1997 Asian American Film Festival #2

"Movie Magazine International" Special Report

(Air Date: Week Of 2/26/97)

By Andrea Chase

Short takes for this week's report on the Asian American Film Festival.

First, the documentary,"Our Burmese Days", offers us filmmaker Linsday Merrison, who spends the entire film berating her Mum for not having 'fessed up to being half-Burmese earlier on. This sentimental journey to childhood haunts in and around Rangoon is puncuated by Lindsay asking Mumsy about her Asian heritage and Mumsy saying she doesn't want to talk about it. More scenic than family therapy, sure, but did we need to go along for the ride? I think not.

A further exercise in self-indugence is Michael Idemoto's "Sunsets" wherein a trio of adolescent, accurately self-styled losers, wander around what passes for a downtown in Watsonville, California. They suffer from too little to do, too much time to not do it in and an excess of testosterone which fuels antics of which not a one needed recounting of any kind, much less the involvement of innocent filmgoers. The best thing about this film was that twenty minutes into its screening, the celluloid, in what can only be characterized as a thoughtful and selfless act, melted. The worst thing about this film was that they managed to fix it and continue with the screening.

For a refreshing change, there's two terrific flicks from Korean director Jang Sun Woo, who's quickly becoming one of my favorites. "A Petal" tells a searing story about the human cost of politics. "The Lovers of Woomuk-Baemi" is a first-rate, never quite sure where it's going next tale of illicit romance in the workplace. This one's worth it for many reasons, not the least of which is the extended sequence showing the mad as hell wife dragging her wayward husband through the streets by his, ahem, pride and joy. If you catch my drift.

Next week, the Festival turns silent as films made before sound invaded the proceedings are showcased. Cecil B. Demille and Sessue Hayakawa collabarating circa 1915, 'nuff said.

Copyright 1997 Andrea Chase

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