Canada’s Diverse Cultures

A selection by Albert Ohayon

Western Eyes

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.

From the playlist : Canada’s Diverse Cultures

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

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Ann Shin
Gerry Flahive
director of photography
Stanislaw Barua
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
Sharon Kim
Maria Reba Estante
Ceres Estante
Julie Kim
Andrea Watts
Leslie Davis
Theresa Kong
Michael Farago
Nicole LaSelva


  • 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

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