24th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival (March 17 - 25, 2006)

A Presentation of Center for Asian American Media


Friday, March 17
7:00 pm: Letter from an Unknown Woman (China, 2004), dir. by Xu Jinglei.
A woman's unrequited love ultimately consumes her in this ravishing remake of the Max Ophuls classic, transposed to war-torn 1930s China. "Melodrama in the classic style: part mesmerizing art flick, part tearjerker."-Edinburgh Film Festival
9:00 pm: Linda Linda Linda (Japan, 2005), dir. by Nobuhiro Yamashita. U.S. Premiere!
An all-girl rock band in Japan tries to win a high-school music contest despite numerous obstacles, including a vocalist who doesn't even speak Japanese, in this joyously entertaining movie. From the direcÓtor of Ramblers; featuring a score by James Iha.

Saturday, March 18
4:30 pm: Memories in the Mist (India, 2005), dir. by Buddhadeb Dasgupta.
A Calcutta clerk is haunted by childhood memories and needled by his success-obsessed wife in this Buñuelian fable by the director of The Wrestlers.
7:00 pm: Punching at the Sun (U.S., 2005); director Tanuj Chopra in Person.
A Pakistani American teenager struggles with racial tensions and resentment in post-9/11 Queens.
9:15 pm: Citizen Dog (Thailand, 2005), dir. by Wisit Sasanatieng.
The director of Tears of the Black Tiger returns with this fabulously bizarre collection of tall tales, part Chungking Express, part Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Thai style.

Sunday, March 19
2:30 pm: Sentenced Home (U.S., 2006), dir. by David Grabias, Nicole Newnham. Nicole Newnham in Person. A heartbreaking portrait of three young Cambodian Americans facing deportation.
4:45 pm: Grain in Ear (South Korea/China, 2005), dir. by Zhang Lu.
This fable about a Korean Chinese woman supporting her son by illegally peddling kimchee won prizes at the Cannes, Pesaro, and Pusan film festivals. The film "finds Zhang Lu entering the territory Fassbinder once made his own: melodrama with a social conscience, executed with slightly shell-shocked restraint."-Tony Rayns
7:00 pm: Walk Like a Dragon (U.S., 1960), dir. by James Clavell. Actor James Shigeta in Person.
This East-meets-Western from 1960 features Shigeta as a proud immigrant in 1870s California.

Tuesday, March 21
7:30 pm: The Burnt Theatre (Cambodia/France, 2005), dir. by Rithy Panh.
Cambodia's former National Theatre, now lying abandoned next to a glitzy casino, is the site of Rithy Panh's spellbinding blend of documentary and fiction that asks how to rebuild one's country when capitalism is all-powerful and culture is nearly forgotten. An official selection of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.

Wednesday, March 22
7:30 pm: Dreaming Lhasa (U.S., 2005), dir. by Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam. U.S. Premiere!
A young Tibetan American journeys to Dharamsala, India, and discovers dub reggae and CIA agents among the Tibetan exiles there. "The first film to capture the majesty of Tibetan Buddhist culture and the complexity of its ties to the outside world."-Toronto International Film Festival

Saturday, March 25
4:45 pm: Café Lumière (Japan/Taiwan, 2004), dir. by Hou Hsiao-hsien.
The Taiwanese director pays tribute to Yasujiro Ozu in a meditative look at love in contemporary Tokyo, starring Tadanobu Asano.

Presented in conjunction with the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, this sequel to the successful Heroic Grace series presented at PFA in 2003 digs deeper into the enormously creative martial arts cinema of the seventies, when kung fu entered the American popular lexicon.

Friday, March 24
7:00 pm: Clans of Intrigue (Hong Kong, 1977), dir. by Chu Yuan.
Chu Yuan's gripping, baroque martial arts whodunit is filled with Buddhist monks, lesbian swordfighters, and risqué sexual flourishes.
9:00 pm: King Boxer (Hong Kong, 1972), dir. by Chung Chang-wha. Newly Restored by Celestial Pictures. An "Iron Fist" disciple battles Japanese villains in this gritty revenge tale, the first kung-fu film to be a hit in the West (under the title Five Fingers of Death).

Saturday, March 25
7:00 pm: The Boxer from Shantung (Hong Kong, 1972), dir. by Zhang Che, Bao Xueli. Newly Restored by Celestial Pictures. A hick muscles his way through 1930s Shanghai in this widely imitated classic; (Kung Fu Hustle borrowed its "axe gang").
9:30 pm: Dirty Ho (Hong Kong, 1979), dir. by Lau Kar-leung.
In this ingenious film directed by a martial arts grandmaster, a prodigal prince is targeted for assassination by his own brother.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is very happy to be part of the 24th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, presented by the Center for Asian American Media (formerly NAATA). On six evenings, from Friday, March 17 through Saturday, March 25, eleven features from this year's festival will be screened at the PFA Theater, which is located at 2575 Bancroft Way near Bowditch Street, on the southern edge of the UC Berkeley campus. On Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25, BAM/PFA will screen, in conjunction with the 24th SFIAAFF, "Heroic Grace: The Chinese Martial Arts Film, Part II," a selection of four outstanding martial arts films from 1970s Hong Kong.

Tickets for the PFA screenings in the 24th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival and "Heroic Grace" are available evenings at the PFA Theater box office, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Museum admissions desk, or by telephoning (510) 642-5249. General admission is $10 per program, with $8 tickets for students, seniors, and disabled persons, and $7 admission for BAM/PFA and Center for Asian American Media members. For information about festival screenings in San Francisco and San Jose, or on purchasing PFA tickets in San Francisco or online, visit the SFIAAFF website at www.asianamericanfilmfestival.org.

Among many highlights in this year's Festival presentations at the PFA Theater is an evening with esteemed Hollywood actor James Shigeta. He will appear in person at a screening of Walk Like a Dragon, a 1960 James Clavell Western set in the mythical town of Jericho, where Chinese, Mexican, French-Indian, and Anglo settlers inhabit a diverse, if inharmonious, community. Two other PFA programs feature in-person appearances. Film director Tanuj Chopra will attend the screening of his Punching at the Sun, about a Pakistani American teenager's travails in post-9/11 Queens, N.Y. when his older brother is murdered. The tragedy of three young Cambodian American men is presented in the documentary Sentenced Home, directed by David Grabias and Nicole Newnham. Newnham will appear in person at the screening of this film, which follows three young men who fled the Khmer Rouge as children and grew up in Seattle. After having served jail time for gang activities, they find themselves, due to post 9/11 changes to immigration laws, deported to a land they barely know.

The U.S. Premiere of Linda Linda Linda, presents an enjoyable, amusing view of Japanese high school life through the story of an all-girl rock band. It features a score by ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, and was directed by Nobuhiro Yamashita. Another U.S. Premiere is Dreaming Lhasa, set in the beautiful Himalayan foothill town of Dharamsala, India, where Tibetan Buddhists live in exile.

In Letter from an Unknown Woman, Chinese director Xu Jinglei re-imagines director Max Ophuls's 1948 saga tale of unrequited love. Xu, who received the Best Director award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, also stars as the lovelorn leading character in the film, which transposes the action from early-1900s Vienna to China during its Revolution.

Class, family, global politics, and wickedly satirical fantasies suffuse Memories in the Mist, a fable about an oppressed Bengali clerk who escapes into daydreams. It was directed by Buddhadeb Dasgupta, who won a Special Prize for Director at the 2000 Venice Film Festival for his film The Wrestlers.

The entertaining drama Citizen Dog, directed by Wisit Sasanatieng, presents a bright, pop collection of strange characters encountered by Pod, a country bumpkin who drives a taxi in a Bangkok where everyone sings and grows a tail, and the cityscape is prone to turning cherry red during CGI rainstorms. Film critic Chuck Stephens appears in a cameo.

Acclaimed Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien pays tribute to the great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu in his film Café Lumière, a tale of a troubled family. "Hou's sensitivity plus Ozu's inspiration equals sublimity of sight and sound."-David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor

Grain in Ear, directed by Zhang Lu, is a beautiful and delicate tale of a Korean Chinese woman who supports her young son by peddling kimchee illegally at deserted roadsides. This poignant film garnered prizes at the Cannes and Pesaro Film Festivals, and won the New Currents Award for Best Film at the Pusan Film Festival.

Acclaimed Cambodian director Rithy Panh, in the documentary The Burnt Theater, examines drama, culture, and national identity by bringing an acting troupe to live and rehearse in the ruins of Phnom Penh's once-resplendent Suramarith National Theatre.

A selection of inventive, enjoyable martial arts films made in Hong Kong in the 1970s will be shown on Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25 in the series, "Heroic Grace, The Chinese Martial Arts Film, Part II." Two of the films to be screened, King Boxer (a.k.a. Five Fingers of Death), directed by Chung Chang-wha, and The Boxer from Shantung, directed by Zhang Che and Bao Xueli, have been newly restored by Celestial Pictures. Also screening are the films Clans of Intrigue, directed by Chu Yuan, and Dirty Ho, by martial arts grandmaster Lau Kar-leung.

For more information about tickets or screenings at the PFA Theater, please phone (510) 642-1412. Complete program notes can be seen at http://bampfa.berkeley.edu/pfa_programs/24sfiaff/ .

Posted by admin on February 14, 2006