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Paul Kwan


ANATOMY OF A SPRINGROLL is an award-winning documentary that follows one man's journey to reconcile his Vietnamese roots with his current American life. In 1973, Paul Kwan's father bribed a customs official to allow the youngest of his 24 children to flee the political chaos that was Saigon. Now, living in San Francisco 20 years later, Kwan looks to the language of food to best reconcile his past.

From the colorful, food-filled streets of San Francisco's outdoor markets to the back streets of the Saigon he left years ago, Kwan seeks the secret ingredient to blend the traditions of his birth culture with his adopted American life. He discovers, however, that the real secret is his 73-year-old mother and her belief that to understand a culture, one must first learn the language of its food.

When the death of his father brings Kwan back to Saigon, a flood of memories greet him. Although the city has changed, the sweet rice of his childhood provides a familiar welcome. ANATOMY OF A SPRINGROLL is a visual feast celebrating the ability of food to capture a culture's tradition and to comfort its generations.

Collaborators Kwan and Iger combine fantasy and documentary by mixing food-as-metaphor with humorous family footage, animation, puppetry, history and performance.

Wok-in-Progress | Anatomy of a Springroll | Pins and Noodles | Recipes | Filmmakers | Resources | ITVS