Thursday, March 21, 2013

Jason goes to AsianFest--Day 7

Another night, another two movie programs. First up was THE MONKEY KING: UPROAR IN HEAVEN in 3-D. This is actually a restoration and 3-D-ification of a 1961 Chinese animation classic (released just before the Cultural Revolution shut down the film industry.) More on the 3-D in a moment. First, the story, which is based on part of the classic epic Chinese novel Journey to the West. The Monkey King is a mischievous immortal trickster, who plays with his children (all the monkeys of Fruit Flower Mountain) and teaches them martial arts. When he breaks his sword, he goes in search of a new weapon and ends up taking a mighty cudgel from the Dragon King of the East Sea. Among his powers, he has the ability to change the size of things (including himself), so when the cudgel is a giant tower on the bottom of the sea, he simply shrinks it down to hand-held size...and then so tiny he can hide it in his ear. Anyway, the Dragon King appeals to the Jade Emperor of Heaven, who invites the Monkey King up to Heaven in an attempt to control him by giving him a minor appointment there. But the Monkey King kowtows to no one, and his antics upturn all the courtly order of Heaven. Needless to say, wacky hijinx ensue. And no matter how mighty the gods are, the Monkey King always has a new trick up his sleeve. Lots of fun.

Now for the 3-D. It was well done, but totally unnecessary. And when so much of the beauty is in the hand-drawn, 2-D frames, the 3-D effects make just make 2-D surface appear at different depths. Less like a full 3-D world and more like watching an animated pop-up book. Which has its own charms, but I'd be just as happy to watch it in 2-D.

And then, after a beer and a realization that I had actually gone two straight days without drinking, I caugh the Shorts program Queer Convergence--yay Gaysians!
THE HEART'S MOUTH: A very short scene, connecting two young Asian men. The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
LOVE BANG!: A "sexperimental" music video from Cambodia. A mix of Cambodian lyrics and American pop and hip-hop. Sci-fi trannies. Yak-horn hair. Fun and weird. See it for yourself.
TOM/TRANS/THAI: A quiet, contemplative view into the spirit of a Thai FTM transgender. Uses crossroads and language to explore masculinity and Thai identity in a very fluid way.
IF I FOUND THE PLACE: A music video homage/memoir of Seo Taiji and Boys. Not that I knew anything about them before. To me it was just lo-def Youtube clips that were from sometime in the late 80's/early 90's (turns out 1992).
LAST TEA PARTY: A big party, drugs and alcohol. Two best friends who are about to go into the Singaporean Army kind of hook up. It's even a surprise to them.
PRETTY PICTURES: Laney draws very nice, very detailed, very sexy sketches of her girlfriend Marcy (whether she's a real girlfriend or imaginary isn't revealed...and isn't really important.) Her cousin finds out and wants to "borrow" the pictures. Luckily her aunt is understanding.
BORN TO DANCE THIS WAY:  Joo Si!!!!! He's just like J-Lo, just don't be fooled by the rocks he's got. This is the third time I've seen it now, and it's great each time. By now, the fun is in listening to the rest of the audience and how they react (spoiler: they laughed in all the right places.)

Total Running Time: 160 minutes
My Total Minutes: 322,674

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