Sunday, October 24, 2010

DAY 3 – WE HAVE TO “GO MON” AND BE “A MON”


The festival is in full swing and we’re not talking about playground toys (unless you checked out NI HAO KAI LAN & KID’S CORNER; in case you might not know, Ni hao in Chinese means “You good” or “Hi”) but sword swings (GOEMON), swinging emotions (MACHO LIKE ME), hips a swinging (SONGS FROM THE SOUTHERN SEAS) and loyalties swinging from one side to the other (BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS).

Directed by Kazuaki Kiriya - the dude that did the groundbreaking, pseudo-future sci-fi epic CASSHERN – GOEMON was a culinary delight of visual effects, over the top frenetic paced action that had all the sensibilities of old-style chambara (Japanese sword fighting films) with new-age manga stylism and late ‘80s Hong Kong choreography.

It was a large full house with a highly diverse crowd, a good sign that the SDAFF is indeed a festival that is successfully bringing together (at least for a week) the various Asian American communities in San Diego under one roof. This is one of the tenets of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation, to unite these communities…way to go SDAFFers.

I’ve got to humorously add that Murphy’s Law was in full affect. I’ve been able to get into the theaters pretty fast and find great seats, and of course save one for my wife Silvia who’s usually finishing up doing a healing session at our booth in the lobby. We really wanted to see GOEMON together, so as she sat next to me, the film started, we both had the perfect view of the film. This of course is even more important when we have to read subtitles.

Then as crazy as this sounds, a dude arrived and there was a few seats on either side of us and one in front of us and so as Murphy’s Logic dictates he sits directly in front of us. The only problem is that this fellow had an Afro hairstyle that took up three seats of viewing. We had to grin. Fortunately we jumped back one row and all was fine. It was a hair raising experience, very ‘70s…far-out man.

And speaking of far-out man, to me, MACHO LIKE ME is the biggest surprise of the festival thus far. I haven't had time to transcribe the taped Q&A session from after the film with the movie's star, director and writer Helie Lee. I wish to share more with you on her film, where for seven months or so, she dressed, walked and talked like a man in order to understand more about things she never knew existed until she found them...the irony being that they found her.

There’s more to write about on this day, but it’s time to get to the Festival, so more will be on the way for Saturday so I hope it’s okay that I’ll continue into this foray, as later I will have more to say.

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