Okay, while the tribe has spoken, Festival Artistic Director Anderson Le and Senior Programmer Abraham Ferrer have hung back, letting everybody soak in the excellent film recommendations of the Film Festival’s Program Committee. But now, it’s time to find out what Anderson and Abe are getting excited over as the curtain is raised on Festival Week 2012. Check it out y’all, and if you’re as excited as we are with their recommendations, then GO see these movies!
ABRAHAM FERRER Recommends…
ARISAN! 2 by Nia diNata
Indonesian directorial impressario Nia diNata’s follow-up to her groundbreaking ARISAN! finds her examining the passage of time on her quintet of Jakarta trend-setters. They may be ten years older and tied up with more complex relationships on both sides of the fence, but you know what? You’ll find yourself rooting for them because you can relate to their real-world problems. A soulful, more nuanced revisit.
CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT by Yung Chang
Award-winning director Yung Chang revisits the “New” China in his follow-up to UP THE YANGTZE, resulting in a riveting, heartbreaking, yet hopeful story of people caught up in the glow of post-Olympic glory. What happens to ex-champ Qi Moxiang as he trains the future champions of China yet pines for one last chance at glory is emotional and excruciating in director Chang’s unobtrusive yet nuanced documentary.
GOLDEN SLUMBERS by Davy Chou
One of my absolute favorites of the current film festival season, and one we made sure we programmed here. Davy Chou’s singular efforts to excavate the legacy of a once-vibrant Cambodian cinema industry that was virtually exterminated by the Khmer Rouge is memorialized in a lovingly crafted film that gives voice to a truly lost generation.
VIETTE by Mye Hoang
While watching Mye Hoang’s slow-burning debut feature, I came away with the sense I was watching one of those 1990s-era indie dramas where the emoting onscreen comes from a place that’s buried deep within the psyche. The pre-NOWHERE films of Gregg Araki made me feel like that. So does the screenwriting of HP Mendoza (see below). I guess that means that Mye Hoang runs with decidely rarified company, then…
YES, WE’RE OPEN by Richard Wong
Richard Wong’s third feature-length collaboration with screenwriter HP Mendoza is at once an Asian American BOB & CAROL & TED & ALICE in its frank take on San Francisco swinging society, and a meditative treatise on loyalty and devotion. That’s partly due to Parry Shen and Lynn Chen’s frisky performances as lead couple Luke and Sylvia; and partly due to HP Mendoza’s droll yet honest screenplay. For anyone who’s been keeping an eye on this director/screenwriter team since their breakout hit COLMA: THE MUSICAL, you won’t be disappointed.
ANDERSON LE Recommends…
10+10 by Hou Hsiao Hsien, Arvin Chen, Wang Shaudi, Wei Te-sheng, and many others
An omnibus of short films from Taiwan’s best directors, this cinematic treat represents the cultural, political and social flavors of the island nation.
OVER MY DEAD BODY by Wu Seon-ho
Catch this special sneak peek of this dark comedy inspired by SHALLOW GRAVE and WEEKEND AT BERNIES stars K-superstars KIM Ok-vin (THIRST) and RYOO Seung-beom (ARAHAN).
THE ORATOR by Tusi Tamasese
From award winning director Tusi Tamasese comes this poetic and artful film shot entirely in Western Samoa. World premiered at Venice Film Festival! THE ORATOR opens the Long Beach portion of the Festival.
I AM A GHOST by HP Mendoza
H.P. Mendoza’s atmospheric ode to Hammer horror is a sight to be seen; a disciplined, slow burn of a ghostly tale that will leave an indelible, unshakeable feeling afterwards. Mendoza is a wunderkind himself, a multi-hyphenate who writes, directs, and can compose amazing music. He is also the screenwriter for YES, WE’RE OPEN, the Festival’s Saturday Gala.
WHERE HEAVEN MEETS HELL by Sasha Friedlander
Think you’ve got it hard? How about working in a sulfur mine in the middle of an active volcano? This beautiful doc follows said miners as they go through hardships in work, life and family near Bali, Indonesia.
ANDERSON LE and ABRAHAM FERRER both watch lots of movies. Anderson is a karaoke fiend. Abe reads a lot. Anderson sleeps with his smartphone at his side. Abe falls asleep to late-night reruns of TODAY with Kathy Lee and Hoda on the TV. Both work real hard on putting together a kick-ass program line-up for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. And both actually have lots of fun doing it.