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GreenCine Movie Talk
Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

SF's International Asian American Film Festival
Topic by: kamapuaa
Posted: February 23, 2004 - 2:23 AM PST
Last Reply: March 4, 2004 - 9:31 AM PST

author topic: SF's International Asian American Film Festival
kamapuaa
post #1  on February 23, 2004 - 2:23 AM PST  
You got that right, it's the International Asian American Film Festival in San Francisco, starting next week. Actually, from a brief scan of the titles, the selection looks maybe not-so-great. I'll have to do some investigative research to find what's worth checking out - if anybody cares to make a recommendation that would be great.

I don't think old movies most people have already seen belong in a film festival, especially when you can get them at a video store (or Greencine). But some oldies-but-goodies like "God of Cookery" are showing. "Kal Ho Naa Ho," while unbelievably the only Bollywood selected, is definitely worth watching - but that can be found on DVD (not Greencine, yet), and it might be more fun to see that at Naz 8, anyway.
IWhitney
post #2  on February 23, 2004 - 10:28 AM PST  
> On February 23, 2004 - 2:23 AM PST kamapuaa wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> You got that right, it's the International Asian American Film Festival in San Francisco, starting next week. Actually, from a brief scan of the titles, the selection looks maybe not-so-great. I'll have to do some investigative research to find what's worth checking out - if anybody cares to make a recommendation that would be great.
> ---------------------------------

Well, you should see Hero, if you haven't already. The copy of Shaolin Soccer should be subtitled and (I think) unedited. Stephen Chow movies are always better with an audience, so God of Cookery is another must.

If you haven't seen Come Drink With Me (currently only available on a region-encoded HK DVD), do check it out. It's not my favorite King Hu film (oh why, oh why won't they release his version of Dragon Inn?) but it's pretty damn good.

Opinion varies on Takeshi Kitano's Dolls. I thought it was quite pretty, but not as well thought-out as Kitano's other films. Hope I don't insult my own icon by saying that.

I've heard good thing about Masters of the Pillow, but haven't seen it myself.

Looks like there's plenty to explore. I wish I was there.
ggsuperhero
post #3  on February 23, 2004 - 12:22 PM PST  
Hey a whole bunch of us from GC are watching Kal Ho Naa Ho at the Castro, should be fun! I saw this movie at Naz 8 but it should be worth watching it with the Castro audience. It'll be rent-able at GreenCine soon, BTW.
cryptoc
post #4  on February 26, 2004 - 12:27 PM PST  
> I've heard good thing about Masters of the Pillow, but haven't seen it myself.

Golly. Heard good things about a hitherto unexploited porn niche? Who'd a thunk it. J/K, I'm all for variety in any entertainment, including adult. I would disagree with the filmmakers though - the lack of diversity in front of the camera is but one symptom of the lack of variety BEHIND the camera. Due to a particular legal precedent, virtually all american porn is produced in California, or rather L.A., producing a terrible lack of variety in all aspects. Porn in America is not so much American as it is Southern Californian, and all that that entails. Small wonder that the less self-conscious and better informed Greencine members are clamoring for imports, they're as bored with mainstream L.A. porn as they are with mainstream Hollywood movies.

On a side note, it seems like many of the movies listed at that film festival are just plain Asian, not Asian-American. What gives?
kamapuaa
post #5  on February 26, 2004 - 1:13 PM PST  
> On a side note, it seems like many of the movies listed at that film festival are just plain Asian, not Asian-American. What gives?

Asian-American culture includes watching the movies of the country the family's from. Every Indian I know watches those Bollywood movies like nothing else, and you can't go a block in the Chinatown I live, without somebody selling Chinese or Vietnamese VCDs.

I can see that they should use the film festival to promote an independent Asian-American culture. At the same time, there's plenty of opportunities to see such things (at least in the Bay Area), and they usually attract 5 or 6 people.
DLeonard
post #6  on February 26, 2004 - 1:28 PM PST  
Any word on the new Kiyoshi Kurosawa film Bright Future?
giantrobot
post #7  on February 28, 2004 - 8:55 PM PST  
> On February 23, 2004 - 10:28 AM PST IWhitney wrote:
> Well, you should see Hero, if you haven't already.

The big question is, is it really worth $30 to see Hero? That's a lot of moolah, even for such a highly recommended film.

>The copy of Shaolin Soccer should be subtitled and (I think) unedited. Stephen Chow movies are always better with an audience, so God of Cookery is another must.

We'll be at this, and yes, these are always better in a crowd setting...
IWhitney
post #8  on February 29, 2004 - 8:49 AM PST  
> On February 28, 2004 - 8:55 PM PST giantrobot wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On February 23, 2004 - 10:28 AM PST IWhitney wrote:
> > Well, you should see Hero, if you haven't already.
>
> The big question is, is it really worth $30 to see Hero? That's a lot of moolah, even for such a highly recommended film.
>
> ---------------

The answer to that depends on if you believe Miramax will ever get around to releasing the film theatrically in the states. If you say yes, then $30 is too much. Wait until June. If you say no, then I'd say $30 is worth it. It's simply the most beautiful thing I've ever seen on film & that's from watching it on DVD. A theatrical showing might melt my eyes.
giantrobot
post #9  on February 29, 2004 - 1:29 PM PST  
> On February 29, 2004 - 8:49 AM PST IWhitney wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On February 28, 2004 - 8:55 PM PST giantrobot wrote:
> > The big question is, is it really worth $30 to see Hero? That's a lot of moolah, even for such a highly recommended film.
> > ---------------
> The answer to that depends on if you believe Miramax will ever get around to releasing the film theatrically in the states. If you say yes, then $30 is too much. Wait until June. If you say no, then I'd say $30 is worth it. It's simply the most beautiful thing I've ever seen on film & that's from watching it on DVD. A theatrical showing might melt my eyes.
> ---------------------------------

Ah, I guess it's a moot point anyway, since I just checked and it's sold out. I guess lots of other people didn't think $30 was too much. Maybe I'll hold out for the IMAX release!
kamapuaa
post #10  on March 3, 2004 - 7:04 PM PST  
Here it is - a brief list of what looks good and why. I'm sure others are more qualified than me to give recommendations, and of course there's guessing involved, but here goes:

3/5/4 - Shanghai Express. Marlene Dietrich and von Sternberg, of "Blue Angel", team up again, also with Anna May Wong.

Invisible Light - no real reason. Although I haven't seen so many, and don't know much about the scene, recent Korean movies are sooo great. Personally, I'm just trying them out at random, and this looks as good as any.

3/6/4 - Daughter of Shanghai. Another Anna May Wong, I've heard it's a great pulp noir set in SF.

The Ride - Surfing movie with a plot, and a historical setting in old time Waikiki? Weird. But, surfing movies are almost as fun as zombie movies.

Invisible Light (again)

3/7/4 - Kal Ho Naa Ho. Definitely the best Bollywood movie for those who haven't seen one before, one of my favorite movies overall for 2003.

Bright Future - Kiyoshi Kurosawa! Mixed reviews.

The Ride (again)

3/8/4 - Shaolin Soccer/God of Cookery. I admit, I'm happy just watching these on a $2 VCD. But others say it's best in a crowded theater, hmmm...

Music Video Asia - I've seen half of these, they're great (there's a lot of good concerts & music in town this coming week, actually)

3/10/4 - Dolls. Takeshi Kitano! (I've yet to find anybody from Japan who likes his movies, or anybody from the US who knows who he is, but doesn't)
mayhemmm
post #11  on March 4, 2004 - 12:15 AM PST  
> On a side note, it seems like many of the movies listed at that film festival are just plain Asian, not Asian-American. What gives?
> ---------------------------------

Well the other thing is that there aren't that many "Asian American" feature length films coming out every year which is a really sad state of affairs. How many can you think of? Hollywood isn't exactly doling out cash to bankroll these ideas, for instance watch the Q&A with Ebert on the "Charlotte Sometimes." We're lucky that it actually showed on screens outside of festivals AND it was released on DVD. Filmmakers have can't get credit lines big enough to make feature length films of the type that are showcased in festivals.

Try watching some of the programs of shorts where a lot of the films are not only Asian American, but many are made right here in the Bay Area - your friends and relatives whom you didn't even know were making movies on the side basically for free - people who are trying make films who otherwise have 9 to 5 jobs because - like I said above - Hollywood doesn't chase after Asian American filmmakers writing blank checks and greenlighting projects left and right. You'll be surprised at the sophistication of plots, dialogue, special effects, etc. I've seen some of them premiered elsewhere and these are the folks who are going to be designing national ad campaigns, making music videos, animating websites, and ultimately (we hope and pray) getting someone at Miramax to tell them to go ahead and make a movie on their dime.

I'll get off my soap box now.

P.S. I'm did not work on any film in the festival, nor am I working at the festival. I just love film.


cryptoc
post #12  on March 4, 2004 - 9:31 AM PST  
> On March 4, 2004 - 12:15 AM PST mayhemmm wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> > On a side note, it seems like many of the movies listed at that film festival are just plain Asian, not Asian-American. What gives?
> > ---------------------------------
>
> Well the other thing is that there aren't that many "Asian American" feature length films coming out every year which is a really sad state of affairs. How many can you think of? Hollywood isn't exactly doling out cash to bankroll these ideas, for instance watch the Q&A with Ebert on the "Charlotte Sometimes." We're lucky that it actually showed on screens outside of festivals AND it was released on DVD. Filmmakers have can't get credit lines big enough to make feature length films of the type that are showcased in festivals.
>

Well I'm sure that probably boils down to economics, mostly, because the only color that really matters in Hollywood is green. There's no reason not to put minorities in roles in films for the general audience (but a lot of brain-dead ones), even as leads. But if you're going to produce a film about a minority specifically for/about a minority market, the budget of the movie is going to be limited by the projected returns. Or bankroll it yourself. Big films require big markets - and a lot of the big films these days go worldwide. "Urban" (AKA Afro-american) films can pull this off, but I'm not sure if the Asian-American market is big enough or even cohesive enough to make them.

Which begs the question, why aren't there more Mexican-American themed films? Or are there, they're just mostly in Spanish?

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