Movie Magazine International

San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival - 1998 (I)

Special Report By Andrea Chase

San Francisco's International Asian-American Film Festival returns for its self-styled sweet sixteen party. This year, one of the things the directors of the festival wanted to show was that, in their words, Asians do have a sense of humor.

The humor thing is abundant in the often hilarious and always thoughtful "Fakin' Da Funk." Tim Chey's screenplay shows what happens when an asian baby is accidentally adopted by a black family. It's a painless delivery system demonstrating that personal identity is a personal decision, genetics do not a family make, and that Nell Carter is the worthy successor to Eve Arden.

Korea's "Push, Push" written by JI Sang Hak is set in an overworked, understaffed ob-gyn unit of a metropolitan hospital. It's a screwball comedy approach to women on the fertility roller-coaster. No warm and fuzzy moments here where wombs are not for sissies and giving birth to a girl isn't just unfortunate, it's a stigma. Plus, if you need the complexity of the abortion issue concisely set out for you, this is the flick to see.

The culture gap between first generation Americans is explored in two equally moving but very different films. In "Dis-oriented," a gentle comedy by Francisco Aliwalas, a reluctant pre-med student tries to cope with his Phillipino mother's plans for his future while juggling his own plans and the return of his prodigal, cross-dressing brother.

The second film shows that there's more than comedy in this festival. The grim cinema-verite documentary "Kelly loves Tony," shows a Laotian-born teenager as she tries to accommodate her family and her boyfriend's traditional expectations of her while she tries to pursue her own version of the American Dream.

The Sixteenth annual San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival runs from March fifth through the twelfth. For more information call 415 255-4300 or visit their website at

© 1998 - Andrea Chase - Air Date: 2/25/98

"Movie Magazine International" Movie Review Index

"Movie Magazine International" Home Page