New Asian Currents
New Asian Currents Special Invitation Films
This program aims to discover and support promising Asian filmmakers, those diamonds in the rough who boldly carve out new ways of expression. New Asian Currents gives a thrilling ride again this year, with nineteen currents loaded with the filmmakers’ feelings and thoughts about different “places.”
Venues: Forum 3, 5, Solaris 1, Yamagata Citizens’ Hall (Small Hall)
Screening of Journeys with Kabir—four films—which pursues the philosophy of the 15th-century mystical poet Kabir as manifested in contemporary India, and Oki Hiroyuki’s latest work NA-MU, a road movie in which the metamorphic director himself connects with people around him with the word “na-mu.”
- American Alley
- KOREA / 2008 / Korean, English / Color / Video / 90 min
Director: Kim Dong-ryung
Around 40% of the area of Dongduechon City is taken up by U.S. military bases. We learn the history of K, a Korean woman who has worked on “American Alley” for over 40 years, as well as the present situation for the increasing numbers of Russians and Filipinas who have started working here in recent years. The film examines these women’s relations with young American soldiers, and their feelings for their home.
- INDIA / 2008 / Bengali / Color / Video / 88 min
Director: Sourav Sarangi
Amid the clamor of Kolkata, 3-year-old Bilal lives in a cramped room with his younger brother and their blind parents. His precociousness spills out from their home, the streets, and the screen. He becomes the eyes of his parents, and of the camera, as we are invited into Bilal’s world.
- Chronicle of an Amnesiac
- JAPAN / 2007 / Bengali / Color / Video / 30 min
Director: Anirban Datta
Exalted as “the flower of Bengal” during the British colonial era, the camera follows the disappearing and forgotten memories of Calcutta. Lead by the words of a 92-year-old man who fought in the revolutionary war, the film collects fragments of sound and voice from the alleyways chronicling the faintly lingering scents of Kolkata.
- SYRIA / 2008 / Arabic, French / Color / Video / 40 min
Director: Ammar Albeik
Guided by artist Samia Halaby’s paintings of Palestinian olives and wind, the film sifts through the stones and soil of Ramallah. A personal film realized by the love and sadness felt by Palestinian exiles for their homeland, and the dilemmas they face. A work by I Am the One Who Brings Flowers to Her Grave (YIDFF 2007) co-director Ammar Albeik.
- The Convert
- THAILAND / 2008 / Thai / Color / Video / 83 min
Directors: Panu Aree, Kong Rithdee, Kaweenipon Ketprasit
June is a Buddhist living in Bangkok. On the occasion of her marriage to Ake, a Muslim who lives in southern Thailand, she converts to Islam. June’s new life with Ake is gently evoked by her straightforward words in this road movie.
- Death of the Poet
- TURKEY / 2009 / Laz, Russian / Color / Video / 18 min
Director: Elif Ergezen
The late poet Hasan Helimisi was born in the Turkish district of Hopa, close to the Georgian border. This visual poem interweaves voice recordings of the itinerant poet made in the Laz language with the thoughts of his daughter who was unable to speak it.
- Crescent Moon Over the Sea
- INDONESIA / 2007 / Bajo, Indonesian / Color / Video / 63 min
Director: Yuli Andari
The island of Bungin, which means “speck of white sand,” takes the shape of a crescent moon. A father continues to wholeheartedly invest his love in his son who has returned to the island after graduating from high school. As change gradually encroaches on island life, the crescent moon in the sky shines down on the both of them.
- CHINA / 2009 / Chinese / B&W / Video / 58 min
Director: Huang Weikai
20 “incidents” filmed at the scene by amateur reporters in Guangzhou in China’s Guangdong Province. A pig on a road, an accident, a fire, an abandoned child. . . . This urban symphony recorded in news footage sings of the sensational and indifferent machinations of society.
- Doctor Ma’s Country Clinic
- CHINA / 2008 / Chinese / Color / Video / 215 min
Director: Cong Feng
In the waiting room of an eastern medicine clinic run by Dr. Ma in the mountains of Huangyangchuan in China’s Gansu Province, the patients never stop talking. Young migrant workers, miners, and women who dream of city life: their voices fill our ears, evoking the realities of life in a rural village.
- The Fool Doesn’t Catch a Cold
- KOREA / 2008 / Korean / Color, B&W / Video / 19 min
Director: Kim Kyung-man
The results of the presidential election emanate from a television playing in a Seoul apartment in December of 2007. The bulletin before our eyes overlaps with past presidential elections. Deja vu. Is history just repeating itself? A work by The Things That We Shouldn’t Do (YIDFF 2005) director Kim Kyung-man.
- Green Rocking Chair
- THE PHILIPPINES / 2008 / Filipino / Color, B&W / Video / 61 min
Throughout the islands of the Philippines, Baybayin is alive! This road movie follows the director’s physically demanding and playful journey in search of Baybayin, a writing system used in the Philippines before it became a Spanish colony. The latest work from Roxlee, a familiar face at the festival who has made festival introfilms and designed T-shirts since his Harajuku screened at YIDFF ’93.
- I Wonder . . .
- INDIA / 2009 / Hindi, Tamil, English, Nepali / Color / Video / 70 min
Director: Anupama Srinivasan
In Tamil Nadu (south India), Rajasthan (northwest), and Sikkim (northeast), children face the camera directly and talk bashfully yet earnestly about their families, their teachers, and their own feelings. A sincere examination of the meaning of school, the joy of learning, and situations where children are unable to attend.
- The Memory of Being Here
- JAPAN / 2007 / Japanese / Color / Video / 28 min
Director: Kawabe Ryota
In May of 1997 at the now demolished Kibogaoka housing complex, a young boy named Kawabe Ryota suddenly vanished. 10 years later, we hear witness accounts of the day he disappeared, and see what has become of the housing complex. Ryota is still missing.
- This is Lebanon
- LEBANON / 2008 / Arabic, French / Color / Video / 58 min
Director: Eliane Raheb
In Lebanon wracked by relentless civil war, the standoff between religious (political) factions has grown in intensity, fostering hatred between individuals. With no end in sight, the director, a member of the Christian minority Maronite family, involves her entire family in the production of her film and searches for solutions on a genuinely personal level.
- Nagai Park Elegy
- JAPAN / 2009 / Japanese / Color / Video / 69 min
Director: Sato Leo, NDS
What would one do in the face of the attempted removal of the homeless inhabitants of Osaka’s Nagai Park? In winter of 2007, the camera (as recording apparatus, and as an observer) attempts to capture the commotion as it intermingles with residents who want to keep pursuing their acting ambitions and their supporters who gather here. Produced by NDS (Nakazaki-cho Documentary Space).
- The Passionate Culture
- HONG KONG / 2009 / Chinese / Color / Video / 110 min
Director: Chung Kam-tong
In Lijiang in China’s Yunnan Province, experienced falconers try to pass on the tradition to their unskilled young proteges. Will they rise to the task? Dogs, humans, falcons and forests add to the uncertainty as the days pass by placidly.
- Spiral Staircase of Harbin
- JAPAN / 2008 / Chinese / Color / Video / 109 min
Director: Ji Dan
On a hill in Harbin in China’s Heilongjiang Province in the director’s hometown, a girl neglects her exam preparation in favor of drawing pictures, and her mother wants her to study. Below the hill, a couple is unable to say anything to their son who is always playing with his friends. The feelings of these powerless parents blend with the atmosphere of an unforgiving modern society.
- Ximaojia Universe
- CHINA / 2009 / Chinese / Color / Video / 76 min
Director: Mao Chenyu
The Ximao clan have lived for generations in Yueyang in Hunan Province, the director’s hometown. What remains in the village, and what kind of worldview does their myths and poems pass on? An experimental, ethnographic documentary that attempts new interpretations while carrying out personal ‘archaeological’ exploration and intervention.
- Yuri—About Loving
- GERMANY / 2008 / Japanese / Color / Video / 64 min
Director: Azuma Mieko
On an island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, we meet Yuri and a man 48 years her senior. The director, Yuri’s friend, wanders amid their relationship trying to capture their moments via the camera. What is the act of loving?
New Asian Currents Special Invitation Films
- Weabak: Stayed Out All Night
- KOREA / 2009 / Korean / Color / Video / 73 min
Director: Kim Mi-re
The documentary of energetic women who occupy a major supermarket to protest the mass lay off of part-time workers brings to light the distortions of a male-centered society. A latest work by Kim Mi-re who has been making documentaries on labor issues.
- Seven Blind Woman Filmmakers
- IRAN / 2008 / Persian / Color / Video / 116 min
Head Director: Mohammad Shirvani
An omnibus film consisting of shorts shot by blind women filmmakers, with the help of sound and their hands, each expressing their feelings. Includes Good Night, about love between newlyweds. A latest project by President Mir Qanbar (YIDFF 2005) director Mohammad Shirvani.