Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the United States in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee?
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee depicts Deann Borshay Liem’s search to find the answers. In this follow-up to First Person Plural, the filmmaker returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in the United States. Traversing the landscapes of memory and identity, Liem uncovers layers of misinformation in her adoption as she probes the cost of living with someone else’s identity.
As an outreach tool, this provocative film raises political questions about the ethics of international adoptions, as well as fundamental personal questions about who we are and how we come to understand ourselves.
Download the discussion guide for In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee: