Every spring, San Francisco's Japantown is the hot spot to be. Tens of thousands come to Japantown to celebrate the Cherry Blossom Festival, and also come to attend the longest-running film festival in the Americas — the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFiFF).
With more than 150 films from more than 50 countries, the 52nd San Francisco International Film Festival (SFiFF52) will take place April 23 - May 7 at Sundance Kabuki Theater, Castro Theater, Landmark's Clay Theater, and other venues.
As always, this year's program is full of excitements. It contains a wide spectrum of recent world cinema as well as a few retrospective programs. Regardless one's taste in films, everybody should be able to find something that is familiar and delightful. In addition, people have plenty to choose from at the festival if in the mood of experiencing something new and challenging.
Here is a list of films that I am looking forward to at SFiFF52.
More films to come...
- Still Walking (歩いても 歩いても | Japan 2008 | in Japanese | 114 min.)
Director Hirokazu Kore-eda's (是枝裕和) "Nobody Knows" (誰も知らない) is one of my all time favorites, and I also enjoy his period drama "Hana" (花よりもなほ, SFiFF50). Now I am thrilled that his highly anticipated new film "Still Walking" (歩いても 歩いても) comes to the festival. "Still Walking" tells a story about grown children visiting their elderly parents on one summer day. It shows how a family is bonded by love as well as resentments and secrets. A must see.
- Artemisia (艾草 | Taiwan 2008 | in Mandarin | 85 min.)
Chiang Hsiu Chiung's (姜秀瓊) feature directorial debut "Artemisia" (艾草) is nothing short of excellence. The film is an affectional and beautiful portrait of a loving mother Ai-chao who struggles to cope with her family's affairs that reflect the changing society in Taiwan.
My full review.
- Every Little Step (USA 2008 | 96 min.)
Based on the audition process of the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line, documentary "Every Little Step" is a touching and endearing film that pays tributes to artists of many generations. It captures auditionees' heartfelt journeys and explores A Chorus Line's legacy.
- Good Cats (好猫 | China 2008 | in Chinese/Sichuan dialect | 103 min.)
After director Ying Liang's (应亮) feature debut "Taking Father Home" (背鸭子的男孩) won the SFiFF49's SKKY Prize, all of his feature films have been selected by the SFiFF since. His second film "The Other Half" (另一半) was shown at last year's SFiFF. His latest film "Good Cats" (好猫) will be shown at this year's SFiFF. It's a story about greed and corruption beneath the current rapid modernization in China. I have seen this film frame by frame numerous times because I donated my time and talent to translate the entire film. I hope the countless hours I spent on revising and editing its English subtitles will pay off when the translation conveys the story to the audience.