Jan Andrews' "Exiles: Between Two Worlds" opens with a young Vietnamese woman wearing her traditional native dress, walking in slow-motion across a mountainscape that is obviously - to local audiences - Utah.
The black-and-white film ends 25 minutes later with the same girl dressed in more casual American garb, walking across the same patch of mountainous scenery.In between the short documentary reveals lifestyle adjustments that become necessary when a group of people is transplanted from one culture to another. And it's a real eye-opener.
Eschewing usual narrative techniques, as she has with her other short films, Andrews allows her camera to simply take us into scenes of Asian families in Utah as they perform various rituals, from marriage and death ceremonies to organized classes that help children maintain an understanding of their parents' traditions and language to a farming commune to religious celebrations, etc.
The linking motif is bits of poetic philosophy subtitled and read aloud, along with narrative comments by Andrews' subjects. But it is the imagery that tells the story.
The Utah Arts Media Center will present the premiere of "Exiles: Between Two Worlds" at 8 p.m. Thursday in the Salt Lake Art Center auditorium, 20 S. West Temple. Admission is $4. Also to be shown are other film works by Andrews, including "Seduction," "Anasazi" and "En Egypt: la plus ca change."
Andrews, a local filmmaker with a master's degree in anthropology, made the film over a two-year period with support from the Utah Endowment for the Humanities, the Utah Media Arts Center and the University of Utah. For further information phone the Media Center, 534-1158. - Christopher Hicks