captures the story of WWII internee, Virginia Lumsdaine McCutcheon.
Growing up fast in 1930s Shanghai, the “Paris of the Orient,” Virginia Lumsdaine McCutcheon was imprisoned by the Japanese during World War II at Lunghwa Camp, where she met Bill, her husband-to-be. At 92, Virginia unveils a deeply personal story of love, loss, art, and the art of survival in this portrait documentary.
Virginia unleashes her wit and wisdom with provocative detail. Every photograph in her album triggers a memory as sharp as shrapnel: “There’s the bridge the Japanese swarmed over to get to us.” “There’s a bomb crater that my mother’s looking into.” She remembers the shock of running into someone long after the war. “His wife was glaring at us... while we were really talking about what had happened to our lives in-between.” She faced key turning point in her life when she and Bill moved to Japan after the war. Instead of bitterness, she embraced the culture.
Interviews with Virginia's daughters, son and grandson show just how important she is to her family today. Her stories weave throughout a visit to the local farmers’ market, to her daughter’s garden in search of the perfect flowers, to her studio as she creates Japanese ikebana arrangements, and to her collection of beautiful woodblock prints. Vivid archival footage, personal photos gathered from family collections and declassified secret documents from the British Archives help illustrate not just the life of one woman, but of her generation.
CAST & CREW
SUBJECT OF FILM: Virginia Lumsdaine McCutcheon
DIRECTOR: P.H. Wells
PRODUCERS: P.H. Wells, Joan Macbeth, Tierney Boorboor
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ron Macbeth
COMPOSER: Jonathan Geer