Western Eyes

Western Eyes

| 39 min
Your rental expires on
YOU ALREADY OWN THIS FILM. Download it from your purchase library.

This documentary presents two Canadian women of Asian descent who are contemplating eyelid surgery. Maria and Sharon, of Philippino and Korean heritage respectively, believe their looks--specifically their eyes--get in the way of how people see them. Layering their stories with pop culture references to beauty icons and supermodels, filmmaker Ann Shin looks at the pain that lies deep behind the desire for plastic surgery.

One participant in Western Eyes says, “Life is about self improvement.” The question is, at what cost? Asian women who don’t feel that they fit our society’s ideal of beauty are portrayed in this film, which asks: Who decides what is beautiful and what if you don’t feel like you fit in?

Albert Ohayon
From the playlist: Canada’s Diverse Cultures

Pedagogical evaluations and study guides are only available to CAMPUS subscribers.


Features designed specifically for teachers Learn more

Already subscribed? Connectez-vous

Embed this code on your site

Video player width

by (( height )) Reset
  • director
    Ann Shin
  • producer
    Gerry Flahive
  • director of photography
    Stanislaw Barua
  • editor
    Nick Hector
  • sound recordist
    Adrian Tucker
    Patrick Skehan
    Hartley Wynberg
  • original music composer
    Mark Korven
  • sound design
    Steve Munro
  • foley artist
    John F. Thompson
  • re-recording mixer
    Steve Munro
    Tim Roberts
  • archival research
    Marianne Kushmaniuk
  • executive producer
    Louise Lore
  • participant
    Sharon Kim
    Maria Reba Estante
    Ceres Estante
    Julie Kim
    Andrea Watts
    Leslie Davis
    Theresa Kong
    Michael Farago
    Nicole LaSelva

  • Watch your films later, offline,
    on your phone or tablet.
  • Have a question or need help?
    Click here to contact us!
  • Jane1

    Maria already has double eyelids naturally (because she's Philippino & the vast majority of them have double eyelids) & a bit pointy nose. What the author tries to hide is the fact that almost all (99% plus) of Chinese, Koreans, Japanese have single eye lids. My estimate is more than 75% of Chinese in Canada & USA & China aged 22 to 50 have undergone double eyelid surgery because in the old Chinese custom, you're only beautiful if you have big eyes (double eyelid). Maybe this surgery fact is true to Koreans & Japanese too. My estimate is way below less than 1% of Philippinos in Canada, USA, Philippines get this surgery because they are known of having big eyes & that's why in 2010 alone 50,000 Chinese settled in Philippines hoping to mix with the big eyed Philippinos.

    Jane1, 16 May 2014
  • cardkleener

    Maria is a beautiful woman. Too bad she feels the way she does, about herself.

    cardkleener, 15 Oct 2012
  • BillWoollam

    I remember when I came out of high school in the early 70's to become a meditation teacher. Sometimes while meditating on a park bench, younger teens would throw stones at me. A few times while putting up posters to advertise a 'meditation lecture' the odd adult would say that meditation was the work of the devil....or that is was 'unChristian'....I could feel when prejudice and malice were working within others at certain times. It must have been far more difficult to grow up in our 'barbie doll' culture and be of Asian or African decent. I know children and adults can unconsciously say the most hurtful things. Today I am married to a Filippino woman who definately looks Asian...but so what. She is beautiful inside and out in my eyes. I remind her of her own unique beauty. Yet, I know one Filippino/Canadian boy who wishes his mom was white...and tells her she is ugly. To me the Father has not done his job to help his son honor his mother and her own unique beauty. It must be difficult for so many who are surrounded by individuals who cannot see beyond the skin color....who cannot see the inner and outer beauty of people of different races or beliefs.

    BillWoollam, 15 Jan 2011
  • jmatlin

    @Elena - It should work. Please try refreshing the page and hitting play again.

    jmatlin, 29 Oct 2010
  • elena_valussi

    why is this film not available? Thank you Elena

    elena_valussi, 29 Oct 2010