An interviewee in Konrad Aderer’s RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE compares that militarized internment camp to Guantanamo. It’s a connection that I had not made before, but which is just one of the many enlightening moments in the documentary. When I spoke with Aderer on March 11, 2017, it was just before RESISTANCE’s world premiere at CAAMFest, and my first question was about that comparison.
We went on to talk about the careful, and misleading, terminology the government applied to the camps and the executive order that sent people there; the sociological pressure cooker within the camp; and how making his first film, ENEMY ALIEN, was the springboard for talking to his grandmother about her experiences in the Topaz internment camp.
We finished up with Aderer’s pilgrimage to the Tule Lake camp and working with Barbara Takei of the Tule Lake Committee; why there was a concrete jail within the barbed-wire fence of the camp; and how the ACLU got involved in taking the government to court on behalf of the internees.
RESISTANCE AT TULE LAKE considers the internment of Japanese-American men, women, and children during World War II, focusing on the so-called “no-nos,” a group of internees who refused to take their imprisonment quietly, the torture to which they were subjected as a result, and the ACLU lawyers who fought for them despite the long odds and public disapproval. It’s a story with unsettling resonances today, told with vintage clips, historian commentary, and moving contemporary interviews of the people involved. Aderer’s previous work includes ENEMY ALIEN, for which he received a Courage in Media Award from CAIR and the Pacific Asian Community Alliance Courage Award.