Thursday, November 4, 2010
Films from a dozen countries will be screened as part of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Asian Film Festival, but one from closer to home is likely to make the biggest splash.
Almost six years after Chai Vang, a Hmong immigrant, killed six hunters in northwestern Wisconsin after a racially charged dispute about trespassing, "Open Season" reopens the discussion. There are no new insights in the hour-long documentary, but "Open Season" lucidly lays out the issues of the case, using courtroom testimony and local news broadcasts. Some new interviews don't shed much light on the events, but they — and a coda that mentions a Wisconsin hunter has subsequently been convicted of killing a Hmong man — indicate that the wounds opened by the case remain fresh. (7 p.m., tonight )
I highly recommend "A Brand New Life," from South Korea. Most of the South Korean films that have played here have been thrillers or horror movies, but "Brand New" suggests there's a humanist streak in that country's movies, as well. Opening with a gorgeous shot of a laughing cutie-pie riding on the handlebars of her dad's bicycle, it immediately shifts gears when he dumps her at an orphanage, possibly never to return. Literally overnight, Jinhee's life is turned upside-down but this sad, beautifully observed film — which features an astoundingly natural performance by Sae Ron Kim as the girl, Jinhee — hints that children have deeper resources than they're given credit for.
(7:15 p.m. Friday and 9:30 p.m. Nov. 11)
Other titles in the festival, which continues through Nov. 13, include "Crazy Racer" from China, "Redline" from Japan and "Gulabi Talkies" from India.
Chris Hewitt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
What: "Minneapolis/St. Paul Asian Film Festival"
When: Through Nov. 13
Where: St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 S.E. Main St., Minneapolis
Call: 612-331-7563 or visit mspfilmfest.org