Au Revoir Taipei
It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for the 11th year of the DC Asian Pacific American (APA) Film Festival. It seems like yesterday that the nascent festival scruffily started in the tiny theaters of D.C.’s now defunct Cineplex Odeon Foundry to fill the void left by the demise of an earlier Asian American film festival in the Washington area. This year’s significantly more robust edition graces the screens of Landmark’s E Street Cinema, the Goethe-Institut, Freer Gallery of Art and the National Museum of the American Indian. Notable international selections include the following: The opening night film is being presented by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO), Taiwan’s de facto embassy in Washington. The crowd-pleaser “Au Revoir Taipei” (Oct. 7, 7:30 p.m., Landmark’s E Street Cinema) is directed by Chinese-American filmmaker Arvin Chen and executive-produced by German auteur Wim Wenders. In the film, Kai (Jack Yao), a sheepish young man in Taipei, is determined to fly to Paris to chase after the girlfriend who just dumped him. Meanwhile, in the bookstore where he’s trying to learn French, shop girl Susie (Amber Kuo) seems to be falling for him. “With 10 years of success, the DC APA Film Festival has become one of the most prominent film festivals of its type,” said Representative Jason C. Yuan of TECRO. “TECRO is very proud that ‘Au Revoir Taipei’ was chosen to open the 11th DC APA Film Festival.” China-born, Britain-based Xiaolu Guo is featured in the festival with “She, A Chinese” (Oct. 8. 9 p.m., Goethe-Institut), which tells the tale of Li, a girl who flees her Chinese village and ends up in a scary Chungking factory. Leaving that, she illegally makes her way to London and enters a marriage of convenience with an older British man (Geoffrey Hutchings) while carrying on with an Indian (Chris Ryman). Is Li a victim of fate or is her plight of her own making? Since the 1950s, an estimated 200,000 Korean children have been placed with families all around the world in the hopes for a better life. Tammy Chu’s “Resilience” (Oct. 9, 1 p.m., Freer Gallery) reunites one South Korean mother on national television with the son sent overseas by her family for adoption 30 years earlier. In “Going Home” (Oct. 9, 3 p.m., Freer Gallery), director Jason Hoffman, raised in a Jewish family in Manhattan, journeys to Seoul to find his birth family. A panel on Korean adoption and reunion follows at 4:45 p.m. In Christina Shu-hwa Yao’s “Empire of Silver” (Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m., Goethe-Institut), which takes place in Shanxi (known as the Wall Street of China) during the volatile last years of the Qing Dynasty, Third Master (Aaron Kwok) is reluctant to take over the family banking business from his father, Lord Kang (Zhang Tielin), and has an affair with his stepmother (Hao Lei). “Hiroshima Nagasaki Download” (Oct. 10, 4 p.m., Goethe-Institut) documents two Japanese ex-pats, based in Europe and Mexico, road-tripping through the U.S. and Canada to interview survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs. Gerry Balasta’s “The Mountain Thief” (Oct. 13, 7 p.m., Goethe-Institut), shows how a poor family in the Philippines survives by collecting garbage in the slum village of Little Hope. The centerpiece film, Kit Hui’s “Fog” (Oct. 14, 7:30 p.m., Goethe-Institut), set during the 10th anniversary of the reunification of Hong Kong with China, portrays how Wai’s (Terence Yin) amnesia forces him to restart his life. Patti Duncan and Skye Fitzgerald’s documentary “Finding Face” (Oct. 16, 2 p.m., Goethe-Institut) tells how the life of Tat Marina, a rising Cambodian karaoke star, was changed when her face was destroyed by acid. And the closing night film, “The Things We Carry” (Oct. 16, 7 and p.m., Goethe-Institut) marks the debut feature film of the Lobit sisters, with Athena serving as producer and Alyssa as writer and lead actress, portraying Emmie, a thrill-seeking wanderer. On her travels, Emmie receives a letter informing her that her junkie mother has passed away and left her a mysterious package, so she goes back home to face an estranged sister and all the troubles she left behind. For more information, visit www.apafilm.org.
About the Author
Ky N. Nguyen is the film reviewer for The Washington Diplomat.