Sunday, April 18, 2010


Asian Films - The 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival

the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival

Besides the films I mentioned in "From Acclaimed Asian Directors," there are more Asian films at this year's San Francisco International Film Festival (SFiFF). Here are a few of my highlights.

Note: Film stills and film titles are linked to the festival Web site which lists the showtime and venue for each corresponding film.

  • Bodyguards and Assassins (十月围城 | Hong Kong/China 2009 | in Chinese | 138 min.)

    In 1905, exiled "Father of the Nation" Sun Yat-sen returns to Hong Kong to discuss the plan to overthrow the Qing Dynasty. "Bodyguards and Assassins" tells a story about protecting him from being assassinated during this visit. The film is a melting pot of sentimental melodrama, fantastic martial art sequences, suspensive thriller, and an all-star cast.

    A scene from Teddy Chen's BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS

  • A Brand New Life (여행자 | South Korea 2009 | in Korean | 92 min.)

    Loosely based on personal life, Ounie Lecomte's directorial debut "A Brand New Life" tells the stories about South Korean orphaned children who are waiting for adoption.

    A scene from Ounie Lecomte's A BRAND NEW LIFE

  • Empire of Silver (白银帝国 | China/Taiwan/Hong Kong 2009 | in Chinese | 113 min.)

    Another period drama at this year's festival is also set at the end of Qing Dynasty. Theatre director Christina Yao's directorial debut film "Empire of Silver" tells an epic story about a banker's heir (Aaron Kwok 郭富城) who must choose between love and his family business.

    A scene from Christina Yao's EMPIRE OF SILVER

  • Last Train Home (归途列车 | China/Canada 2009 | in Chinese | 87 min.)

    China's booming economy brings millions of peasants into the city to work, and they leave their families behind. Fan Lixin's superb and poignant documentary "Last Train Home" takes a closer look at these workers' struggle using the massive Chinese New Year transit madness as the backdrop—coming home for Chinese New Year is normally the only chance they can reunite with their families.

    A scene from Lixin Fan's documentary LAST TRAIN HOME

    Congratulations to Fan Lixin's "Last Train Home" for winning the Golden Gate Award in the Investigative Documentary Feature Category.

    Fan Lixin wins Golden Gate Award

  • Woman on Fire Looks for Water (遺情 | Malaysia/South Korea 2009 | in Chinese/Korean | 97 min.)

    Malaysia director Woo Ming-jin's "Woman on Fire Looks for Water" is a story about the love affairs of a father and his son who live in a small fishing village. With a title like Hong Sang-soo would have picked, and with inspiration in filmmaking from Jia Zhangke, Woo Ming-jin surely offers a delicious treat to his audience.

    A scene from Woo Ming-Jin's WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER

  • Moscow (양 한 마리 양 두 마리 | South Korea 2009 | in Korean | 104 min.)

    "Moscow" depicts how two innocent childhood friends are placed in opposite social domains once they grow up. They used to share the same dream when they were innocent children. However, the new reality is one is a labor activitist and the other works for a big corporation. Will they still be able to resume the old friendship?

    A scene from Whang Cheol-Mean's MOSCOW

    The festival trailer:


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