiko Obayashi and starring both on-screen and off-screen couple Momoe Yamaguchi and Tomokazu Miura. It's a love story so sweeping that they are taken away to San Francisco, a city of love and escapism that rivals Paris in the 1970s Japanese cinematic world. We see a distinct difference between this hopelessly romantic melodrama from Asia versus Asian American films being made during this time. (Curtis Choy's 1976 "Dupont Guy," which we covered a couple seasons ago, comes to mind as a film around the same time, set in the exact same place.) Whereas films by Asian Americans during the 70s are inherently tied up with a frustration with oppression, difficulties of assimilation and a fight for civil liberties, "Take Me Away!" is more about Japanese global cosmopolitianism, and these characters, while they have heart-wrenching secrets, are cool, comfortable and breeze through the world like only extremely good looking people can. America is a place where they can find true freedom, true love and their true selves. To Asian Americans with any sense of history, this definitely feels like ridiculous fantasy, but looking at it years later, it's a fun alternate reality to imagine. You get the 1970s Japanese American immigrant bad boy, who's ruling the disco clubs, and basically worth overriding any sort of practical decision-making pertaining to love because I mean, this guy... THIS GUY can sing and play the guitar. To quote Brian Hu, he might be trouble if you're thinking about the rules of what makes a better partner, but shirtlessly he's the better choice.


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