Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ang Lee to speak at Asian film festival

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Korean-language films might take center stage at the 27th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, making up both the opening and closing nights, but there's also the world premiere of a local filmmaker's latest musical, an Oscar-winning director discussing his technique and a career retrospective of an internationally recognized master of horror and suspense.

The festival, the signature event of the Center for Asian American Media, opens March 12 at the Castro with Lee Yoon-ki's "My Dear Enemy," about old lovers sharing a wild night in Seoul and starring Cannes best actress award winner (for 2007's "Secret Sunshine") Jeon Do-yeon. The closing-night film, March 19 at the Sundance Kabuki, is the second film from rising indie Korean Canadian director So Yong Kim, "Treeless Mountain," about two sisters abandoned by their mother.

"Closing night" isn't exactly as advertised; the festival continues through March 22 in Berkeley and San Jose.

The centerpiece presentation March 15 at the Castro is the world premiere of H.P. Mendoza's "Fruit Fly," a musical filmed in San Francisco from the composer and co-star of "Colma: The Musical."

Three world-class directors will appear in person, including Academy Award winner Ang Lee, who will discuss his 2007 movie "Lust, Caution" on March 17 at the Wheeler Auditorium in Berkeley.

Also presenting their latest works are Deepa Mehta ("Heaven on Earth") and Kiyoshi Kurosawa (no relation to Akira), whose current "Tokyo Sonata" is just one of seven of his generally creepy movies that will show as part of a retrospective of his work.

Looking for something out of left field? That would be "Diamond Head" (March 15, Castro), a 1962 Charlton Heston epic about Hawaiian statehood and the racial tensions that went with it.

In all, the festival will screen 108 films, including seven programs of shorts.

27th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival: March 12-22, Sundance Kabuki, Castro and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; Pacific Film Archive and Wheeler Auditorium in Berkeley; Camera 12 Cinemas, San Jose. (415) 865-1588. www.asianamericanmedia.org.

Asian American Film festival

E-mail G. Allen Johnson at ajohnson@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page E - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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