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Last year, the San Diego Asian Film Foundation's inaugural Spring Showcase yielded a bountiful crop of movies many of which, most notably Jackie Chan's Little Big Soldier, never received a theatrical release in our fair, if not artistically controverted, city. This could be your one and only chance to see these films on a theatre screen.

The pickings look mighty fine for this year's mini-festival which runs April 19-26 at UltraStar Cinemas Mission Valley. Having not yet seen any of the films on the docket, I turned to SDAFF's Artistic Director, Brian Hu, for a few quotes regarding why these 12 films made the cut.

Thursday, April 19

7 pm: Kang Hyeong-Cheol's Sunny

"A blend of nostalgia, laughs, bad attitude, and ladies you don't want to mess with. It's a wonderful movie that did gangbusters in Korea last year. Definitely recommended."

Friday, April 20

6:00 pm: Hirokazu Koreeda's I Wish

Koreeda is a pioneer when it come to mixing fiction and documentary. This is probably his most mainstream film and it's fascinating to watch the way in which he applies this blend to depicting the imagination of children."

8:30 pm: Jang Hun's The Front Line

"Every years Korea releases several films about relations between North and South. The Front Line finds news ways to explore the ambiguity between the two."

Saturday, April 21

11:00 am: Linda Goldstein Knowlton's Somewhere Between

"The director recently adopted a daughter from China and her film explores the various conflicts the child may encounter in years to come."

1:30 pm: Ko Giddens' You are the Apple of My Eye

"Taiwan's answer to American Pie, complete with the bawdy fun and the bald sincerity."

3:45 pm: Kang Hyeong-Cheol's Sunny

6:15 pm: Yamashita Nobuhiro's My Back Pages

"Think Carlos + Zodiac. A big, sprawling mess of 20th century angst. One of the best Japanese films of last year."

9:00 pm: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's Headshot

"From the director of Last Life in the Universe comes a fascinating variation on the hit-man genre which he uses to explore his preoccupation with themes of isolation.

Sunday, April 22

1:00 pm: Ramona S. Diaz's The Learning

"Baltimore high schools need teachers, so they hire a group of eager Filipino pro. Somebody's gonna get a learnin'. This fascinating doc about culture, globalization, and our public school system comes to us from the PBS documentary series, P.O.V."

5:45 pm: Johnnie To's Life without Principle

"A banker, a cop, and a gangster form the basis of three interlocking stories of greed and morality, wrapped around a curious murder. Action filmmaker Johnnie To at the top of his games when it comes to visual storytelling."

8:00 pm: Pen-Ek Ratanaruang's Headshot

Tuesday, April 24

6:00 pm: Prashant Bhargava's Patang (The Kite)

"An impressionistic, sensuous look at family and class during a kite festival. Roger Ebert has been raving about the film, which premiered at Berlin and will be playing Ebertfest right after it plays SDAFF."

Wednesday, April 25

6:00 pm: Johnnie To's Life without Principle

8:00 pm: Ann Hui's A Simple Life

"A movie producer, the only one of his relations still left in Hong Kong, takes in his family's elderly housekeeper. It is is already being called one of the greatest Hong Kong films ever -- and it's hard to disagree."

Thursday, April 26

5:45 pm: Ann Hui's A Simple Life

8:00 pm: Zoya Akhtar's Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara

"Bollywood set in Spain imagining a global jet set class of Indians who prove they can fit in anywhere by singing and dancing. Good, colorful fun."

All screenings take place at UltraStar Cinemas at Mission Valley. Tickets are $11 general admission, $7 for SDAFF members, and $8.50 for students, seniors, and the military. $9 tickets are available for groups of ten or more, and there is always the festival pass which runs $60 for SDAFF members and $100 for the general public.

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