Last Night: Opening Night of the Chinkalicious Asian Film Festival

Categories: Film


Last night marked the 10th San Francisco Asian Film Festival and 5th San Francisco Korean American Film Festival and being a Korean American in this city, I have to attend or my people will take away my kimchi.

I got a chance to catch up with my man Frank Lee, the owner of the 4 Star Theater (over in the Richmond District) and the one responsible for running the festivities. He’s recently won a two-year-long legal battle against a local church group that wanted to turn my beloved independent movie house into a house of God. Thankfully, we still have a place to catch a screening of Train Man. Besides, I hear that God totally understands.

They kicked things off with a humble reception and a Jap blockbuster Genghis Khan flick over in the Castro Theater and I had to bring my one and only mongoloid friend to see what she thinks of the film.

Can a Japanese film staring Japanese actors speaking Japanese bring justice to the biggest name in Mongolian history?

Not really. The film shows the sensitive side of Genghis Khan, as he sheds more tears than blood. However, the horrible directing, diarrhea dialogue, and laughable acting makes the whole thing seem like a war reenactment made for TV. In one scene, a brave enemy asks Genghis (actually pronounced “Chingis,” and the one thing the movie gets right) that he wants an honorable death and doesn’t want any blood spilt, so the soldier requests to get strangled by Khan’s own hands, and I wanted to form a line behind him.

Thankfully, the line-up of the movies looks promising. I’ve seen several of them already, and I highly recommend catching The King and the Clown, one of the highest-grossing movies back in my motherland. As for me, I’ll be catching Zebraman (Takashi Miike’s family-fun campy superhero movie), 200 Pound Beauty (a dark comedy about a Korean pop singer that gets full-body plastic surgery), and Yakiniku Movie (a heartfelt story of two long lost brothers finding each other in a Korean bbq eating contest).

--James Lee

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