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Films >> Come See the Paradise (1990) >>

0:00:21 Opening Credits
Opening credits on a black screen to Japanese music, woman singing; one can hear the scratches and tinny sound of an old record player.
0:01:46 Walking and Talking
A rural field, a woman and her daughter are walking together. Mini, the daughter, is singing a Japanese song. She stops to ask her mother in English about remembering a man, then asks if they can talk about "Poppa."
0:03:31 The Projectionist’s Union
A woman singing in English, screen note says, "Brooklyn, New York, 1936." A half-filled movie theatre, two men arrive late. One places a package on the floor and lights it on fire. The package smokes. Two other men light another package and kick it to the screen. The curtains light on fire. One of the first men abandons his attempts at collecting flyers he's dropped and tries to put out the fire.
0:05:43 This is Brooklyn, Not Petrograd
The two men who lit the first package, Jack and Auggie, speak with a third man about what happened. Turns out it's a ploy to force movie theaters to unionize their projectionists. Jack gets pushed out of the union for his own safety.
0:07:48 Introducing the Kawamuras
Applause for Japanese actors on a stage, screen note says, "Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, 1936." A younger version of the woman seen in the field, Lily, is with her Japanese friends. A man flirting with her only speaks Japanese, while she only speaks Japanese at dinner. Cut to a Japanese singer serenading the party. A man speaking Japanese introduces his children and his wife. His oldest son, Charlie, loves baseball. His next son, Harry, is an actor. Lily is introduced, then the youngest child, Frankie, who doesn't speak Japanese; the father pokes fun at his Americanized children before going to gamble at cards.
0:10:43 The Party
Japanese girls gather outside a window to watch a man making out with the wife of the projectionist who works for Lily's father. Back to the stage where Harry Kawamura is introduced as a Hollywood movie star and asked to sing for them. Harry sings an American song in English. Meanwhile, the father poses for a photograph with his Japanese club mates.
0:12:12 Jack’s Arrival in L.A
A bus drives down a palm-lined street at sunset. Jack exits; he's arrived at his brother's home in L.A. unannounced.
0:13:13 Mr. Ogata is Shamed
Cut back to the Japanese party where the young woman who was making out with the young man is caught by her older, drunken husband. Harry continues to sing.
0:13:56 It’s Enough for Me
Back to the McGurn house. Jack is trying to explain unions to his older brother, who doesn't agree. Jerry insists that he's only there to cause trouble, which is why Jack's wife left. Jerry and Jack make up, and Jack promises to leave, to find work, and to not cause trouble.
0:17:41 Debts Owed
Mr. Kawamura is playing cards and complaining that the young people don't want to see the Japanese films he brings in. Mr. Kawamura owes gambling debts to Mr. Fujioka. Mr. Fujioka offers to release the debt if he can marry Lily. During the conversation, Charlie runs in to say that the projectionist, Mr. Ogata, killed himself.
0:19:23 Arranged Marriage
In the Kawamura dining room, the children are setting the table and talking about the suicide. Dulcie doesn't understand why he did it. Charlie explains that it was to save his honor. Lily insists that she won't marry Mr. Fujioka. Mr. Kawamura insists that she will meet him.
0:20:41 Meeting with the Fujiokas
Lily and her mother have tea with Mr. Fujioka and his mother. Lily is asked questions about her heritage, which is difficult for her limited Japanese. Mr. Fujioka says that he will be a good husband who will give her pretty babies. Lily looks repulsed.
0:21:59 A New Job
A bustling street in Little Tokyo, the Kawamura movie theatre is showing a Japanese musical. The new projectionist, Jack McGurn, arrives. Jack sings along to the films, dances through the theatre, playing with Charlie and the other young people in the lobby.
0:24:25 Steamed Dumplings
Jack and Charlie leave the theatre, playing catch along the sidewalk of Little Tokyo. Charlie waves hello to Lily through a shop window, where she's working at a costume shop as a seamstress. Jack insists on knowing who it was. Charlie tries to tell him that she's Japanese, that they should find him a nice American girl. Jack ignores him and invites her to lunch.
0:26:51 The Noodle Restaurant
Lily, Charlie, and Jack sit down at a Chinese noodle restaurant. Charlie has to leave to lock up the theatre. Lily explains that her father is Issei, first generation, born in Japan, and her brothers and sisters are Nisei, second generation, born in America. Lily says that her father only rents the theatre and cannot become a citizen because it's against the law for Japanese to own property or to become citizens. Jack asks to kiss Lily, and they toast.
0:30:48 Papa Will Be Furious
Lily tells her sister that they kissed. Dulcie teases her but then admits that Mr. Kawamura will be furious when he hears.
0:31:40 Starting Over
Jack and Lily go dancing at an American club. He walks her back to the movie theatre and leads her upstairs. They share saki left behind by Mr. Ogata. Jack admits to how he burned his hands and says he's starting over. Lily asks about his wife who went back to Ireland. Jack was away when the wife was hurt and lost their baby; Jack doesn't explain that she left because of his anger. Lily and Jack begin to kiss; she leaves before going too far.
0:36:26 Asking
Forward to the older Lily and the little girl walking in the countryside. We now understand that Lily has been explaining the past and how she met Jack and how they fell in love. The little girl asks what happened when Lily's father found out.
0:37:09 Forbidden
Cut to the Kawamura dining room, where Mr. Kawamura forbids Lily to see Jack.
0:37:46 Fired
In the movie theatre, Jack and Charlie start to carry out a drunkard. Mr. Kawamura runs in and tells Jack he's fired, and that he can't see Lily any longer.
0:38:38 Looking for Lily
Jack leaves the theatre to look for Lily; she's gone to her aunt's on Terminal Island with her mother and sisters.
0:39:33 Thinking
Lily overlooks the sea, thinking. Her mother looks out at her as if wanting to speak to her about the situation but leaves her to her thoughts.
0:40:03 It’s Not Possible
Jack shoves his way into the gambling hall to see Mr. Kawamura. He explains how he wants to learn their customs and be respectful of their culture while loving Lily. Mr. Kawamura is unmoved and walks away from Jack.
0:42:47 Marry Me
Jack is packing to leave the theatre. Lily appears; she left the island to see him. Jack asks her to marry him and leave with him. They make love to the soundtrack of the Japanese film.
0:45:04 Elopement
At the Florin train station, the older Lily tells Mini how they stayed up and talked all night. Since they couldn't get married in California because it was against the law, they eloped to Seattle. Her daughter asks for a snow cone instead of the rice and tea her mother brought; she asks in English but pleads in Japanese. Mini asks if Mama Kawamura was at the wedding; cut to Lily leaving the Kawamura house without any goodbyes. Her mother seems to know where Lily is going but says and does nothing. Cut back to older Lily and Mini going into a store while Lily describes her wedding day.
0:46:25 Married
Jack and Lily are married on a rainy day at the Justice of the Peace in Seattle. They share champagne overlooking a bay.
0:48:17 Wedding Crashers
Jack and Lily come upon another wedding and crash it. They walk into the reception, dance with all the guests, drinking and eating as if it was their own wedding with all their friends and family. Voiceover with older Lily telling Mini that it was just like everyone showed up just for them.
0:50:34 Minai Is Born
Older Lily tells Mini of their joy while the scene shows them playing on a rocky shoreline, trying to fly a kite and getting stuck in the muddy sand. Mini asks about herself; she was born on Christmas Day, 1937. Older Lily explains that they named her Minai, after Mrs. Kawamura's sister. Scenes of the family playing on the shore.
0:51:33 Big Fish and Little Fish
Cut to Jack working at the cannery while Lily tells Mini what he does there. Several men in a boat outside hold up a banner proclaiming "Working Men Unite for a Better Deal." Jack explains to a co-worker that if no one's listening, they'll never succeed. Jack begins to show his old anger when working for the unions in New York. He explains that there are many things wrong with the cannery and the only way to make change is to scare the suits. When asked why he doesn't join the men who want to unionize, Jack admits that he promised his wife he wouldn't get involved. The men in the boat are beaten with fish, one is left unconscious. Jack gets angry, carries the injured man into the cannery, and insists that these men had rights and should not have been harmed.
0:54:36 Always Angry
Jack and Lily are in the kitchen fighting about Jack's rekindled involvement with unions and his reignited anger. Jack tries to justify his behavior and in his anger insults Lily's heritage. He apologizes to her but says he's going to hand out leaflets anyway.
0:56:21 Demonstrating
Police are trying to break up a large crowd demonstrating at the cannery. Jack is in the middle of it, trying to defend his coworkers from the police; he's kicked by a horse, his arm is broken, and he's taken to prison.
0:57:14 Back to Los Angeles
Lily waits that night, but Jack doesn't return. Lily decides not to stay and leaves Seattle with Mini to go back to the Kawamuras in Los Angeles. Older Lily tries to explain to Mini that she didn't know why she left, but she felt she needed to be with her parents.
0:58:17 War Has Begun
Jack is being questioned by the police. He gives a false last name, "McGann," and lies about his past union involvement. The officer lets him know that his demonstrations won't mean anything now that they're at war. Jack doesn't understand, so the officer tells him about how the Japanese just bombed Pearl Harbor.
0:59:09 They Arrested Papa
The same Japanese music plays that opened the movie as Lily walks through Little Tokyo. She looks around at all the closed shops and the mostly empty streets that used to be bustling. They arrive at the Kawamura house and are greeted by Dulcie, Joyce, and Frankie. Harry tells her that the FBI arrested many of the Issei, including their father. Lily goes upstairs to apologize to her mother. Mrs. Kawamura won't acknowledge her until Mini appears in the doorway and reconciles the family.
1:04:23 Sending Away
At the docks on Terminal Island, Lily and Mini wait for Charlie and Harry while they visit Mr. Kawamura. Mr. Kawamura is being sent to North Dakota, and there is rumor of all the other Japanese Americans being sent away.
1:05:58 Jack and Lily are Reunited
At the costume shop, Lily sits by herself until the door opens. She's alone; Mr. Matsui has been arrested. She calls out that the store is closed, but it's Jack. Lily tells Jack about her father and Mr. Matsui. Jack apologizes for her father being arrested, and for what he'd done. They make love at the back of the costume shop while the phone rings and customers knock. Jack tries to describe his love to her.
1:09:15 Japanese are Buddhist
It's Christmas, and Jack takes Mini to the department store to talk to Santa. Santa refuses to allow Mini to sit on his lap because she's Japanese, says it's department store policy and, besides, Japanese are Buddhist. The store manager kicks them out as Jack protests.
1:11:12 Christmas
The Kawamuras and Jack celebrate Christmas. They all sing the song that Harry performed at minute 10. They convince Jack that he has to sing too. Jack sings a Japanese song that he learned from the movies he showed at their theatre. The mood turns somber as he sings with feeling.
1:13:14 Shikata Ga Nai
Harry and Charlie are labeled "friendly enemy aliens." Charlie is furious and compares the Japanese Americans to Germans and Italians, who aren't being persecuted.
1:13:35 Executive Order 9066
Lily narrates about how terrible those times were as the Japanese army seemed to be winning, and the American people took out their fear and anger on the Japanese Americans, vandalizing their storefronts and tearing apart their food stands in the market. Cut to the country store where Lily and Mini sit and try to understand whether they were Japanese or Americans during that time. Lily tells her about President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 and how in March they were told they had six days to pack up everything and leave.
1:14:53 Evacuation Sale
Japanese American children sing "Twinkle Twinkle" as their parents file in to take them home. They hold an "evacuation sale" to raise money before having to leave everything behind. They are only allowed to take what they can carry. Jack takes Mini for a walk. Mrs. Kawamura is burning papers; she doesn't want anyone going through their belongings. The children listen to the Japanese records her father had, unsure what to do with them. Lily tells them to break them.
1:20:05 Leaving L.A.
Lines of Japanese walk across a bridge and down to the train station, identification tags on their clothes. They sit on their possessions, waiting for their train to depart. Jack stays with them all until they've boarded. They don't know where they're going, but Jack is going to find them after he heads to Seattle to check in for his parole.
1:22:52 The Emptying of Little Tokyo
Jack walks back through Little Tokyo; the storefronts are boarded up, signs in the windows proclaiming that they hope to be back.
1:23:22 Passing Train Time
On the train, Charlie plays cards, Mini sleeps, Lily watches. Mrs. Kawamura talks to another woman in Japanese about rattlesnakes and mosquitoes. Dulcie throws up.
1:24:08 An Empty House
Jack is back at the Kawamura's house. He wanders through the rooms, looking forlorn. Kids in the yard are tearing apart the chicken coops and ripping up the garden; Jack scares them off.
1:24:56 Two Months at the Racetrack
The Kawamuras arrive at a racetrack. Their belongings are searched, cameras are taken away. They are assigned a horse stall for all eight family members to live in. Lily escorts Frankie to the community bathrooms because he's too afraid to go alone. He hopes they don't send them back to Japan, since he's never been there. Lily narrates that they stayed at the racetrack for two months until they were moved to a camp in the desert.
1:27:21 The Camp
Buses unload, a brass band made up of Japanese American boys plays to welcome them. Lily narrates that the bus ride was terribly long and that all she remembers is the dust, the cold, and the mountains. The camp looks like an Army base of barracks. The family checks in and is fingerprinted.
1:28:17 Drafted
Jack checks in for his parole requirement in Seattle. He is told he has 24 hours to report to the Army in Tacoma, WA.
1:29:03 Camp Life
The internees try to live life as if they aren't imprisoned. A church choir practices; women hang laundry; Frankie repairs a hole in the floor of their quarters. Lily narrates that they had to line up for everything. They play baseball to the cheers of the soldiers, Mini goes to school, and Dulcie helps make camouflage nets for the war effort. Charlie joins a men's group who are protesting the imprisonment.
1:30:40 Boot Camp
Jack is in the Army learning to use a bayonet and to drive trucks through swamps.
1:31:05 Papa Returns
In the internment camp, one of the cooks begins a fight with another, accusing him of stealing food. Frankie asks Charlie to play after dinner, but Charlie refuses. Charlie says that a Japanese cook loaded beef onto one of the Administrator's trucks. Charlie begins to be angry like Jack, saying that it has to stop. The men swear in front of Mrs. Kawamura, losing their manners and sense of respect as their anger grows. Suddenly they realize that their father has been brought to the camp. Lily holds back until her father reaches out for her. Charlie looks angry at Mr. Kawamura's return.
1:33:28 Mr. Kawamura
Lily narrates about Mr. Kawamura not being happy in camp because people spread gossip about him, causing people to ostracize him and abuse him. They claimed that he told the FBI secrets about the Japanese army, though there was no proof of that. He stopped speaking, sinking into depression.
1:34:11 The Dance Without Papa
There's a dance at camp. A trio of women sing "Under the Apple Tree" like the Andrews sisters. Another woman has been nominated "Miss Nisei." Mini stays in the barracks, playing. She overhears Mr. Kawamura singing a sad Japanese song and climbs up to be with him. Back at the party, a man leaves and is beaten up by a group of men wearing headbands with the Japanese flag on them.
1:35:54 Union Trouble
Jack is hitchhiking to the camp. Charlie is in the kitchen, kneading dough. Army officers come in, grab hold of one of the cooks, and drag him out into a truck as Charlie looks on. At the party, Harry tells the family that the kitchen union started the trouble and that they'd better leave. The family heads for their barracks as Jack gets closer.
1:37:54 Demonstrations
The kitchen union demonstrates, marching the streets of camp with banners, chanting in Japanese. More soldiers are called in, tear gas is thrown, and the families run to make it safely to their barracks. Cut to Jack as his truck gets to a road block around the camp because of the riot. Jack runs through the roadblock as the family tries to stop the burning from the tear gas.
1:40:31 Jack Arrives At the Camp
The riot is over, and Jack is let into the camp two days later. The family hasn't seen him in seven months. They serve tea and tell Jack about Charlie, who was hit in the head with a rifle during the riot. Mrs. Kawamura can't hold her tea and must go to the latrine, escorted by the girls. Dulcie planned this so that Jack and Lily could have time alone for twenty-two minutes. Lily tells Jack about Mr. Kawamura and how Charlie and his father won't speak to each other. Jack and Lily go to the bedroom while the Kawamura women navigate the camp to the sound of a Japanese man singing. Mr. Kawamura sits at Charlie's bedside, staring. Jack says goodbye to the family, and Lily and Mini go with him to the gate. Jack sees Mr. Kawamura as he leaves, then watches as his family is locked behind barbed wire.
1:45:33 Dreams
Older Lily and Mini talk about how Jack got into trouble for being AWOL. Mr. Kawamura stopped talking to anyone. Lily explains that every day Mr. Kawamura dreamed of returning to Japan as a rich man. The longer he stayed, the less he had because of gambling, until he had no self-respect. In the camp, he built a chair and worked a vegetable garden, but that was all he would do.
1:47:06 Outdoor Jail
Dulcie and Lily work on the camouflage nets and read a document that they were told that everyone in the camp over the age of seventeen must sign. The questions are to force them to decide whether they side with America or Japan. As they work, a man tells them that Mrs. Kawamura can't work on the nets because she's a Japanese citizen. Lily argues that she's not getting paid, she's just spending time with her family, but the man states that it's the law.
1:48:11 Question 28
Harry reads more of the document to the family. Charlie and Harry argue about whether they should say yes or no. Harry feels that they have to say yes, but Charlie insists upon saying no. Harry tells them that he is going into the Army.
1:49:45 Just Love Lily
Jack is back at the camp. He finds Mini with her aunts and hardly recognizes her. Lily is at the hospital with Mr. Kawamura. Jack tells Lily he ships out in a week, but he doesn't know to where. Jack stays with Mr. Kawamura, helps him with water. Jack admits that he ran away from the Army, thinking he could help the Kawamuras. He asks what he should do, thinking it's all his fault. Mr. Kawamura tells him to go back, that loving Lily is enough. Jack leaves his family at the gate again.
1:54:19 Found Out
Jack is in an office, explaining why he deserted. The officer admits that the camps are wrong, but that it might be safest for the Japanese. Another man walks in and asks Jack if he's ever gone by the name McGurn. Jack's past in New York catches up with him.
1:56:30 Papa Kawamura Dies
The Kawamuras are watching a movie. Papa leaves his hospital bed to wander the camp and disappears in the dust; he's died. The family buries him in the camp cemetery, but Charlie is not present, nor is Harry, who is off to war. Mama tells them how she and Papa met and how gambling was his undoing.
1:59:00 The Family Is Separated
Lily narrates that Dulcie leaves the camp to pick sugar beets in Idaho. Charlie is sent to a special camp because he said no on his questionnaire. Dulcie returns from Idaho pregnant. That December the camps are declared unconstitutional. The family doesn't celebrate for long because they are told that Harry was killed in the war.
2:02:54 Celebration of Sorts
The family celebrates Christmas and Mini's birthday. They begin to sing the song that Harry lead several Christmases before, and Lily narrates over the singing that Charlie chose to repatriate to Japan, though he'd never been there.
2:03:43 Moving to Florin
Harry's voice sings as the family packs a truck to leave the camp. They go to live with a cousin of Mrs. Kawamura's who lives on a strawberry farm since they can't go back to Little Tokyo. A somber scene of the family sitting at the table, silent, shocked.
2:05:33 The End
In the country store, Lily tells Mini that America dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and ended the war. A train whistles, so they run outside to wait. They search the cars, which appear empty. A few people exit; they wait. Slowly, Jack appears, and the family is reunited again. They walk away, all holding each other.
2:08:39 Final credits