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Films & Schedules - Asian

AMERICAN DREAMS IN CHINA

Fri, Feb 14, 2014
at 5:45 PM (Fox Tower)
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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
at 5:45 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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AMERICAN DREAMS IN CHINA

DIRECTOR: Peter Ho-Sun Chan - HONG KONG

In 1985, in the midst of China’s economic reform period, three college students in Beijing—an overzealous country boy who refuses to accept his destiny of being a farmer, a cynical intellectual with a superiority complex, and a romantic idealist who wants to be a movie star—bond through a shared fascination with Western literature, music, and movies and an ambition to live the American dream. This sets the three on a roundabout course toward the foundation of a wildly successful English-language tutorial institute—but fame, enormous fortune, and lawsuits test the bonds of ambition. Shot by superstar cinematographer Christopher Doyle and dubbed...

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BACK TO 1942

Sun, Feb 16, 2014
at 6:30 PM (OMSI)
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Tue, Feb 18, 2014
at 8:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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BACK TO 1942

DIRECTOR: Xiaogang Feng - CHINA

In 1942, Henan province was devastated by the most tragic famine in modern Chinese history, resulting in the deaths of at least three million people. Although the primary cause was a severe drought, the situation was exacerbated by locusts, windstorms, earthquakes, epidemic disease, Kuomintang government corruption, and the chaos of the Sino-Japanese War. Like his epic Aftershock (PIFF 35), Xiaogang Feng’s sweeping saga is a gut-wrenching account told through the eyes of wealthy landlord Master Fan, forced to flee both famine and advancing troops, and a Time magazine journalist (Adrien Brody) investigating the misery. “Feng Xiaogang has been called China’s...

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BENDS

Sun, Feb 9, 2014
at 5:30 PM (CANCELLED)
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Thu, Feb 13, 2014
at 6 PM (Fox Tower)
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BENDS

DIRECTOR: Flora Lau - HONG KONG

Bends straddles the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border and tells the emotionally touching story of Anna, an affluent housewife, and Fai, her chauffeur, and their unexpected friendship as they each negotiate the social contradictions and pressures of Hong Kong life and the city’s increasingly complex relationship to mainland China. Fai is struggling to find a way to bring his pregnant (in violation of the one-child policy) wife Tai over the Hong Kong border from Shenzhen to give birth to their second child, even though he crosses the border easily every day working as Anna’s chauffeur. Anna, in contrast, is struggling to keep...

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ILO ILO

Sat, Feb 8, 2014
at 3:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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Tue, Feb 11, 2014
at 6 PM (Cinema 21 (large theater))
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ILO ILO

DIRECTOR: Anthony Chen - SINGAPORE

Chen’s bittersweet drama about the relationship between a 10-year-old boy named Jiale and his caretaker Teresa in late 1990s Singapore won the Camera d’Or Award for Best Debut Feature Film at the Cannes Film Festival. Set during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the film focuses on Teresa’s arrival from the Philippines in search of a better life and the comfort Jiale takes in Teresa’s expanding role within the family as monetary hardships threaten to splinter his parents’ marriage. “Brimming with love, humor, and heartbreak…a small but immensely likable gem.”—Variety. “The very beating heart and soul of cinematic storytelling.”—Film Comment....

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JUVENILE OFFENDER

Thu, Feb 13, 2014
at 6 PM (Cinema 21 (large theater))
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Sat, Feb 15, 2014
at 3:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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JUVENILE OFFENDER

DIRECTOR: Kang Yi-kwan - SOUTH KOREA

An appeal for societal and personal reform, this intimate crime drama peers into the consequences of cyclical, intergenerational abandonment as experienced by a troubled 16-year-old boy named Ji-gu. Living with his ailing grandfather, he falls in with the wrong crowd and, after committing larceny, ends up in juvenile detention. There, he reunites with Hyo-seung, his destitute mother, who gave birth to him as a teenager and left him when he was only three years old. Against the backdrop of Seoul’s affluent metropolis, Ji and his mother’s story is as much about social problems as it is about a young outsider’s...

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THE MISSING PICTURE

Fri, Feb 7, 2014
at 6 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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Sat, Feb 15, 2014
at 6 PM (World Trade Center Theater)
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THE MISSING PICTURE

DIRECTOR: Rithy Panh - CAMBODIA

As the only family survivor of Pol Pot’s reign of terror (1975-1979), Cambodian-French director Rithy Panh has been searching for images all his life. While already a chronicler of Cambodia’s genocide, he shifts to his own childhood recollections with The Missing Picture. Unable to locate photos from the time, Panh uses hundreds of clay figures and dioramas to convey the action—the rice fields, the camps, the summary executions. Hand-carved and hand-painted, these figures stand in for Panh’s parents and family, along with key perpetrators. Scratchy, monochromatic stills from archival propaganda footage are eerily juxtaposed with these colorful, miniature people, all...

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NOBODY’S DAUGHTER HAEWON

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Fox Tower)
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Thu, Feb 20, 2014
at 8:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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NOBODY’S DAUGHTER HAEWON

DIRECTOR: Hong Sang-soo - SOUTH KOREA

Why does Seoul student Haewon keep dozing off? Is she depressed by her mother’s departure for Canada? Tired of her relationship with her teacher, the fickle—and married—filmmaker Seongjun? Will the events of the coming weeks rouse her from her listlessness, or will she carry on dreaming? With its focus on fraught male-female relationships, mix of gentle comedy and meditative melancholia, and playful way with narrative repetition and fragmentation, this is clearly a Hong Sang-soo film. In Hong’s view of human foibles, the various men hitting on Haewon are again prone to bathos and self-delusion, while she herself is as insecure...

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STRAY DOGS

Sat, Feb 15, 2014
at 3:15 PM (Fox Tower)
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Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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STRAY DOGS

DIRECTOR: Tsai Ming-Liang - TAIWAN

In Ming-Liang’s vision, existence seems to hang by a thread that could snap at any moment. Under a torrential downpour in Taipei, a single father does odd jobs to make a meager living. His children, left without supervision, roam the streets. Their divorced mother spends her nights creeping around like a ghost in her rundown building and feeding the stray dogs that take shelter there. With his latest offering, the Taiwanese filmmaker delves deeper into his evocative cinematic world, one where disenfranchised people are overcome with an uneasiness they can’t explain. With its gorgeous lighting and striking locations and compositions,...

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TRAP STREET

Sat, Feb 8, 2014
at 3:30 PM (Cinemagic)
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
at 6 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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TRAP STREET

DIRECTOR: Vivian Qu - CHINA

“A poignant and engaging mystery, Vivian Qu’s feature debut plunges us into the fascinating world of state surveillance in China as it follows a digital mapping surveyor’s investigation of an ‘off-the-grid’ hidden alley. Li Qiuming works at a digital mapping company, photographing the streets that comprise the maze of China’s ever-changing cities. One day while out surveying, he sees through his viewfinder an attractive woman disappearing into a secluded alley. Unable to forget the mysterious lady who has triggered his romantic imagination, Qiuming returns to where he saw her first, only to discover that the data he collected there was...

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THE WAY WE DANCE

Mon, Feb 17, 2014
at 7:30 PM (Cinema 21 (small theaters))
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Fri, Feb 21, 2014
at 7 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
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THE WAY WE DANCE

DIRECTOR: Adam Wong - HONG KONG

A surprise hit in Hong Kong, the low-budget The Way We Dance, like most dance movies, is a celebration of vibrant youth, as well as hopes and dreams fulfilled. Leaving her parents’ tofu restaurant behind, aspiring dancer Fleur enters university and joins the hip-hop dance club. Her idiosyncratic moves are too advanced for the other dancers, but she finds approval from the chairman of the tai chi club, who encourages her to connect with her inner martial artist. With an appropriately minimalist (romantic drama) plot, Wong inventively mashes contemporary street and traditional Chinese moves with Kung-fu spirit to capture “the...

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