8.March.2012: The 2012 San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival opens tonight at the Castro Theatre with the world premiere of Quentin Lee’s White Frog. The San Francisco Bay Guardian’s Kimberly Chun writes that SFIAFF “seems to be in the throes of a youth movement” with three films in particular: “Christopher Woon’s Hmong hip-hopper doc Among B-Boys, Akira Boch’s girl-band indie The Crumbles, and Takashi Miike’s tot action farce Ninja Kids.” Appended to the same piece, Cheryl Eddy recommends several docs playing in the festival as well Frisco local H.P. Mendoza’s latest, I Am a Ghost. Kelly Vance focuses on several Filipino films playing SFIAFF for The East Bay Express, though he thinks that “one of the best bets in the fest” is Cambodian director Rithy Panh’s adaptation of Kenzaburo Oe’s short story The Catch (previously adapted by Nagisa Oshima): “Panh and his largely non-pro cast revisit the Pol Pot years in the story of a black American jet pilot, shot down and captured by a cadre of juvenile Khmer Rouge fighters, who put him in a cage in their remote village.”
Also in San Francisco tonight, the SF Art Institute opens a unique gallery tribute to legendary independent filmmaker and longtime teacher George Kuchar, who died last September. Living in Studio Kuchar will, according to the SFAI notes, “transform the [Walter and Mcbean] galleries into an active experience for audiences: Installations will reproduce Kuchar’s home studio, and there will be a self-serve VHS tape viewing area, a listening station of soundtrack records from Kuchar’s collection, and an interactive filmmaking space where visitors are invited to use costumes and props to make their own Kuchar-esque films.” The opening coincides with a marathon celebration of Kuchar’s work featuring film screenings and talks former students, colleagues, scholars, fellow filmmakers, and George’s brother Mike. George Kuchar’s work is also featured in the current Whitney Biennial.
Annabelle Winograd files a report for Artforum on the third annual Epos, an international Tel Aviv festival focused on films about art and artists. She singles out Polish auteur Lech Majewski’s unique interpretation of Brueghel’s painting The Way of the Cavalry, The Mill and the Cross: “His dense, layered, cinematic meeting with Bruegel’s masterful painting…held its audience in thrall, and his discussion of the artistic team’s work on the film, three years in the making, was a highlight of the festival’s artists’ talks…Astonished at discovering seven different junctions of perspective in the Bruegel, each with its own POV, he noted the 147 layers then needed to bring these perspectives together on computer, and the nine months to complete the editing.”
Have a look for yourself: The Mill and the Cross is one of Fandor’s four new featured films this week. The others are Romanian auteur Cristi Puiu’s formalist crime film, Aurora, which landed on many Best of 2011 lists; Argentine slow cinema journeyer Lisandro Alonso’s Liverpool, described as “one of the great films of our time” by The MUBI Notebook’s Daniel Kasman; and 8-track aficionado documentary So Wrong They’re Right.