Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns March 10 to April 9 with another handpicked selection of the best in recent East Asian cinema! This landmark 10th Season kicks off with Aaron Kwok homelessness drama i’m livin’ it which is nominated in 10 categories at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards, and closes with Yukiko Mishima’s much anticipated romantic drama Shape of Red.
March 10, 7pm: i’m livin’ it
Introduction and Q&A with Director Wong Hing Fan and Actress Kathy Wu
Receiving 10 nominations at this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards including all the major categories, i’m livin’ it stars Aaron Kwok as a once successful banker who has unexpectedly become homeless and spends his nights in a 24hr fast food restaurant among others facing similar difficulties.
March 11, 7pm: A Witness Out of the Blue
Introduction and Q&A with Director Fung Chih-Chiang
A detective finds himself investigating a murder in which the only witness is a parrot! Louis Koo is up for best actor at the Hong Kong film awards for his role as the prime suspect while Philip Keung also gets a nod for best supporting as a senior detective.
March 12, 7pm: First Night Nerves
Stanley Kwan’s starry drama pits two warring divas against each other in a battle for the spotlight as they rehearse for a new play penned by a transwoman who struggles to find acceptance in the surprisingly conservative theatre industry. Review.
March 14, 2pm: Men on the Dragon
A collection of dejected middle-aged men can no longer avoid facing their respective crises when forced to participate in the company dragon boat team in Sunny Chan’s heartfelt comedy drama. Review.
March 16, 6.30pm: A Touch of Spring
Introduction and Q&A with Director He Xiao-Dan
Following the breakup of her marriage, a young woman decides to return to her hometown in China after living in Montreal for 10 years. Reconnecting with her family and an old flame helps to show her new direction in her life.
March 18, 7pm: Red Flowers and Green Leaves
A young man who assumed he’d never marry because of a longterm illness suddenly finds himself with a beautiful wife through an arrangement made by his family.
March 19, 7pm: 3 Adventures of Brooke
A young Chinese woman has three very different adventures while traveling in Northern Malaysia, trying on different identities as she encounters different people.
March 21, 7pm: Vanishing Days
Zhu Xin’s debut feature follows a little girl, Li Sen-Lin, who loses her pet turtle while her dad is away on business. Overhearing other relatives talk about an alternate “Sen-Lin”, she begins to wonder if her aunt is really her mother.
March 25, 7pm: We Are Champions
Introduction and Q&A with Producer Rachel Chen and Actor Berant Zhu who will also pick up the Bright Star Award before the screening.
Taiwanese sporting drama in which teenage brothers attempt to change their fates through success on the basketball court.
March 26, 7pm: Detention
Lonely high schooler Fang falls for guidance councillor Zhang who alone seems to understand her. She joins his secret study group to read banned books, but Zhang soon “disappears” while only Fang and another student seem to remember him in this gothic horror set during Taiwan’s repressive martial law period.
April 1, 7pm: Vertigo
Introduction and Q&A with Director Jeon Gye-Soo
A woman in her 30s begins to feel a sense of existential vertigo, trapped in a dead end relationship with a feckless boyfriend while worrying that her career is going nowhere either. Then, she meets a tightrope walking window cleaner.
April 2, 7pm: Paper Flower
Introduction and Q&A with Director Koh Hoon and Actor Ahn Sung-ki who will also receive the Career Achievement Award.
A funeral director struggling to care for his sickly son bonds with a cheerful single mother while going against the city to assist in a public funeral for a noodle stall owner who became a hero to the homeless.
April 4, 7pm: Life Finds a Way
Introduction and Q&A with Director Hirobumi Watanabe
Hirobumi Watanabe once again stars as a version of himself as he experiences a creative crisis as a director while hanging out with his elderly grandmother in sunny Tochigi.
April 8, 7pm: Samurai Marathon
A small fiefdom is thrown into crisis when a ninja spy mistakes his lord’s intentions to toughen up his men as a prelude to rebellion in this unusual samurai drama directed by Bernard Rose. Review.
April 9, 7pm: Shape of Red
Kaho stars as a happily married woman who embarks on a passionate affair with an old flame (Satoshi Tsumabuki) in Yukiko Mishima’s steamy adaptation of the novel by Rio Shimamoto.
Asian Pop-up Cinema Season 10 runs in Chicago from March 10 to April 9. Full details for all the films are available via the festival’s official website where tickets are already on sale. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo.