Posted in Shorts, Video

Asian Canadian spotlight: The Hybrid

L’hybridée is a short film directed by Julie Corbeil about a Korean adoptee who was raised in Montreal. It was one of the winners of the National Film Portrait contest at the Amerasia festival this past Friday.

It is in French with no subtitles but I’ve added my own translation with some help from Manuelle herself who kindly replied to a message I sent her. She corrected the parts I didn’t understand. View the full article for the translation

My name is Manuelle.
I am…I am Quebecoise, Korean, a Montrealer, a Canadian, a citizen of the world.
I am…I am adopted.

It was December 31 1983 at 4:23am when Moon Sul Hee was born.
I’m a Capricorn, a water pig and my number is 7.
I came to this world while it was snowing.

I was put up for adoption because I was abandoned by those who took care of me.
The one who carried me I hope at least loved me a little bit.

When I was 8 months old I was sent to Canada, my new homeland.
It was here that I grew up and became Western,
So much that my friends think I’m more Quebecoise than a Quebecoise.

However Canadians think I’m Korean and Koreans think I’m Canadian.
So If I’m neither one or the other…what am I?
I’m a banana, yellow on the outside but white on the inside.

I’m amused by the way others look at me because they perceive me as being foreign.
It’s funny that on the street some people greet me in an Asian language,
Or if not they are surprised at my fluency in French.
Sometimes people think I’m Native American.
Even my friends sometimes say, “It’s funny; you seem Asian today.”

However I don’t know how to make rice.
I don’t play the violin.
I don’t know Tae Kwon Do.
And I’m terrible at Karaoke.
But I cultivate treasures and build dreams.

When I was young I really envied my friends who resembled their parents.
Isabelle has her father’s nose.
Pascale has her mother’s eyes.
But me I have no resemblance (to my parents).
One time…one time somebody said I resembled my mother.
We have the same smile.

This is my biological mother.
For a long time I didn’t have any interest in my native country.
But then at 22 I didn’t just want to find my roots; I needed to find my roots.

By a really incredible combination of circumstances worthy of a Hollywood movie I found my mother…my biological mother.
My nose, My eyes, My hair, my body, my blood, my medical records, my history, my ancestors, my roots!

I lived in Korea for 6 months.
We were close; we were distant.
However a large invisible gap separates us.

(Was it) the hidden pregnancy, the guilt, the neglect, the lies, the new family?
Thus I returned to Canada with more questions than answers.

I am…I am…I am an identity conundrum.
I am this conundrum.
White or black but especially not gray.

I don’t live on love or water alone; I live for travel and adventure.
I need passion and cooperation.
I want to hold onto, I want to forget, I want to remember.
I want to leave running but I want to stay here.
In the end I’m running all the time.
But I am free and I am a hybrid.

Directed by Julie Corbeil
Written by Manuelle Alix-Surprenant
Music by Jean-Christope Lachaine, Kookzik
Copyright MMX

Manuelle as well as being the subject of this short is also the founder of a website called L’Hybridé which is a non profit organization that aims to build a community of adult adoptees of all nationalities.



Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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