Thursday, March 15, 2012

Jason goes to Asianfest--Day 7

Wednesday night was shorts night for me, starting with the documentary program Roots and Reality:

TWO SECONDS AFTER LAUGHTER: And experimental piece about dance, Indonesia, America, and--of course--laughter.
MAKING NOISE IN SILENCE: Okay, this is the third documentary I've seen about deaf people in 3 different festivals all withing one month. It's like the universe is telling me to puncture my eardrums...or at least learn sign language. The cool thing with this one is it takes place at the California School for the Deaf in Fremont, which is literally right across the street from me.
TREASURE OF THE LISU: Specifically, the treasure of the indigenous stringed instrument--the Chiben--they play, as told by master and grandfather Ah-Cheng. There aren't a lot of Lisu left, much less Chiben players/crafters. So if his grandchildren don't pick it up, he might be the last Chiben player in his village.
ROOTS OF LOVE: Stories of Sikhs, the tradition of uncut hair and turbans, and the societal pressures from the larger outside society for them to cut their hair.
WINDOW CLEANING SHANGHAI: Exactly what it sounds like, very short, and some amazing images that really trigger my acrophobia.

And then the program XXX Shorts, which wasn't hard core porn, it was a program of more confrontational shorts to celebrate SFIAFF's 3oth (i.e., XXX) year.
LOOKING FOR JIRO: A campy music video about the one documented gay man in the Japanese-American internment camps during WWII. Not much is known about him other than he worked in the mess hall and liked muscular men. I was a little puzzled when he started braiding challah, and even more confused when he put them on his arms to simulate muscles.
FORTUNE COOKIE MAGIC TRICKS: A funny mash up of styles and genres. It's a musical...and a romance...and a coming-out family drama...and a zombie flick? Wow!
GREEN PLASTIC SANDALS: The ghost of her dad haunts a woman who is about to enter into a mixed marriage.
38-39 (DEGREES CELSIUS): A cool animated story/dream of a man in a public bathhouse.
DOWN UNDER: A really, really terrifying portrayal of torture (I'm a guy who watches a lot of horror, and I had to cover my eyes at times) with an amazing twist at the end. It's from Australia, and about the racism against Indians there (that I had never heard of.)
BLEACHED: A Filipino-American high school girl and her overbearing beauty queen mother who wants her to bleach her skin. Of course, it turns out to be a very, very bad idea.
THE ARRIVAL: A satirical take on a local Asian-American church that opens its doors to the LGBT community.
NISA: The great escape of a Thai sex worker. Lovely ending.
MODERN FAMILY: Nobody brings the creepy murderous weirdness like the Koreans. Nobody.
WHY I WRITE: Kosal Khiev delivers a powerful take on his life as an Khmer-American who got mixed up in gang violence and was deported to Cambodia, a country he had never seen. Excellent use of black and white and spot colors.

Total Running Time: 191 minutes
My Total Minutes: 273,910
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