By Tracy Wang
Hello all! I just got back from the SFIAAFF 2009 Opening Night! I’ll admit, I was very excited getting ready and I kept looking out the Metro train window to check for my stop every 10 seconds. I really liked the energy of the Castro Theatre, and remembering back to the Comcast representative’s quick speech, I realize that the audience tonight was really a community that was fueled by film and that this energy comes only from such a strong community. The long lines for tickets, the pictures, film crew, and finding a seat, all of it was an experience. Also, of course one of the best parts was meeting all the other delegates and excitedly chatting before the film!
The pre-screening speeches were all very entertaining and I especially enjoyed Director Lee’s awkward but amusing introduction to “My Dear Enemy”. The film itself was such a complex mix of emotions that I often found myself at a crossroads of feelings, ranging from giddiness to disappointment. I like that the film didn’t have complete closure, that even though I found myself rooting throughout for the ex-lovers to realize and reignite their passion, I also concluded that the ending was fitting. If they go their separate ways, then at least the day long experience that the film documents was already “payment” enough. I think the best films enlighten us in some way, and another one of the major reasons why I enjoyed this film was because of what it taught about stress, trust, and money. Ha Jeong-woo’s playful character offered many life lessons for both Jeon Do-yeon and us the audience. Why it’s not worth shaving years off of our lives to stress. What it means to trust others and to be trusted. How heavy a weight does the concept of money bear on us. The chemistry between the actors was palpable, and even the various awkward moments translated perfectly. Not to mention the beautiful beginning of the film in which the curious camera moves fluidly, following a variety of characters in a long take.
The Gala itself was great fun and even being transported to the Asian Art Museum was an experience. ZipCar shuttle service with a chauffeur? Yes, please. The Gala was very well planned out and all of the space utilized so you can have your Pocky, Tibet art, and dance music too. The energy of the Gala was also appropriate, seeing everyone mingling and having a good time. There were plenty of food tables to explore, ranging from fizzy lemon drops to bottles of rose green tea. I was very impressed and overall, it was a very fortunate experience.
Tonight only made me even more excited for the rest of the festival!! See you all around.