Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns for its 15th season in cinemas across Chicago with selected films streaming to homes across the US from Sept. 10 to Nov. 6. Each weekend will be dedicated to a specific region including: China (Sept.10 -16), Japan (Sept. 17 – 23), South Korea (Sept. 24 – Oct. 2), Taiwan (Oct. 22 – 23) and Hong Kong (Oct. 29 – Nov. 6) while this season’s Bright Star Awards go to Hong Kong actress Jennifer Yu and Korean actor Jeong Jae-kwang who will each be appearing in person before screenings of their respective films.


(September 10-16, Claudia Cassidy Theater & AMC New City 14)

Saturday, September 10, 11 AM: The Magical Craftsmanship of Suzhou (天工苏作, Sun Zeng-tian, 2022)

Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St., Chicago)  

Documentary focusing on 12 artisans trying to keep traditional folk arts alive in contemporary Suzhou.

Official Opening Film 

Saturday, September 10, 2 PM: I Am What I Am, (雄獅少年, Sun Hai-peng, 2021)

Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St., Chicago) 

Animation from Sun Hai-Peng set in rural Guangdong and following left behind teen Gyun who develops a fascination with traditional lion dance and sets off with two friends to find a lion dancing master.

September 10-16 Streaming available for U.S. views @ 

Back To Love (带你去见我妈, Lan Hong-chun, 2021)

Drama in which a man returns from the city to his rural hometown to introduce his girlfriend in the hope that his mother will stop trying to arrange marriages for him but is fraught with anxiety as the woman he loves has been married before.

Embrace Again (穿过寒冬拥抱你, Xue Xiao-lu, 2021)

Drama starring Huang Bo and featuring a series of interconnected tales set during the early days of the pandemic.

Schemes In Antiques (古董局中局, Derek Kwok, 2021)

The owner of an electronics store keen to shake off his family’s legacy of disgrace because of an ancestor’s treachery selling a precious artefact to the Japanese is drawn swept into intrigue when the relic is returned.


(September 17 – 23, Wilmette Theater, 1122 Central Ave., Wilmette, IL) 

Japan Cinema Showcase special host:  Mark Schilling, author/critic of Japan Times  

Saturday, September 17, 2pm: Noise (ノイズ, Ryuichi Hiroki, 2022) 

Darkly comic thriller from Ryuichi Hiroki in which the previously close relationship between three childhood friends is strained when they find themselves trying to cover up a murder. Review.

Saturday, September 17, 4:30 PM: Alivehoon (アライブフーン, Ten Shimoyama) 

Drift racing drama supervised by Keiichi Tsuchiya in which a shy, introverted gamer is scouted by a team on the verge of shutting down.

Sunday, September 18, 2 PM: Popran (ポプラン, Shinichiro Ueda, 2022) 

A self-involved CEO gets a course correction when his genitals suddenly decide to leave him in Shinichiro Ueda’s surreal morality tale. Review.

Sunday, September 18, 4:30 PM: The Fish Tale (さかなのこ, Shuichi Okita, 2022)  

The infinite enthusiasm of a fish obsessive gradually brightens the world around them in Shuichi Okita’s charming portrait of an eccentric. Review.

September 17-23 Streaming available for U.S. views @ 

Struggling Man (私はいったい、何と闘っているのか  Toshio Lee, 2021)

A veteran employee of a grocery store finds his life disrupted when his manager dies and HQ sends in an executive to replace him while his eldest daughter’s engagement shakes the foundations of his family life.

South Korea

(September 24 – October 2, AMC Niles 12, (301 Golf Mill Center, Niles, IL)

Saturday, September 24, 2:30 PM: Fairy (요정, Shin Tack-su, 2021)

A pair of cafe owners who got married but decided to continue running separate cafes experience a mysterious uptick in business after they hit a boy with their car and decide to keep in their house to cover up the crime.

Saturday, September 24, 4:30 PM: Mother’s Place (엄마의 자리, Ryu Hee-jung, 2022) 

A young girl’s concept of family is undermined when her mother and step-father are killed in an accident but the relatives refuse to let them be buried together.

Sunday, September 25, 2:30PM: Director’s Intention (영화의 거리, Kim Min-geun, 2021)  

A location manager is faced with a difficult situation when she realises the director of the latest film she’s working on is the hometown boyfriend of her youth.

Sunday, September 25, 4:30 PM: Not Out (낫아웃, Lee Jung-gon, 2021) 

Actor Jeong Jae-kwang will be appearing in person to pick up his Bright Star Award.

A young man goes to drastic lengths to make his baseball dreams come true in Lee Jung-gon’s unexpectedly dark character study. Review.

Saturday, October 1, 2:30 PM: Chorokbam (초록밤, Yoon Seo-jin, 2021)  

A small family contend with the persistent unfairness of the contemporary society in Yoon Seo-jin’s slow burn indie drama. Review.

Saturday, October 1, 4:30 PM: My Perfect Roommate (룸 쉐어링, Lee Soon-sung, 2022) 

A kind young student and grumpy granny eventually discover a new sense of familial comfort after living together as part of a house sharing programme in Lee Soon-sung’s heartwarming drama.


Sunday, October 2, 2:30 PM: Chun Tae-il: A Flame That Lives On (태일이, Hong Jun-pyo, 2021)

Animated biopic of labour activist Chun Tae-il who took his own life through self-immolation in protest against the failure to enforce existing labour law or protect workers from unhealthy and exploitative conditions. Review.

Sunday, October 2, 4:30 PM: Stellar: A Magical Ride  (스텔라, Kwon Soo-kyung, 2022) 

A cynical man makes peace with his father’s memory while driving his possibly haunted and very rundown Hyundai Stellar in Kwon Soo-kyung’s charmingly quirky road movie. Review.


(October 22-23, Illinois Institute of Technology, Tower Auditorium, 10 W. 35th St., Chicago) 

Saturday, October 22, 2:30 PM: Hello! Tapir (神獸, Kethsvin Chee, 2020) 

A small boy begins to process grief and loss while searching for nightmare-eating tapirs in Kethsvin Chee’s charmingly retro fantasy adventure. Review.

Saturday, October 22, 4:30 PM: Chen Uen (千年一問, Wang Wan-jo, 2021) 

Using a mix of interviews and animatics, Wang’s elegantly lensed documentary presents an enigmatic picture of the legendary pioneer of Taiwanese comics. Review.

Sunday, October 23, 2:30 PM: Shiro – Hero of Heroes (諸葛四郎 – 英雄的英雄, Lin Yu-chun & Chuang Yung-hsin, Liu Yu-shu, 2022)

Family animation inspired by the classic Taiwanese comic book JhugeShiro in which the Demon Society is after the Dragon and Phoenix sword leaving the hero, Shiro, to protect both the swords and the princess from the evil Ping.

Sunday, October 23, 4:30 PM: City of Lost Things (廢棄之城, Yee Chih-yen, 2021) 

An alienated teen finds a place to belong in Trash City only to instantly betray his new paradise in Yee Chin-Yen’s inspirational family animation. Review.

Hong Kong

(October 29 – November 6, FACETS Cinema and AMC New City 14).

Saturday, October 29, 2:30 PM:  The Narrow Road (窄路微麈, Lam Sum, 2021)

AMC New City 14, 1500 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610

An earnest middle-aged man running a struggling cleaning business amid the difficult economic background of the coronavirus pandemic bonds with a young single mother in Lam Sum’s elegantly lensed social drama.

Saturday, October 29, 4:30 PM: Deliverance (源生罪, Kelvin Shum, 2021)

AMC New City 14 

A woman returns to Hong Kong 15 years after her mother’s death and is forced to confront her unresolved trauma after undergoing hypnosis.

Celebrating Halloween at FACETS Cinema

(1517 W. Fullerton Ave., Chicago)  

Sunday, October 30, 2:30 PM:  Tales From the Occult (失衡凶間, Wesley Hoi, Fruit Chan, Fung Chih-chiang, 2022)

Hong Kongers contend with the hidden horrors of the contemporary society in the first instalment in a series of anthology horror films . Review.

Sunday, October 30, 5:30 PM: Rigor Mortis (殭屍, Juno Mak, 2014)

Juno Mak’s 2014 take on the hopping vampire movie in which a struggling actor moves in to a rundown tenement populated mainly by ghosts.

Saturday, November 5, 2 PM: Far Far Away (緣路山旮旯, Amos Why, 2021)

AMC New City 14 

An introverted IT guy (Kaki Sham) gets a crash course in romance when he ends up dating a series of women from the far flung corners of Hong Kong in Amos Why’s charming romantic comedy. Review.

Saturday, November 5, 5 PM: The First Girl I Loved (喜歡妳是妳, Candy Ng, Yeung Chiu-hoi, 2021)

AMC New City 14 

A young woman begins to re-evaluate her teenage romance when her first love asks her to be maid of honour at her wedding in Yeung & Ng’s youth nostalgia romance. Review.

Sunday, November 6, 2 PM: Pretty Heart (心裏美, Terry Ng Ka-wai, 2022)

AMC New City 14 

Hong Kong’s Jennifer Yu (Far Far AwayMen on the DragonSisterhood) is this season’s Bright Star Award winner and will attend in person to receive the honour before the screening of her latest film, Pretty Heart, in which she stars as an idealistic high school teacher who is estranged from her headmaster father whom she blames for her mother’s death.

Closing Night

Sunday, November 6, 6 PM: Septet: The Story of Hong Kong (七人樂隊

AMC New City 14 

Seven-part anthology film featuring segments directed by Sammo Hung, Ann Hui, Patrick Tam, Yuen Wo-Ping, Johnnie To, the late Ringo Lam, and Tsui Hark exploring the past and future of Hong Kong from the 1950s to today.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema runs Sept. 10 to Nov. 6 at cinemas across Chicago with select films available to stream online throughout the US. Further details can be found on the official website and you can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on  FacebookTwitter,  Instagram, and Vimeo.

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