Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Jason goes to Asianfest--Day 5

It started on a Thursday, right? Anyway, I missed the whole first weekend because I was still rocking Cinequest as hard as possible. But the day after it was over, I was up at the Kabuki for a couple of films and an Arrogant Bastard Ale in the Kabuki bar between films (keeping alive my streak of giving up sobriety for Lent.) Let's jump right in.

I started with the short WHAT'S UP IN THE FUTURE? a short doc about two old friends looking through a health and wellness catalog and deciding what products might be nice and what ones they'd rather die than use. My favorite line was something along the lines of 'only if I get Alzheimers, so I forget how embarrassing this is.'

And that was the lead in to THE SPACE IN BACK OF YOU, a documentary about dancer/choreographer Suzushi Hanayagi. She was classically trained in Japanese dance, then took up modern dance in New York, and ultimately fused the two. The film is heavy on archival footage (which is not always of great quality, but very interesting to see.) It also uses her own quotes and interviews with contemporaries and collaborators. These include dancers who I had never heard of, but are apparently quite avant garde. The one guy I recognized was David Byrne. And the most important interviewee is her long-time collaborator (they joke that it was as if they were married) Robert Wilson. Of course, all the interviewees had nothing but praise for her. I couldn't help but think that if I were versed in the world of modern dance, I would have gotten a lot more out of this. As it was, it was pretty nice to get a little introduction to her life and her work.

And then the late show of the night was NIGHT MARKET HERO. It's described in the guide as a "paean to the kinetic insanity of the mid-90s Hong Kong comedy films" but to me it also had a bit of a mid-80s American 'ragtag group of misfits save their special place (camp, rec center, home, etc.) from an evil developer' comedy feel to it. In fact, it has quite a lot of this, as that's ultimately the plot of the movie. But before that, we meet the colorful gang of characters who work at 888 Night Market in Taiwan. Au Hua is most accurately the hero of the title, the union leader who looks after everyone, keeps the gangs out, and officiates disputes between Happy Chicken Fillet Lady and Mrs. Steak. But the corrupt developers come in. And they have at their disposal a corrupt city councilman (who had past ties to Au Hua) and a violent street gang. Lots of fun, and damn I could go for either a Happy Chicken Fillet or a Steak. They both looked so delicious.

And that was my first night at Asianfest 2012. Sorry I'm behind, I'm trying to catch up before the big San Jose weekend.

Total Running Time: 194 minutes
My Total Minutes: 273,542

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