Asian Cinematic Perspectives at the 2012 San Francisco International Film Festival

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Don't Stop Believin': Everyman's Journey features Arnel Pineda’s path from YouTube obscurity to stadium fame in becoming Journey’s new lead singer.

The 55th San Francisco International Film Festival is in full swing this week through Thursday, May 3 at the Sundance Kabuki Cinemas, the Castro Theatre, SF Film Society Cinema and SFMOMA in San Francisco and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. This year’s showcase offers a strong representation of Asian-themed films as well as an array of works by Asian and Asian American master filmmakers. Festival-goers will enjoy the rare screening of David Chou’s Golden Slumbers which blows off the dust from the reels of Cambodia’s cinematic golden age. Chou finely balances fascinating interviews with filmmakers who survived the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge (1975-1979) and resurrects to the big screen excerpts of kitschy, old school Cambodian films.

Academy Award-winning and Palo Alto-born filmmaker, Jessica Yu, takes on the world’s waterways with her thought-provoking, environmentally-driven Last Call At the Oasis. Amidst the planetary zeitgeist of all things “green”, Yu provides disheartening stats and captivating aerial cinematography which gives perspective of how all-encompassing the earth’s water crisis has become.

What a treat to see that the legendary Ramona Diaz’ Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey closes out the festival at The Castro Theatre. This long-awaited and mandatory must-see film for all Journey followers documents the amazing rags-to-riches story of Philippines-born Arnel Pineda as he ascends to stardom to become the group’s lead singer.

Others that have made their way through the circuitous film route include works by highly-acclaimed filmmakers such as Johnnie To (Life Without Principle), Eric Baudelaire (The Anabasis of May and Fusako, Shigenobu, Masao Adachi, and 27 Years Without Images), Alison Klayman (Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry), Hong Sang-soo (The Day He Arrives), and Pema Tseden (Old Dog).

For more information about the San Francisco International Film Festival, visit festival.sffs.org!.

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