ARThound

Geneva Anderson digs into art

CAAMFest 2013—Jin Dan’s masterpiece “When the Bough Breaks,” examines upward mobility’s downward emotional toll on a Chinese migrant family as days, months, years pass

Two young Chinese girls from a migrant family that has relocated to a big city struggle to earn money to pay for their brother’s schooling and are forced to abandon their own studies, putting their futures in jeopardy in “When the Bough Breaks,” directed by Ji Dan, one of China’s preeminent female documentary filmmakers.  Image: CAAMFest

Two young Chinese girls from a migrant family that has relocated to a big city struggle to earn money to pay for their brother’s schooling and are forced to abandon their own studies, putting their futures in jeopardy in “When the Bough Breaks,” directed by Ji Dan, one of China’s preeminent female documentary filmmakers. Image: CAAMFest

It’s hard to top recent Chinese documentary masterpieces like Ghost Town (Zhao Dayong, 2008, 169 min), Fortune Teller (Xu Tong, 2010, 129 min) or Last Train Home (Lixen Fan, 2009, 85 min).  And yet Ji Dan’s latest film, When the Bough Breaks (2011), maintains remarkable dedication to its difficult subject: a family of five Chinese migrants living on the outskirts of a city, their fragile state worsening with time.  It ebbs and flows with high drama as well, pulling us into a family tragedy involving innocent children that seems informed by the great master storytellers.   

In China today, over 120 million migrant workers have sacrificed everything for a country that barely acknowledges them, gambling all their resources on the dream of a better future. China’s dirty little secret: it’s turning its back on these workers and choosing instead to focus on rapid modernization—at their expense.  To tell this story, Ji Dan focuses on two girls and their brother, all of whom desperately need and want an education and their parents, two trapped and defeated individuals who are unable to provide it.  

Ji Dan is one of the most important filmmakers in China today.  Her past works include Spirit Home (2006), Dream of the Empty City (2007), and Spiral Staircase of Harbin (2008), which won prizes at both the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival and the China Documentary Film Festival.   To create such an intimate portrait of this fractured Chinese family living on the outskirts of Beijing, she spent three years following and getting to know them.  She even took up residence in the teacher’s dormitory of the school they attended.  The film screens today, Saturday, March 23, 2013, at the Oakland Museum of California at 2 p.m. (details here) as part of CAAMFest 2013’s final weekend.

Trash is an active metaphor. The family wades through trash heaps from dawn till dusk and the father collects and sells scrap metal, while family’s three vulnerable children fight against all odds – including their own parents – to continue their education and pursue a better future. But this is no ode to victory at the end of a long period of tribulations, it is instead a compelling examination of how life can leave one with a series of choices that all lead to undesirable outcomes. The parents, especially the disgruntled drunkard dad, do all they can to maintain some semblance of control, while the two pre-teen twin daughters struggle to hold the family’s long-term financial vision, though they too exhibit their father’s impatient proclivity for conflict. As the two headstrong girls try to negotiate a path to independence, security, and adulthood, the film reveals how some children are forced to make their own way in the world, assuming the responsibilities of adulthood long before they should have to.

Here’s what critic Brian Hu of PAC-ARTS (Pacific Arts Movement) said when the film screened at the San Francisco Asian Film Festival —Long, impeccably-shot verbal arguments that seem to into stretch into hours are riveting not so much for the yelling, but for the minutiae, in particular the silence of the son, whose fate motivates much of the conflict. Through it all is a sense of environmental doom: the weather, the military jets, the sounds of firecrackers in the distance. When the film comes to a close following a Lunar New Year unlike any other, a visceral transcendence is achieved that numbs the skin and pounds the heart.

Renowned Chinese artist Hung Liu, who currently has a retrospective at OMCA, “Summoning Ghosts, the Art of Hung Liu” canceled her appearance at today’s post-film conversation, but sent this statement about Ji Dan and her filmmaking—

As a filmmaker, Ji Dan spent a long time working with the family, not just on them. Her film is thought provoking and raises questions about family dynamics, personal and societal relationships, and class issues when people live physically and psychologically on the edge. The film shares a harsh reality and is truly moving. It shows us that there are many families living in isolation on the cusp of society, as if on an island. When the film was screened in Shanghai in 2011, several younger members of the audience asked why the film was long. In response, Ji Dan articulately and eloquently expressed her commitment to the need for longer documentary filmmaking in order to tell the full story. I was compelled to speak up and support Ji’s dedication in the face of Hollywood’s influence to train the viewer to absorb only shorter films. As I shared with Lori Fogarty, the Executive Director of the Oakland Museum of California, I am truly impressed with the dedication of women filmmakers from Beijing who challenge film industry standards with their engaging full—length documentaries. They are bold enough to tell dramatic stories about real life, about real people in the contemporary world. I think we must show that we care about humanity by watching and supporting these female filmmakers coming out of China. Ji Dan made an impression on me, and I hope to bring many female filmmakers and their documentaries to the attention of US audiences. With filmmakers like her, who follow a family for seven years to capture their story, we must respond with support. Hung Liu

Details: CAAMfest 2013 runs March 14-24, 2013 at 8 screening venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. Regular screenings are $12 and special screenings and programs are more. Click here to see full schedule and to purchase tickets online.

Advertisements

March 23, 2013 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CAAMFest 2013, expanding beyond film to music, food and a celebration of Asian and Asian American culture

CAAMFest continues it 11 day run through this Sunday, March 24, 2013.  This year, the fesitval has expanded its emphasis from mainly film to an 11 day celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists.  Accompanying Monday evening’s world premiere of “Memory of Forgotten War,” by award-winning Berkeley filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem and Boston College professor emeritus, Ramsay Liem, was a captivating vocal performance by Amie Kim and the Korean drumming group, Jamaesori (Pronunciation: “JAH-mae-soh-rlee”).  Jamaesori is a Bay Area collective of women of Korean descent who use traditional Korean drumming to support social justice movements.  Their Pilbong style of Pungmul drumming is a centuries old participatory folk art tradition and was a rare treat.

Details: CAAMfest 2013 runs March 14-24, 2013 at 8 screening venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. Regular screenings are $12 and special screenings and programs are more. Festival 6-pack passes are also available for $60. Click here to see full schedule and to purchase tickets online.

March 21, 2013 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAAMFest 2013 review: “Memory of Forgotten War,” which has its world premiere Monday, traces the enduring impact of the Korean War on Koreans and Korean-Americans

Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem’s “Memory of Forgotten War” (2013), which has its world premiere Monday at CAAMFest 2013, is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean civilians who survived the Korean War and later immigrated to the U.S. Photo: courtesy Mu Films

Deann Borshay Liem and Ramsay Liem’s “Memory of Forgotten War” (2013), which has its world premiere Monday at CAAMFest 2013, is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean civilians who survived the Korean War and later immigrated to the U.S. Photo: courtesy Mu Films

The Korean War (1950-1953) reeked devastation, pitting the United States, South Korea, and 16 other countries against North Korea and China. A mere three years of fighting left 3 million civilians dead, a decimated Korean peninsula, and over a half century of family separation for 10 million Koreans, including Korean Americans.  Unknown or now forgotten by most Americans, the impact of this war is far from forgotten for Koreans. A new documentary by award-winning Berkeley filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem and Boston College professor emeritus, Ramsay Liem, paints a meditative and highly personal portrait of the Korean War through the stories of four, now edlerly, Korean civilians who were there–Suntae Chun, Hee Bok Kim, Minyong Lee, and Kee Park.

 “Memory of Forgotten War” has its world premiere Monday evening, March 18, at 6:30 p.m., at San Francisco’s Kabuki Cinemas as part of CAAMFest 2013 and is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean survivors who later immigrated to the U.S.  Immediately following the film, the filmmakers will have a conversation with audience about issues stemming from the now 60 year-old Korean War, for which no formal peace accord was ever struck.   The Korean drumming group, Jamaesori (Pronunciation: “JAH-mae-soh-rlee”), will also perform after the screening. Jamaesori is a Bay Area collective of women of Korean descent who use traditional Korean drumming to support social justice movements.  Their Pilbong style of Pungmul drumming is a centuries old participatory folk art tradition and a rare treat.

Deann Borshay Liem, who directed the award-winning adoption documentaries “In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee” (2010), and First Person Plural (2000), both of which appeared on PBS’ acclaimed POV (Point of View) television program, has a remarkable gift for weaving together personal stories to create a living tapestry of collective history.  A CAAMFest favorite, all of her recent films have screened there and sold-out, and she often stays to chat with enthusiastic audience members long after the Q&A officially closes, connecting with them over shared issues.  Ten years ago, she served as CAAM’s Executive Director, where she supervised the development, distribution and broadcast of new films for public television and worked with Congress to support minority representation in public media.   Her collaboration with her brother-in-law, Ramsay Liem, who organized the 2005 traveling exhibition, “Still Present Pasts: Korean Americans and the Forgotten War,” builds on the oral histories of Korean American survivors he collected over a three-year period for that project which included oral history excerpts, original artwork, interactive installations, video art and historical photographs from the Korean War.  When Borshay Liem and Professor Liem decided to make a documentary to reach audiences that the exhibition could not, they selected Chun, Kim, Lee, and Park  out of the more than dozen Korean American voices from the exhibition.   Chun, Lee, and Park had initially participated in Still Present Pasts…, while Kim, 91, lovingly known as “Grandma Kim,” and a forceful community activist, who appeared on the April 2003 cover of KoreAm for her work with the Bus Riders Union in Los Angeles, attended Still Present Pasts…  in Los Angeles and was grandmothered into the project.

With the number of living eyewitnesses to the War dwindling, the value of personal testimony has been growing.  The experiences shared by the film participants, all of whom are quite elderly but still very articulate, embrace the full circle of the war and they speak of harrowing events, some for the first time publicly, as if they happened yesterday.  Their voices, sometimes broken by tears, laughter or ponderous silence, tell of decisions they made impulsively, instinctively which saved their own lives and each story is a study in courage, self-preservation, grace and incalculable loss. Most touching are the precious mementos they managed to keep with them, crinkled family photos, which document the days that time literally stopped for them.  Suntae Chun lived in Kaesong, right near the 38th parallel border, and tells how 27 members of his swimming team and the entire school went to the Ongmyon Reservoir for a picnic and to swim.   He holds up a now 60 year-old photo showing the team of teenagers in their swim trunks. “Next morning,” he calmly says, “big war broke out.”  

Kee Park, who came from a wealthy land-owning family, remembers the growing bitterness directed at her father and the land’s repatriation and later going with her mother to various prison camps and searching through corpses for her missing father.  She later shares how her mother essentially brokered their family’s freedom to the South by bribing border guards with silver spoons and chili powder.

Minyong Lee tells how his brother ideologically identified with the communism of the North and left Seoul, moving North, and never returned.  Later, his other siblings followed.  With the closure of the border, those siblings were lost to Lee who felt a part of him “was just gone.”  Lee then later recreated his life and lived a lie.  He became the only son, omitting that he had siblings on all official documents and never mentioning his lost family members in North Korea  to friends.  While his university exam scores were very high, he knew that he would never fulfill his dream of becoming a diplomat because he, like others who had family in the North, was a liability to his country.

Hee Bok Kim, born in  Pyongyang, recalls vividly the day they were told to evacuate.  She would not leave her basement because her children had the measles.  Later, her odyssey darkened as she and her family were forced to live out of a desk in an abandoned office building.     

“Memory of Forgotten War” (2013), which has its world premiere Monday at CAAMFest 2013, is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean civilians who survived the Korean War and later immigrated to the U.S. Photo: courtesy Mu Films

“Memory of Forgotten War” (2013), which has its world premiere Monday at CAAMFest 2013, is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean civilians who survived the Korean War and later immigrated to the U.S. Here, Minyong Lee points to photo of his brother who moved to North Korea and never came back. Photo: courtesy Mu Films

Just 37 minutes in length, “Memory of Forgotten War,” astutely takes these emotional eyewitness accounts and blends them with thoughtful analysis and interpretation of events by Korean War historians Bruce Cumings and Ji-Yeon Yuh that situate these stories in a broader historical context.  The Liems use riveting black and white newsreels, U.S. military footage, archival photographs, propaganda posters, and newspaper articles, to frame the complex political, social and historical forces that set this war in motion and its messy, devastating aftermath.   Most aspects of the war are covered—its outbreak and the day-to-day struggle for survival through relentless U.S. bombing campaigns; the loss of family members at the hands of combatants on both sides; finding shelter in cardboard hovels; the arbitrary separation of families across the 38th parallel; the aftermath of a devastated and ideology-driven Korean peninsula with Kim Il Sung a puppet of Stalin in the North and the American-supported and educated Syngman Rhee as South Korea’s first President; immigration to the U.S. and life as war survivors in the U.S.  

The film culminates as each survivor reunites with relatives in North Korea, conveying beyond words the meaning of four decades of family loss.  With so much time, many relatives who lived in bleak and deprived circumstances in the North, have died and it is the next generation that these survivors meet.  As Ms. Liem knows well from her own adoption journey, which took her to Korea in search of her birthmother, there is no substitute for the passage of lost time.  The gift of a film like this is that serves as a powerful reminder that this war did happen and its tangled mess can be measured in very palpable terms and there are precious stories waiting to be shared among various generations of Korean and Korean-Americans.   Stay-tuned to ARThound for an interview with the Liems about what into making this exceptional documentary.

Details: CAAMfest 2013 runs March 14-24, 2013 at 8 screening venues in San Francisco and Berkeley.  Regular screenings are $12 and special screenings and programs are more.  Festival 6-pack passes are also available for $60.   Click here to see full schedule and to purchase tickets online.  Advance ticket purchase is recommended as films frequently sell out.

CAAMFest 2013’s Focus on Korea:

Utilizing Memory of Forgotten War as a launching point, “Beyond Boundaries” is a special festival program exploring the societal repercussions and cinematic incarnations of the Korean War.  In addition to  Memory of Forgotten War, CAAMFest 2013 presents 3 films:

Muel O's "Jiseul" (2013) tells the story of 120 Korean villagers who hid in a cave for 60 days from soldiers with shoot-to-kill orders.  Photo: courtesy CAAMFest

Muel O’s “Jiseul” (2013) tells the story of 120 Korean villagers who hid in a cave for 60 days from soldiers with shoot-to-kill orders. Photo: courtesy CAAMFest

Jiseul: Set during the 1948 Jeju Massacre, Jiseul tells the fictional story of some 120 villagers who hid in a cave for sixty days from soldiers who were under shoot-to-kill orders. They suffer from severe cold and hunger but retain their sanity by making jokes and holding on to the hope that their wait is almost over. Eventually their endurance wanes, and fear begins to test the group’s mettle.

The absurdity-of-war theme has been explored in many films, but rarely in such exquisite detail as in this offering from writer/director Muel O.  Striking black-and-white cinematography captures the texture of the region as well as the humanity of its inhabitants. The film doesn’t condemn anyone but rather focuses on the heart of the story—real people living in fear. Powerful and tender, Jiseul is at certain times hard to watch because of the content and at others extremely engaging because of the authentic human emotion. O has crafted a potent and poetic requiem for a people and a place close to his heart. (capsule review—Sundance Film Festival) (Screens March, 19, 2013, 8:30 p.m. at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.)

Having escaped North Korea, after five years of living incognito, Kim Young-soon attempts to smuggle her dying sister of out North Korea in the documentary “Seeking Haven.”   Photo: courtesy CAAMFest

Having escaped North Korea, after five years of living incognito, Kim Young-soon attempts to smuggle her dying sister of out North Korea in the documentary “Seeking Haven.” Photo: courtesy CAAMFest

Seeking Haven:  “If I hadn’t left home, I might’ve been hungry, but at least I could’ve been with my family.” -Young-soon Kim

Over 20,000 North Koreans have crossed the border to China in search of freedom. Most of them live in hiding, in fear of being deported back to North Korea and politically persecuted. Director Hein S. Seok, a recipient of one of only five film-production grants given by CAAM’s 2010 Media Fund Program, reveals their often overlooked stories in this intimate, daring tale of struggle, heartbreak and survival.

 In 2002, Kim Young-soon, desperate for food, escaped North Korea to China. After five years of living in an underground haven, Young-soon embarked on a dangerous eight-day trek across three borders in an effort to reach South Korea. Seeking Haven documents her journey years later, in the present day, when she returns to China in an attempt to smuggle her sister out of the country she once called home. (capsule review—Lin Kung, CAAMFest) (Screens March, 18, 2013, 8:50 p.m. at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.)

Over 20,000 North Koreans have crossed the border to China in search of freedom. Most of them live in hiding, in fear of being deported back to North Korea and politically persecuted. Director Hein S. Seok, a recipient of one of only five film-production grants given by CAAM’s 2010 Media Fund Program, reveals their often overlooked stories in this intimate, daring tale of struggle, heartbreak and survival.

In 2002, Kim Young-soon, desperate for food, escaped North Korea to China. After five years of living in an underground haven, Young-soon embarked on a dangerous eight-day trek across three borders in an effort to reach South Korea. Seeking Haven documents her journey years later, in the present day, when she returns to China in an attempt to smuggle her sister out of the country she once called home. (capsule review—Lin Kung, CAAMFest) (Screens March, 18, 2013, 8:50 p.m. at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.)

Six years in the making, “ComradeKim Goes Flying” is the first fiction feature in over 30 years to be filmed inside North Korea and co-produced by Western Filmmakers. Photo: courtesy CAAMFest

Six years in the making, “ComradeKim Goes Flying” is the first fiction feature in over 30 years to be filmed inside North Korea and co-produced by Western Filmmakers. Photo: courtesy CAAMFest

Comrade Kim Goes Flying:  As a young girl growing up in the North Korean countryside, Kim Yong Mi dreamt of sprouting wings and soaring through the skies like the doves that flew above. Years later, the now-adult Comrade Kim spends her days cheerfully laboring as a coal miner and living with her father and grandmother in their idyllic industrial village. But when an opportunity arises to go to Pyongyang, Comrade Kim eagerly sets off for the capital city. There, a chance meeting with members of the Pyongyang Circus—including the cavalier and handsome Pak Jang Phil (Pak Chung Guk)—ignites Kim’s desire to pursue her childhood love of acrobatics. Armed with plenty of pluck, charm, and working-class resilience, Comrade Kim launches a surprising journey toward making her childhood dream come true.

An international collaboration six years in the making, Comrade Kim Goes Flying is the first fiction feature in over thirty years to be filmed inside North Korea and co-produced by Western filmmakers.  Its cast brings together non-actors (the leads are real-life professional circus acrobats) with several of the most prominent names in North Korean cinema. Shot in lush, vibrant colors, and with an emphasis on self-destiny that departs from the usual communal themes of North Korean film, this romantic comedy proves as intriguing as it is memorable. (capsule review—CAAMFest) (Screens March, 23, 2013, 8:45 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley and March 24, 2013, at 4 p.m. at Great Star Theatre.)

March 17, 2013 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CAAMFest 2013, an 11 day celebration of film, music, food and digital media from Asian and Asian American artists

Two young Chinese girls from a migrant family that has relocated to a big city struggle to earn money to pay for their brother’s schooling and are forced to abandon their own studies, putting their futures in jeopardy in “When the Bough Breaks,” directed by Ji Dan, one of China’s preeminent female documentary filmmakers.   Celebrated Chinese artist, Hung Liu, will lead a conversation following the film’s March 21, 2013 screening at the New People Cinema at CAAMFest 2013.  Image: CAAMFest

Two young Chinese girls from a migrant family that has relocated to a big city struggle to earn money to pay for their brother’s schooling and are forced to abandon their own studies, putting their futures in jeopardy in “When the Bough Breaks,” directed by Ji Dan, one of China’s preeminent female documentary filmmakers. Celebrated Chinese artist, Hung Liu, will lead a conversation following the film’s March 21, 2013 screening at the New People Cinema at CAAMFest 2013. Image: CAAMFest

CAAMFest, formerly known as the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, kicked off Thursday evening, March 14, 2013, at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theatre 2013, with “Linsanity,” Bay Area native Evan Jackson Leong’s new documentary about the meteoric rise of Chinese American NBA basketball phenomena, Jeremy Lin, one of the few Asian Americans players in NBA history and the only one in the global spotlight.

Along with its name change, CAAMFest, now in its 31st year, has expanded its emphasis from mainly film to an 11 day celebration of film, music, food and digital media from the world’s most innovative Asian and Asian American artists. Over the years, the highly-respected festival, organized by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM), has showcased hundreds of films and has become a highly-respected launch pad for promising Asian and Asian-American filmmakers as well as a venue where influential Asian filmmakers are honored.

This year, the festival is offering many forms of entertainment, and the name CAAMFest reflects that change, said Masashi Niwano, the festival director, at CAAMFest 2013’s press conference. In addition to its offering of 90 exceptional films—documentaries, shorts and narratives—there will be 55 programs and live events, ranging from salons featuring musicians and chefs in symposium style panels, to music performances that follow special screenings. Here are some that caught ARThound’s eye:

DOSA HUNT/New Directions Launch: In collaboration with the Asian Art Museum (AAM), on Thursday, March 21, CAAMFest presents “Dosa Hunt,” a special evening at the museum that celebrates the “new directions” the festival is taking. The Indian-themed evening is built around film, food and music, and includes the West Coast premiere of music critic Amrit Singh’s short musical film “Dosa Hunt” — which follow the hunger pangs of a 7 Indian indie musicians— pianist Vijay Iyer, critic Amrit Singh, members of groups like Das Racist, Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend, and Neon Indian—who pack into a disco van and set out to find New York’s best dosa. Dosa are those fabulous crispy and savory South Indian crepes filled with potatoes, chickpeas and various spices. And, through the film, we learn that dosas are a metaphor for the American dream. The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with Happy Hour featuring DJ KingMost; “Dosa Hunt” screens at 7 p.m. and the Indian group, Bastards from Hell, perform from 8 to 9 p.m. Entrance to the China’s Terracotta Warriors exhibition is included in the price. (Click here for more information.)

THIS WEEKEND: Up Sunday, March17, CAAMFest offers two special screenings at the Castro Theatre— At noon, Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” based on the 2007 novel by Mohsin Hamida taps into one of the central issues of our time—how does our society inadvertently nurture the very prejudices that drive people to radicalism?   With an amazing cast—Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Live Schreiber, Martin Donovan—Nair takes us from pre-9/11 Wall Street with its ideology of greed to post-9/11 xenophobic Manhattan, to the coffeehouses and classrooms of Lahore Pakistan as it declares its desire to be independent from America’s political stronghold.  All reflected in one young man’s journey. 

At 5 p.m., a centerpiece reception with hors d’oeuvres and drinks and 6 p.m. screening of Deepa Mehta’s “Midnight’s Children,” based on Salman Rushdie’s 1981 best-selling Booker Prize-winning novel of the same name.   Rushdie also narrates the film.  While both of these films will open later this year in Bay Area theatres, there is nothing like seeing them early and at the Castro.

On the eve of India’s independence, two male babies, switched at birth, live the life intended for the other, both handcuffed to history in Deepa Mehta’s “Midnight’s Children”

Beyond Boundaries: On the Anniversary of the Armistice—CAAMFest explores the ramifications of the Korean War through 4 films: Beyond Boundaries is a special festival program exploring the societal repercussions and cinematic incarnations of the Korean War on the 60th anniversary year of the Armistice. Four films highlight aspects of the Korean experience—

Memory of Forgotten War” which has its world premiere at CAAMFest is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean survivors of the Korean War who later immigrated to the U.S.   After the screening, the Korean drumming group, Jamaesori will also perform. Jamaesori is a collective of women of Korean descent who use traditional Korean drumming to support social justice movements. and includes as s part of CAAMFest 2013 and is the first documentary to tell of the experiences of Korean survivors who later immigrated to the U.S.(Screens: Monday evening, March 18, at 6:30 p.m., at San Francisco’s Kabuki Cinemas.)

Jiseul: Set during the 1948 Jeju Massacre, Jiseul tells the fictional story of some 120 villagers who hid in a cave for sixty days from soldiers who were under shoot-to-kill orders. They suffer from severe cold and hunger but retain their sanity by making jokes and holding on to the hope that their wait is almost over. Eventually their endurance wanes, and fear begins to test the group’s mettle. (Screens March, 19, 2013, 8:30 p.m. at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.)

Seeking Haven: Over 20,000 North Koreans have crossed the border to China in search of freedom. Most of them live in hiding, in fear of being deported back to North Korea and politically persecuted. Director Hein S. Seok, a recipient of one of only five film-production grants given by CAAM’s 2010 Media Fund Program, reveals their often overlooked stories in this intimate, daring tale of struggle, heartbreak and survival. (Screens March, 18, 2013, 8:50 p.m. at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.)

Comrade Kim Goes Flying: An international collaboration six years in the making, Comrade Kim Goes Flying is the first fiction feature in over thirty years to be filmed inside North Korea and co-produced by Western filmmakers. (Screens March, 23, 2013, 8:45 p.m. at Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley and March 24, 2013, at 4 p.m. at Great Star Theatre.)

Stay-tuned to ARThound for festival coverage.

Details: CAAMfest 2013 runs March 14-24, 2013 at 8 screening venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. Regular screenings are $12 and special screenings and programs are more. Festival 6-pack passes are also available for $60. Click here to see full schedule and to purchase tickets online.

March 16, 2013 Posted by | Film | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment