Wendy...uh...What's Her Name
(1976, 2005) 27 minutesoriginated on 16mm film, digitally remastered and updated on digital video
On February 4, 1974, the notorious Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst. A month later, SLA members and Hearst robbed a bank in San Francisco. After the telecast shootout with police in Los Angeles, two remaining SLA members and Hearst fled to rural Pennsylvania, where they met Wendy Yoshimura. Wendy was eluding authorities who had indicted her on weapons and explosives charges in 1972. After 3 years on the run, Wendy was captured with Hearst in a San Francisco apartment, where the FBI threatened to "blow Wendy's head off". She was kept in isolation for 40 days, then jailed for 3 months until the Wendy Yoshimura Fair Trial Committee came to her aid.
This is the true story of Wendy Yoshimura, Japanese American woman artist... from her Japanese childhood to her villification by the media, to her life in the revolutionary '70s and the community that rallied behind her against injustice. With scenes of Berkeley protests, a pilgrimage to Manzanar relocation camp, interviews with the Issei founder of her defense committee and her defense team. A truly "old school" documentary: no sea-sick camerawork, no half-sentence soundbites, no rap music.
This DVD is for private home use only. Institutions should buy institutional copies from www.chonkmoonhunter.com.
"Wendy...uh...What's Her Name" depicts the social turmoil of Berkeley in the 1960s out of which Wendy Yoshimura arose as a "mysterious" figure in one of the more sensational episodes in US political history. The documentary features ample footage of Yoshimura, who discusses the struggles of her family displaced by World War II, her political awakening, and the active involvement of Japanese Americans and the larger Asian American community in ensuring that Yoshimura receive fair and equal treatment by the justice system. This fine film by Curtis Choy belongs in every archive and research collection.
Darrell Y. Hamamoto
Professor of Asian American Studies
University of California, Davis