An ever-growing number of Bay Area film festivals have successfully gravitated online in the coronavirus era. I suggest they jointly adopt an umbrella slogan: Think Global, Watch Local. Not terribly original, perhaps, but with a sharp logo? Pure magic. The message? The wide world of cinema is available in our living rooms.
Streaming and drive-in
Few festivals anywhere have embraced change—nay, reinvention—in recent years like the Center for Asian American Media. Going online, as CAAMFest did in May with the “Heritage at Home” program reconstituted from its COVID-affected annual bash, was a piece of cake. (A very big piece, but still.)
To mark its 40th anniversary, CAAMFest has put together an ambitious second festival in one (plague) year. Wayne Wang’s Coming Home Again, inspired by Chang-rae Lee’s first-person essay about a Korean American son returning to San Francisco to care for his mother, receives its U.S. premiere. Another stateside debut, writer-director Norris Wong’s romantic social drama My Prince Edward, traces the build-up to a Hong Kong wedding day jeopardized by a decade-old sham marriage.
76 Days, an essential documentary in a year filled with nonfiction investigations and exposés, captures the crisis and chaos of Wuhan, China during the initial outbreak of COVID-19. Slow your pulse by indulging in an hour of contemplative bliss with The Story Beyond a Cup of Sake, Hironori Sakurai’s immersion in a small Nagano brewery. There’s a whole lot more in the CAAMFest Forward lineup, and you don’t need a passport.
Isaac Julien’s Lessons of the Hour
Oct. 14, 2020 through March 13, 2021
McEvoy Foundation for the Arts
The British artist Isaac Julien emerged 30 years ago with a pair of breakthrough films, Looking for Langton and Young Soul Rebels, that centered the complicated experiences of being Black and queer. In the ensuing years, he’s adopted, and mastered, the difficult format of the multi-screen gallery installation—as those who caught the U.S. premiere of Playtime at Fort Mason a couple years ago will attest.