Sunday, October 11, 2009

SDAFF 2009: Perks of being on staff

One of the best perks about being on staff for the San Diego Asian Film Foundation is the chance to watch the films before it premiers at the festival. So after seeing some of them, these are the films I recommend:

YOU DON’T KNOW JACK was an absolute delight. Too young to even know what Barney Miller was, I really didn’t have a clue who Jack Soo was. Turns out he’s this amazing guy who refused to quit moving forward even though he was in the internment camps as a young adult. He became one of the first Asian American actors who turned down stereotypical roles and never stopped striving to be the best. People who worked with him, people who knew him, they all described him as this really cool and hip guy. Sounds like the kind of guy SDAFF would invite to the festival. This is a definite must see for all aspiring Asian American actors/actresses, all Asian American cinephiles, anyone who wants to know more about Asian Americans in film, and of course, fans of Jack Soo.

THE CLONE RETURNS HOME is one of the more interesting films I’ve seen in a while. The pace is slow and the story is drawn out, but the visuals of each scene are very thought out and very beautiful. There is a definite Japanese influence in the theme of dealing with the ghosts in your past. I can’t really tell you it’s a hate it or love it film, because there are certain things about it that I loved, and certain things that I hated. Maybe it’s a love-hate film? At any rate, you will be talking about THE CLONE RETURNS HOME after it is over.

If you missed THIRST in the theaters, or you absolutely loved it and want to see it again, here’s your chance. This past San Diego Comic Con, I was able to catch the THIRST panel. And guess who was there? None other than Park Chan-Wook. During the interview, they got to talking about how Park Chan-Wook wanted to make a movie that would be appropriate for his daughter to see. So he made I’M A CYBORG BUT THAT’S OK. His daughter said it was ok, but it wasn’t PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. Major burnage. Then he made THIRST and the moderator made a comment about how THIRST was the anti-TWILIGHT. The audience cheered, but Park Chan-Wook kind of laughed and said something along the lines of, “Don’t tell my daughter that. She loves TWILIGHT.” Anyway, THIRST is awesome. I really liked it.

IP MAN: Closing night film. Semi-biography about Bruce Lee’s master. Do I really need to say more?

PRIVATE EYE was fun. I’ll admit it tries to do too many things in one movie, but it was a pretty good attempt. Loved how the story unfolded, and the twist on noir detective stories. And I absolutely loved how cute and awkward Ryoo Deok-hwan was. Is.

ANTOINE is a trip. It’s like an experimental documentary with a touch of Antoine’s imagination. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. But it’s good—it’s a story about perseverance. It makes you appreciate all the things you take granted. Oh and tidbit I learned: the soundtrack is comprised of everything Antoine recorded and is sort of remixed into a track. It’s awesome. And Antoine’s really cute. Go on an adventure and check it out.

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