The Siamese Connection

Saturday, Sep 27th, 2008 - 2:00 PM

Venue: Freer & Sackler Galleries - Smithsonian

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The Siamese Connection

Directed by Joshua Gibson

Running Time: 75 minutes
Year: 2008
Language(s): English


The Siamese Connection documents the lives of Cheng and Eng Bunker, the famous conjoined twins whose immigration from Thailand to America marked the beginning of a remarkable legacy which has inspired a play, a musical, and a novel.  Interweaving archival footage, artistic reenactments, and interviews, filmmaker Josh Gibson deconstructs the legend behind the Bunker brothers and examines their struggle to establish their American identity.

Born in 1811 to a Chinese father and Malaysian Chinese mother, the Bunker brothers left Siam (now Thailand) in 1829 to tour the world, becoming most famously known as the “Siamese Twins” in P.T. Barnum’s circus.  Eventually settling on a farm in North Carolina, they adopted the names Chang and Eng Bunker, married two sisters, and fathered ten and eleven children, respectively.

Gibson not only retraces the origins of the mythology of the brothers, but eventually extends all the way to the many descendents of the Bunker twins.  In a particularly fascinating sequence of interviews with members at the Bunker reunion, Gibson subtly reveals complex and often unexpected issues of identity, prejudice and spectacle.

Dream of Me

Directed by A. Moon

Running Time: 10 minutes
Year: 2007
Language(s): English


Determined to find a connection to a long lost sibling, an adopted daughter searches for family and belonging by piecing together news clippings, personal interviews and film footage in this experimental video.