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March 22, 2006

Tonight's FiLm FeSt offerings

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Tonight at the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival I'm gonna see American Fusion (with Esai Morales!) at 6:45 and Linda Linda Linda at 9 ish.

American Fusion is about ... well, here's the blurb:

Winner of the Audience Award at the Hawaii International Film Festival, AMERICAN FUSION delicately blends the sweetness of a middle-aged love story with the irreverent, envelope-pushing comedy of a Farrelly Brothers movie. In his first feature, director Frank Lin manages to challenge ethnic stereotypes and examine the burdens of cultural and familial expectations, all while grounding the film with a whole lot of heart.

Sylvia Chang (20:30:40, SFIAAFF ‘05) plays Yvonne, a divorcee in her forties who thinks she’s missed her chance at finding true happiness. Though she earns a paycheck as a writer, Yvonne’s real job is to keep watch over her crazy family, which includes her “twixster” hip-hopped son (co-writer Randall Park), a hot-headed brother (Collin Chou, THE MATRIX trilogy) who can’t get his wife pregnant, and a feisty, disapproving mother (scene-stealing Lang Yun) who’s about to undergo back surgery.

When a writing assignment brings Yvonne in close contact with Jose (NYPD BLUE’s Esai Morales), a handsome Mexican American dentist, Yvonne wonders how she can juggle her duty to her misfit family with the desire to let go and fall in love. Featuring a stellar cast that includes the last appearance by the late Pat Morita and cameos by James Hong, Eddie Shin and Fabio, AMERICAN FUSION is just like your family. Only funnier.

Okay, now Linda Linda Linda:

They say all-girl-rock-band movies are a specialist taste, but Nobuhiro Yamashita is here to prove them wrong. Yamashita (director of RAMBLERS and NO ONE’S ARK (SFIAAFF '03), both small classics of deadpan slacker comedy) starts from a plausible situation—a band in Shibazaki High School breaks up over “musical differences”—and gives it a wonderfully improbable twist. The band’s co-founder Kei decides to cobble together a scratch band of her own (she calls it “Paran Maum”) to compete in an inter-school music ompetition, and recruits Korean exchange student Son (the incomparable Bae Du-Na, from SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE) as her new vocalist, unfazed by the fact that Son doesn’t yet speak Japanese, let alone sing it. They have just three days to master a set of songs by the Blue Hearts, Japan’s best-loved punk band of the 1980s (“Linda Linda” was their greatest hit) and everything that can go wrong does.

Armed with a score by ex-Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and a guest appearance by The Ramones (really?), Yamashita crosses the molehills of high-school rivalries with the mountains of punk belligerence to produce a joyously entertaining movie. It’s also, by the way, the smartest response by far to the wave of enthusiasm for all things Korean that is currently gripping Japanese pop culture.

Okay, who's in? There might be tickets left, and if not, there are still rush tickets (but you have to get there early.) Strongly encourage everybody to get out there tonight and see some moobies! Tomorrow's closing night!


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