By Fan Huang
Opening today was Chuck Mitsui’s ONE KINE DAY, a coming-of-age story about Ralsto, a hapa teenage skater. Riding casually through the lush Hawaii landscapes, Ralsto encounters things over the period of one day that will forever change his life. Mitsui examines the unglamorous and also unsettling aspect of Hawaii life—the overly laid back atmosphere that can lead to callousness and danger. It also raises the question of the lack of development of men in today’s society.
Flash forward to Lu Zhang’s DOOMAN RIVER, a film beautifully shot about the tragic circumstances surrounding a young boy Chang-ho, his mute sister, and their grandfather when they meet North Korean refugees. Very much influenced and reminiscent of Italian neorealism, the film gives us a fly-on-the-wall perspective with many long takes of long and medium shots. The film also features a minimalistic style with no flashy editing sequences, allowing the audience to properly view and understand the plight of these unfortunate individuals.
Nearly ending the day was a panel, THE NEW MATRIX moderated by Anderson Le discussing Vietnamese cinema with Stephane Gauger, Ngo Thanh Van, and Johnny Tri Nguyen. Vietnamese cinema, still in its nascent stage, has exploded over the last several years and part of that is due to independent production companies. Although it focuses on the Vietnamese film industry, it provides a background on the exciting future of independent films through a more global collaboration.
We managed to visit the tropical beaches of Hawaii, the desolate ice wastelands of China, and also discuss the future of Vietnamese cinema with Vietnam’s own “Bradalinga”—Ngo Tranh and Johnny Tri Nguyen—which shows the incredible diversity of Asian and Asian-American films in the 29th annual San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
Fan is a participant in this year’s Verizon Student Delegate Program