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Festival Preview: 2nd Annual Spring Showcase

SDAFF Kicks Off 12-Film Fest

Above: Johnnie To's "Life Without Principle."

The San Diego Asian Film Foundation kicks off its 2nd Annual Spring Showcase tonight at the UltraStar Mission Valley Theaters at Hazard Center. The Festival runs tonight through April 26.

Apparently SDAFF has too many good films on its hands to keep its festival confined to a single event in the fall. So they are staging their second Spring Showcase to highlight a dozen new films.

Brian Hu, Associate Artistic Director of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation, enthused in a blog post, "We don’t know about you, but the 13th San Diego Asian Film Festival can’t come soon enough. Luckily, the 2nd SDAFF Spring Showcase is here, with 12 films to whet your appetite for the best in Asian cinema. This year, we’re upping the ante. These are the latest and greatest from the great world masters to the international box office smashes. We’ve got multiple films from Japan, India, and Korea, plus docs and more!"

The titles selected got recent accolades at the 31st Annual Hong Kong Film Awards that took place on April 15. Multiple films in Spring Showcase line up took home awards: "You Are the Apple of My Eye" won the award for best film of Mainland and Taiwan;"Life Without Principle" won for both best supporting actor and best supporting actress; and Ann Hui's "A Simple Life" took home an astonishing five awards including best picture, best director, best actor, best actress and best screenplay.

The only film I was able to preview was Johnnie To's "Life without Principle." The clever title refers both to a life without ethical standards and to the financial notion of principle. The film, in typical To fashion, is tightly constructed, intense, and well done. I think it's a shame that To's films get so little play in the U.S. and that he's never become as recognizable a name here.

I'd also suggest the Bollywood film "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" because Bollywood musical, like old MGM musicals, never fail to entertain at least on some level. It's gorgeous people engaging in elaborate song and dance so you are bound to leave the theater with a bounce in your step.

Also likely to deliver the goods (because these are all established and highly talented filmmakers) are Ann Hui's "A Simple Life" and Hirokazu Kore-eda's "I Wish."

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