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Preview: Pac-Arts Spring Showcase

From George Takei To Mystery Kung Fu Theater

KPBS film critic Beth Accomando previews the Spring Showcase from Pac-Arts.



Brian Hu, Artistic Director, San Diego Asian Film Festival

Dan Matthews, Filmmaker, 'AKA Dan'


Pac-Arts kicks off its fourth annual Spring Showcase on Thursday. Here's a preview of the film lineup.

"18 Mighty Mountain Warriors," "How to Fight in Six Inch Heels," "Mystery Kung Fu Theater"… That’s right. It’s time to immerse yourself in Asian cinema courtesy of the Pacific Arts Movement.

Let’s start with the novelty of "Mystery Kung Fu Theater," where you have to place absolute trust in the programmer because you don’t know what the film will be. All you know is it’ll be old school, it’s not available on DVD and after the film "you will not be allowed to reveal what you saw online or in print, though you can write it down in a secret scroll that you pass on to your descendants." Hey, that’s their description, not mine. I’ve attended one before, and it's an experience you don’t want to miss.

But if you want something a little more quantifiable, there’s the documentary "To Be Takei" about the 76-year-old social media superstar probably best known as Sulu on Star Trek.

In the film, Takei candidly talks about his life, career and love. He talks about how "desperately" he wanted to be cast in "Star Trek," and about how his family was placed in an internment camp during World War II, which served as inspiration for the musical "Allegiance."

If George Takei represents everything classy at the festival, then Sion Sono’s new film "Why Don’t You Play in Hell?" is a perfect example of a film designed to shock and offend. But Sono does so with such gusto and bravado that you can’t help but revel in his extreme vision. Sono, who gave us "Suicide Club," "Love Exposure" and "Cold Fish," thrives on excess, and in this surprisingly goofy but bloody tale he turns the lens on the filmmaking process as executed by gangsters. It's a wild ride.

Needless to say, there’s plenty to choose from at this year’s Pac-Arts Spring Showcase. It runs through April 24 at the UltraStar Mission Valley Theaters.

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