San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival at PFA

3/12/10 to 3/20/10

The Center for Asian American Media brings you the best in contemporary cinema from Asia and the Asian diaspora. This year's festival includes a spotlight on Filipino director Lino Brocka.

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  • The Forbidden Door, March 13

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Past Films

  • Manila in the Claws of Neon

    • Saturday, March 20 6:00 pm

    Lino Brocka (Philippines, 1975). A young provincial comes to Manila to look for his lost love, and soon loses himself in the teeming metropolis, in Brocka's powerhouse noir. This portrait of a city caught between heaven and hell is one of the most influential Filipino films ever made. (124 mins)

  • About Elly

    • Saturday, March 20 8:30 pm

    Asghar Farhadi (Iran, 2009). A nerve-wracking, meticulously choreographed drama and a keen dissection of the Iranian middle class, About Elly follows a group of old friends and the mysterious disappearance of their guest. Winner, Best Feature, Tribeca Film Festival. (119 mins)

  • What We Talk About When We . . . : Shorts by Apichatpong, Tsai, Jia, and Hong

    • Friday, March 19 7:00 pm

    (2008–2009). New short films by four masters of contemporary cinema: Apichatpong and Jia (named Directors of the Decade in a TIFF/Cinematheque poll), Tsai (Goodbye Dragon Inn), and Hong (Night and Day). (102 mins)

  • City of Life and Death

    • Friday, March 19 9:10 pm

    Lu Chuan (China, 2009). Lu Chuan (Kekexili: Mountain Patrol) spent four years creating this visceral black-and-white epic on the 1937 Nanking Massacre, as experienced by both Chinese and Japanese. Called a Chinese Saving Private Ryan, it's one of the most acclaimed-and controversial-films from the mainland in years. (129 mins)

  • Bayan Ko: My Own Country

    • Thursday, March 18 9:00 pm

    Lino Brocka (Philippines, 1984). Made during the latter days of the Marcos Administration, Bayan Ko is a shocking political noir of how even depoliticized individuals are destroyed by economic circumstances. Its Cannes screening caused a furious Marcos regime to revoke Brocka's citizenship. (108 mins)

  • Hana, Dul, Sed

    • Thursday, March 18 7:00 pm

    Brigitte Weich (Austria, 2009). Five players from North Korea's women's national soccer team, caught between needing to succeed on the pitch and to be “flowers of society” off of it, are followed in this vibrant documentary about life, sport, and sex roles in that country. (98 mins)

  • Agrarian Utopia

    • Wednesday, March 17 7:00 pm

    Uruphong Raksasad (Thailand, 2009). Electric storms, morning mist, and organic crops are but a few of the “characters” in this visually stunning document about farming life in a time of globalization. Two Thai families deal with local nature-and global finance-to survive the seasons. (121 mins)

  • Mundane History

    • Wednesday, March 17 9:20 pm

    Anocha Suwichakornpong (Thailand, 2009). An intimate relationship develops between a male nurse and an invalid, housebound young man in this gorgeously languid new Thai film. “A simple, yet abstract film with a mesmerizing aura.”-Hollywood Reporter (81 mins)

  • Tehran Without Permission

    • Tuesday, March 16 7:00 pm

    Sepideh Farsi (France/Iran, 2009). Filmed clandestinely on the streets of Tehran during the weeks leading up to last year's controversial elections, this eye-opening documentary (shot, remarkably, on a cell phone) captures the fears, hopes, and insecurities of a nation about to erupt. (83 mins)

  • The People I've Slept With

    • Tuesday, March 16 8:45 pm

    Quentin Lee (U.S., 2009). Quentin Lee in person. Angela Yang loves sex, but when she discovers she's pregnant, it's time to find the daddy. This hot-blooded new comedy, starring Karin Anna Cheung (Better Luck Tomorrow) and Archie Kao (CSI), is the real Sex and the City, with youthful energy and true diversity. (89 mins)

  • Lessons of the Blood

    • Sunday, March 14 3:00 pm

    James T. Hong, Yin-Ju Chen (U.S., 2010). James T. Hong in person. This brilliant, intellectually cunning essay film opens up the explosive, contested history of Japanese atrocities and biological warfare in China during WWII. Drawing on the Olympics, the Iraq War, and other contemporary “lessons,” Lessons offers a fascinating analysis of how “truth” is communicated. (103 mins)

  • Dear Doctor

    • Sunday, March 14 5:30 pm

    Miwa Nishikawa (Japan, 2009). A rural doctor vanishes one day without a word, leaving villagers to sort through his past, and their town's, in this poignant drama from one of Japan's most acclaimed female directors, a former protégé of Hirokazu Kore-eda. (127 mins)

  • Prince of Tears

    • Sunday, March 14 8:00 pm

    Yonfan (Hong Kong/Taiwan, 2009). Two young sisters come of age during Taiwan's brutal anticommunist crackdowns of the fifties. This examination of how living under terror can turn even the most hopeful dreams into nightmares was Hong Kong's entry to the Academy Awards. (123 mins)

  • Like You Know It All

    • Saturday, March 13 5:30 pm

    Hong Sang-soo (South Korea, 2009). An art-house director blunders his way through a series of uncomfortable encounters, most involving women, alcohol, and his own petty insecurities, in Hong's latest dissection of the sometimes-thinking, always-drinking man. (127 mins)

  • The Forbidden Door

    • Saturday, March 13 8:00 pm

    Joko Anwar (Indonesia, 2009). A successful but brooding Jakarta sculptor finds his days fast becoming nightmares, thanks to his involvement in a voyeuristic reality show, in this Lynchian Indonesian horror film. “A stylish and teasing chiller that would make Hitchcock and Almodóvar proud.”-Hollywood Reporter (110 mins)

  • In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee

    • Saturday, March 13 3:30 pm

    Deann Borshay Liem (U.S., 2009). Deann Borshay Liem in person. Given another girl's identity as a child, a Korean American adoptee returns to Korea to find the “real” Cha Jung Hee in this moving, complex journey through an individual's-and a nation's-conflicted past. With excerpts from Memory of a Forgotten War. (70 mins)

  • Independencia

    • Friday, March 12 7:00 pm

    Raya Martin (Philippines, 2009). A Filipino family hides in the jungle from American patrols in this Cannes discovery, set during the early twentieth century. Filmed in deep-focus black-and-white, it purposefully recreates a classic Hollywood studio-exotica look to investigate culture, colonialism, and cinema. (77 mins)

  • The Message

    • Friday, March 12 8:40 pm

    Chen Kuo-fu, Gao Qunshu (China, 2009). In Japanese-occupied Nanjing, “the Phantom” is leaking Japanese secrets to the resistance. Five suspects are rounded up: will they destroy one another-and the resistance-to save themselves? This fast-paced action thriller stars Li Bingbing and Zhou Xun (Suzhou River). (115 mins)