THE SAN DIEGO ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL DOMINATES

My last two films of the festival carried on the tradition of quality as both of them successfully shook me out of my hangover. A film festival without a bad film? That’s unpossible! Well, I didn’t see everything screened over the weekend, but I sure as hell didn’t see anything stinky.
Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity ^ **** ½ ^ Directed by Mina Shum ^ Tired of seeing her mother work her ass off at multiple jobs just to make ends meet, a little girl, Mindy, turns to a book of Taoist magic to try and conjure up some good luck so that her mom will win the lottery and never have to work again. The plan doesn’t work, so Mindy gives it another shot, this time trying to bring a little luck to her mom’s lackluster love life. Again the plan fails, but Mindy soon realizes that her potions and spells haven’t failed altogether. Instead, they’ve somehow worked on the wrong people, turning the lives of everyone around her upside down.
Completely charming and equally as funny, “Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity” is a true joy to behold. It’s one of those “Amelie” type movies that make you feel all warm and fuzzy while you’re watching it.
Kung Phooey ^ *** ½ ^ Directed by Darryl Fong ^ I saw a guy a few rows ahead of me almost cough up a lung from laughing so fucking hard during this one.
“Kung Phooey” is a feature length spoof on martial arts movies and the moldy old stereotypes found within. Actually for all of you “Kentucky Fried Movie” fans who have always wanted a feature length version of “A Fistful of Yen” – here you go.
The story itself is a major cliché with a kung-fu master traveling to the States to search for an ancient artifact (this time around it’s the Ancient Peach of the Shur-Li Temple), but finds his path blocked by every kung-fu stereotype imaginable.
Just like the “Airplane” and “Naked Gun” movies, nary a second passes without something completely ridiculous going on, making from some consistent hilarity.
Usually at the end of a festival I’m completely drained, wiped out, pooped, not wanting to see another movie ever again. But as I departed San Diego for Los Angeles late Sunday afternoon, I was amped, excited by the fact that I had just seen six solid movies at one of the classiest film festivals I’ve ever been to. These guys have their shit together and I have to think that anybody in attendance, whether they be filmmaker or film lover, were just as pleased to be there as I was.
I’m always looking forward to October. It’s Halloween! My favorite time of the year. But now I have two reasons. And the second will be my yearly trips down to the San Diego Asian Film Festival.




Posted on October 8, 2003 in Festivals by
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