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27th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

Friday, March 13, 2009
8:20 p.m. Half-Life
Jennifer Phang (U.S., 2008)

Jennifer Phang in Person

Special admission prices apply: General admission, $10 until March 11, $11 on or after March 12; BAM/PFA and Center for Asian American Media members, $8; Students, seniors, and disabled persons, $9.

There’s little peace in a near-future Diablo Valley suburb where the news involves global flooding, solar flares, and grisly chainsaw murder-suicides, and where two splintered families turn to furtive sexuality, lyrical flights of fancy, and even stranger things to keep afloat. Such is the world of Half-Life, which earned rave reviews when it premiered at Sundance last year. Pam Wu and her brother Tim live in their own worlds, or try to, their thoughts more attuned to their disappeared father than their still-present mother or her much younger lover. Family dinners soon become family confrontations, but these are no ordinary times—not with Tim’s nascent telekinetic powers and the family’s (literal) flights of fancy. Jennifer Phang’s debut feature potently captures the teen angst, family yearning, and end-of-days foreboding of Rebel Without a Cause and Donnie Darko.

—Frako Loden

• Written by Phang. Photographed by Aasulv Wolf Austad. With Sanoe Lake, Julia Nickson, Leonardo Nam, Ben Redgrave. (106 mins, Color, 35mm)