New Asian Currents
New Asian Currents introduces up-and-coming documentarists from around Asia. Emerging filmmakers present 30 youthful and diverse works, which reflect the realities of our age in the year 2003.
- Kim Dong-won (South Korea)
Kawase Naomi (Japan)
- The Maze of Lanes
- INDIA / 2002 / Hindi / Color / Video / 6 min
Director: Kalpana Subramanian
We become lost in the back streets of sacred Banaras. A short work that enchants the viewer with the vivid color of its images and a lively rhythm of confusion and enjoyment, as we navigate the maze-like alleys.
- 150 Seconds Ago
- INDIA / 2002 / Gujarati, Hindi, English / Color / Video / 112 min
Director: Batul Mukhtiar
A document of a year in the ancient city of Bhuj, as it recovers from severe damage sustained in the massive earthquake of January 2001. One cannot fail to be moved by the emotional strength of these people as they attempt to comprehend their absurd disaster experiences, come to terms with them and move on.
- A Short Journey
- THAILAND / 2003 / Thai / Color / Video / 5 min
Director: Tanon Sattarujawong
7-year-old Keng lives with his family on the streets, but wants to go to school. First of all, he must convince his alcoholic father. A brilliant short work that reflects a bleak unembellished reality with minimal imagery.
- Nee Engey—Where Are You
- INDIA / 2003 / Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, other languages of India / Color / Video / 153 min
Director: R.V. Ramani
Upon visiting people who once put on shadow plays across southern India, we find that their craft survives on a smaller scale, and the songs live on. Images of these veteran shadow theater artists are captured by a freely moving camera.
- TAIWAN / 2002 / No dialogue / B&W / 35mm / 45 min
Director: Huang Ting-fu
A diverse crowd gathers at Long-Shan Temple in Taipei City. Some throw fortune-telling tablets, others lie down to take a nap, and tourists keep their cameras at the ready. The complementary seediness and serene silence of this space is captured with a uniquely experimental method. From the director of 03:04, screened at YIDFF 2001.
- 3rd Vol. 2—2 Light House
(“3rd Vol. 2—Futatsu no hikari no ie”)
- JAPAN / 2002 / Japanese, English / Color / Video / 52 min
Director: Sanada Misao
The filmmaker has made a life for herself in Nepal as she explores the region. We follow the serene environment reflected in the lifestyles of her friends, their tranquil countenances, and the fragrance of the calm air that combine to create a world overflowing with light.
- Her and Him Van Leo
- LEBANON / 2001 / Arabic, English, French / B&W, Color / Video / 32 min
Director: Akram Zaatari
While working on a photographic history of the Middle East, the director finds a nude photograph of his grandmother. We visit Cairo photographer Van Leo, operator of a photographic studio since 1947, as portrait photographs illustrate change in Egyptian society.
- The Rhythm in Wulu Village
- TAIWAN / 2003 / Mandarin Chinese, Bunun, English / Color / 16mm / 74 min
Director: Wang Chung-hsiung
In the Wulu village of Taiwan’s indigenous Bunun people, much effort is being invested in the education of the Bunun language, music and weaving, in order to protect their traditional culture. How will this village, once a mountainous enclave shut off to the outside world, change through its contact with the outside world? Infused with fresh and exquisite 16mm images and music.
- PALESTINE / 2001 / Arabic / B&W, Color / Video / 18 min
Director: Abdel Salam Shehada
Israel’s tanks and bulldozers destroy a well loved and lived in home, and rip out a tree that was planted in the year of a child’s birth by the roots. A Palestinian film of spellbinding force that directly conveys feelings of powerlessness and anger.
- Hibakusha—At the End of the World
(“Hibakusha—Sekai no owari ni”)
- JAPAN / 2003 / Japanese, English, Arabic / Color / 16mm (shot on video) / 116 min
Director: Kamanaka Hitomi
The children of Iraq are contracting leukaemia and cancer, and the only conceivable cause is the depleted uranium shells used in the Gulf War. By examining the daily lives of ordinary people in America and Japan who have fallen victim to the same kind of internal radiation poisoning from sources such as groundwater and food, we contemplate the future toward which humanity is heading.
- Noah’s Ark
- IRAN / 2002 / Persian / Color / 35mm / 26 min
Director: Soudabeh Babagap
The number of ships sunk during the Iran-Iraq war is equivalent to a third of all those that went down during the World War II. A film work that gives a sometimes rhythmical, sometimes tragic interpretation of the fate of these discarded wrecks.
- And Thereafter
- SOUTH KOREA / 2003 / English, Korean / Color / Video / 55 min
Director: Lee Hosup
An elderly Korean woman who married a G.I. she met during the Korean War has lived in the United States for over forty years. The history of her struggle with her family unfolds as she farms chili peppers in a field over which the South Korean flag flies.
- Gina Kim’s Video Diary
- SOUTH KOREA, USA / 2002 / Korean, English / Color / Video / 152 min
Director: Gina Kim
An extended and completed version of Empty House, which screened in New Asian Currents at YIDFF ’99. 22-year-old Gina, who journeyed to America to escape her mother, battles with bulimia and neuroses while capturing her reclusive self with a video camera.
- Hard Good Life
- TAIWAN / 2003 / Taiwanese, Mandarin Chinese / Color / Video / 43 min
Director: Hsu Hui-ju
A middle-aged man cooks for himself and eats straight from the pot. He naps on the job, where he works as a guard. A daughter films the daily life of her father, who lives alone after the death of his wife. While turning her gaze on ordinary and insignificant things such as keys, dogs, flies and lizards, familial bonds appear in the near-wordless interaction between a father and a daughter.
- Family Project: House of a Father
- SOUTH KOREA / 2002 / Korean / Color / Video / 52 min
Director: Jo Yun-kyung
The traditional South Korean family is in danger. A father fixated on his masculinity. A mother who laments her life of self-sacrifice, and worried children. The daughter, returning home from study in the USA, examines today’s enduringly paternalistic family system.
- The Circle’s Corner
- HONG KONG, USA / 2002 / Cantonese / Color / Video / 31 min
Director: Lam Kin-hung
Hong Kong’s cityscape, merely shot with a fixed camera: from trams, from street level, and from elevated positions. Scenes from a city, experienced while listening to the words of its visually and aurally impaired residents.
- The Big Durian
- MALAYSIA / 2003 / Malay, English, Cantonese, Fujian / Color / Video / 75 min
Director: Amir Muhammad
In 1987, after an incident where a Malay soldier went on a shooting spree in Chinatown, groundless rumors ran rampant and the racial tension between Malays and Chinese Malaysians heightened. Will some kind of truth emerge from the memories of that day spoken here by men and women of all ages? A comical experiment by director Muhammad, who was 15 when the shootings occurred.
- CHINA / 2002 / Chinese / Color / Video / 49 min
Director: Sha Qing
In a rural village, a youth with cerebral paralysis becomes ill and his condition begins to deteriorate. His family can only watch over him helplessly. The painstakingly-filmed individual images and unsentimental editing convey more than just what is seen on screen, and are deeply moving.
- Perpetual Motion
- MONGOLIA / 2002 / Mongolian / Color / Video / 55 min
Director: Sakhya Byamba
A temple in the suburbs of Ulaanbaatar, where young orphan girls live. What kind of world is waiting beyond the railway that runs nearby? A film by the cinematographer of State of Dogs, screened at YIDFF ’99.
- KYRGYZSTAN / 2002 / Kyrgyz / Color / Video / 12 min
Director: Temirbek Birnazarov, Emil Jumabaev
Ordo is Kyrgyzstan’s national sport. A somehow peculiar short work, in which men indulge in games on a square lightly dusted with snow, vying to win a chicken. Co-director Birnazarov’s Devil Bridge screened at YIDFF ’97, while his work Jaiyk featured at YIDFF ’99.
- Sand and Water
- BANGLADESH / 2002 / Bengali, English / Color / Video / 109 min
Director: Shaheen Dill-Riaz
The shoals of the Jamuna River are submerged in water during monsoon season, and in winter they are transformed into a desert-like landscape. Despite the harsh natural conditions, the people who live there are upbeat and do not want to move away. Bangladesh, often portrayed as a country plagued by flood damage, is depicted through efforts to coexist with a river.
- NEW (IMPROVED) DELHI—Director’s Cut
- INDIA / 2003 / English / Color / Video / 6 min
Director: Vani Subramanian
To “improve” India’s capital New Delhi, the slums must be demolished! A short work propelled by an acapella chorus, taking a tongue-in-cheek look at recent urban development policy.
- Three-Five People
- CHINA, USA / 2001 / English, Chinese / Color / Video / 85 min
Director: Li Lin
A 12-year-old youth and his friends who we meet on the streets of Chengdu in Sichuan Province repeatedly steal in order to pay for heroin, and become addicts. The director works tirelessly to try and save them, but their lives are threatened by the police and organized crime.
- HONG KONG / 2003 / Cantonese / Color / Video / 24 min
Director: Lam Chi-hang
A lament for a Hong Kong shopping center devoid of people due to the SARS panic, a closed-off housing complex, and confiscated street stalls. A short work overflowing with innocence, where one cannot help screaming in despair.
(“Tanpopo no saigetsu”)
- JAPAN / 2003 / Chinese, Japanese / Color / Video / 60 min
Director: Ren Shujian
A Chinese family from a poor rural village in Fujian Province continues to bring other family members to Japan through bigamy and smuggling. Undeterred by the uncertainty of their status as illegal immigrants, they send money to their family waiting back home. The director, a student from China, enters the unknown corners of the international city of Tokyo.
- The Ballad of Life
- IRAN / 2002 / Persian / Color / Video / 14 min
Director: Pana Barkhoda Rezaei
People work in cotton fields from the early morning fog to sunset. The sound of wind, the warbling of birds, radio, song, and pomegranates. A melancholy longing to return to Afghanistan and memories of bombing are etched into the minds of children.
- A Night of Prophecy
- INDIA / 2002 / English, various languages of India / Color / Video / 77 min
Director: Amar Kanwar
A journey with India’s torment, carried by poetry and song. Prostitutes who live under a viaduct in Mumbai; a choir that sings hymns in the middle of independence war-torn Nagaland; the darkness of night in crisis zone Kashmir, where it’s an eye for an eye. From the director of A Season Outside (YIDFF ’99) and King of Dreams (YIDFF 2001).
- The Old Man of Hara
- IRAN / 2001 / No dialogue / Color / Video / 30 min
Director: Mahvash Sheyikholeslami
An elderly man silently and solitarily engrosses himself in fishing with a net. Without narration or incident, images and audio of his persistently low-key life unfold. From the director of Silk, screened at YIDFF ’99.
- Dust Buries Sabuk
- SOUTH KOREA / 2002 / Korean / Video / 85 min
Director: Lee Mi-young
South Korea under military rule, 1980. An uprising by mine workers protesting the atrocious environment of the mines is crushed at the hands of armed police. The director, who was 5 years old when the incident occurred, speaks with reporters and those responsible for the massacre, aiming to restore dignity to the names of these laborers who were pioneers of the pro-democratic movement.
- SOUTH KOREA, USA / 2003 / Korean, English / Color / Video / 100 min
Director: Lee Chang-jae
A television program is devised that will examine the present situation of activists who entered railway and factory workplaces during their student years. The director, who is forced to change it to an unsatisfactory format due to political pressure exerted by superiors, examines himself through the images. Penance made by the generation of the student movement.
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