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CAAMFest 2013

March 15, 2013 - March 23, 2013


Each year, the Center for Asian American Media brings us the best in contemporary cinema from Asia and the Asian diaspora. The thirty-first installment of this adventurous festival at the PFA Theater features films and documentaries from China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and a real rarity, a feature film from North Korea.

In conjunction with the festival’s special highlight on filmmakers from Singapore, we devote an Afterimage series to the sometimes controversial director Royston Tan. Tan introduces three films and joins artist and critic Valerie Soe in conversation following the screening of the provocative 15, a film heavily censored upon its first release. We also present two films by the great Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul in recognition of his video installation Morakot (Emerald), now on view in the galleries as part of our MATRIX Program: his newest, Mekong Hotel, and the 2010 Cannes Grand Prize–winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

And each year, this bold film festival, previously known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, brings us unexpected surprises. This year, it’s a name change–welcome to the new CAAMFest!

Steve Seid, Video Curator

Friday, March 15, 2013
7:00 p.m. Seeking Asian Female
Debbie Lum (U.S., 2012). Debbie Lum in person. An aging white man with “yellow fever,” finds a young Chinese bride named Sandy through the Internet, but they soon discover that their dreams of perfect love do not match bitter reality. An honest, intimate documentary about culture, love, and the immigrant experience. (84 mins)

Friday, March 15, 2013
9:10 p.m. Sunset Stories
Ernesto Foronda/Silas Howard (U.S., 2012). Ernesto Foronda in person. Two ex-lovers reluctantly reunite to retrieve a lost cooler in this electric ramble across nocturnal Los Angeles, starring Monique Gabriela Curnen (Finishing the Game; The Dark Knight) and Sung Kang (Fast and Furious; The Motel). (87 mins)

Saturday, March 16, 2013
4:00 p.m. Mekong Hotel
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand, 2012). Jennifer Phang in person. The Cannes-winning director of Tropical Malady returns with another mystical, magical blend of documentary, narrative and fable, set in the crumbling Mekong Hotel near the Thai/Laos border. With Jennifer Phang’s new short, Advantageous. (84 mins)

Saturday, March 16, 2013
4:00 p.m. Mekong Hotel

Saturday, March 16, 2013
5:50 p.m. Harana
Benito Bautista (U.S., 2012). Benito Bautista, Florante Aguilar, Emma Francisco in person. In this award-winning feature documentary, director Benito Bautista and guitarist Florante Aguilar bring to light the long-abandoned Philippine art of harana (serenade). Three of the tradition’s last surviving practitioners perform songs never before captured on film. (103 mins)

Saturday, March 16, 2013
8:20 p.m. Beijing Flickers
Zhang Yuan (China, 2012). In the latest film from controversial filmmaker Zhang Yuan (Beijing Bastards), the displaced youth of Beijing may be down and out, but they find solace in a makeshift family—one another. With short Shanghai Strangers, directed by Joan Chen. (120 mins)

Saturday, March 16, 2013
8:20 p.m. Beijing Flickers

Sunday, March 17, 2013
4:00 p.m. Beautiful 2012
Kim Tae-yong, Tsai Ming-Liang, Gu Changwei, Ann Hui (China, 2012). Beauty comes to the forefront in this omnibus collection of shorts from four of Asia's greatest filmmakers. Includes Tsai Ming-Liang’s Walker. (90 mins)

Sunday, March 17, 2013
6:00 p.m. Old Romances
Royston Tan (Singapore, 2012). Royston Tan in person. “Old places are like old lovers to me, you never forget them,” says director Royston Tan. In this sequel to the documentary Old Places, Tan takes us on a fond outing to experience Singapore through the recollections of everyday citizens. Screening in our series Afterimage: The Films of Singapore's Royston Tan. (77 mins)

Sunday, March 17, 2013
7:45 p.m. 881
Royston Tan (Singapore, 2007). Royston Tan in person. Singapore’s resident bad-boy Royston Tan pays tribute to his country’s kitschiest love—getai, stage musicals that are part small-time Vegas revues and full-time campy fun—in this delirious comedy involving the Papaya Sisters, who dream of winning a national contest. Screening in our series Afterimage: The Films of Singapore's Royston Tan. (105 mins)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013
7:00 p.m. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand, 2010). This Palme d'Or-winner melds the last dying encounters of a farmer, Boonmee, with a gorgeously rendered landscape enlivened by the presence of ghostly apparitions. This is not magical realism, but realistic magic. (113 mins)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
7:00 p.m. 15
Royston Tan (Singapore, 2003). Royston Tan and Valerie Soe in conversation. High-velocity angst in an artificial Eden, Royston Tan’s irreverent first feature dredges up an underworld of teen dropouts, druggies, and dead-enders. Screening in our series Afterimage: The Films of Singapore's Royston Tan. (93 mins)

Thursday, March 21, 2013
7:00 p.m. The Land of Hope
Sion Sono (Japan, 2012). An earthquake and nuclear crisis forces two Japanese families to decide what is worth sacrificing in the name of safety in this alternately naturalistic and surreal work, the first feature inspired by the 2011 Tohoku-Fukushima disaster. From the director of Suicide Club and Love Exposure. (133 mins)

Friday, March 22, 2013
7:00 p.m. Invoking Justice
Deepa Dhanraj (India, 2012). Defiantly eschewing Western portraits of Muslim women, Deepa Dhanraj (Something Like a War) explores the first women’s jamaat—traditionally a male institution—in South India, where women are raising their voices and enacting new interpretations of Sharia law to demand gender equality. (85 mins)

Friday, March 22, 2013
8:45 p.m. Postcards from the Zoo
Edwin (Indonesia, 2012). Raised in Jakarta’s zoo, the orphan Lana knows only the world of animals, until she meets a handsome magician who leads her to the outside world, where far stranger beings await. A captivating, poetic portrait of Indonesia’s capital city, from the director of The Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly. (96 mins)

Saturday, March 23, 2013
6:30 p.m. Touch of the Light
Chang Jung-Chi (Taiwan, 2012). Taiwan’s official entry to this year’s Academy Awards and a production of Wong Kar-wai’s trend-setting Jet Tone company, Touch of the Light presents the true story of a blind musician who leaves his small village to become the first visually impaired music student at his university. (110 mins)

Saturday, March 23, 2013
8:45 p.m. Comrade Kim Goes Flying
Kim Gwang Hun, Nicholas Bonner, Anja Daelemans (Belgium/North Korea/U.K., 2012). Plucky coal-miner Comrade Kim abandons her life in a suspiciously cheerful industrial village to head to Pyongyang and become . . . a circus trapeze artist. This sprightly, fairytale-like romantic comedy shows off a side of North Korea you’ve probably never imagined. (83 mins)

Special admission prices apply:
General admission: $12; CAAM and BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students: $10 (limit 2 tickets per person per program); Non-UC Berkeley students, seniors, and disabled persons: $11 (limit 1 ticket per person per program). Please note that our second-feature discount does not apply to these programs. Tickets are nonrefundable, and may not be exchanged.

A presentation of the Center for Asian American Media. Program notes are adapted from the festival catalog.