Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns for its 16th season in cinemas across Chicago March 18 to April 16. The season will kick off with a special pre-launch screening of Philip Yung’s highly anticipated 1960s crime drama Where the Wind Blows with lead actor Aaron Kwok scheduled to attend in person. It will then present films from Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, while a selection of Korean films will also be available to stream in the US and Canada via Eventive along with Vietnamese LGBTQ+ drama Song Lang and gritty Chinese neo-noir Old Town Girls.

Festival Pre-Launch Special Event 

Tuesday, March 14, 7:00 PM: Where the Wind Blows (風再起時, Philip Yung, 2023)

AMC NEWCITY 14 

Lead Actor Aaron Kwok is scheduled to attend for the award ceremony and introduction of the film.  

Long-awaited latest film from Port of Call’s Philip Yung starring Aaron Kwok and Tony Leung Chiu-wai as policemen who forge dangerous alliances with organised crime in ’60s Hong Kong.

Japan Week

AMC Evanston 12 (1715 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL)

Opening Film 

Saturday, March 18, 2:30 PM : A Man (ある男, Kei Ishikawa, 2022)

©2022 "A MAN" FILM PARTNERS

The latest film from Kei Ishikawa (Gukoroku: Traces of SinArc), A Man stars Satoshi Tsumabuki as a lawyer who is pulled into a web of intrigue when a former client asks him to investigate her late husband who had been living under an assumed identity.

Saturday, March 18, 5:30 PM: She Is Me, I Am Her (ワタシの中の彼女, Mayu Nakamura, 2022)

Career Achievement Award recipient lead actress Nahana and director Mayu Nakamura are scheduled to attend in person to introduce the film and have a Q&A after the film presentation moderated by Mark Schilling.

Mayu Nakamura’s anthology film spins four of tales of contemporary loneliness exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic each starring actress Nahana as a conflicted housewife meditating on past regret, a lonely woman who takes a liking to a takeaway delivery driver, a sex worker displaced by the pandemic, and a blind woman who offers a hand of salvation to a telephone scammer. Review.

Sunday, March 19, 2:30 PM: Before They Take Us Away (Antonia Grace Glenn, 2022)

Presenter/Producer Evelyn Nakano Glenn and Writer/Director Antonia Grace Glenn are scheduled to attend in person to introduce the film and have a Q&A after the screening moderated by Mark Schilling.

Antonia Grace Glenn’s documentary focuses on the Japanese Americans who evacuated voluntarily in the wake of Executive Order 9066 and avoided entering the internment camps but became refugees in their own country.

Sunday, March 19, 5:30 PM: Convenience Story (コンビニエンス ストーリー, Satoshi Miki, 2022)

Surreal Lynchian adventure based on a story by film writer Mark Schilling and directed by Satoshi Miki following a blocked writer (Ryo Narita) who becomes trapped in a weird alternate reality after entering a mysterious convenience store. Review.

Wednesday, March 22, 6:30 PM: Umami (Slony Sow, 2022)

Alliance Française de Chicago (54 W Chicago, Chicago, IL 60610) 

French-Japanese co-production starring Gérard Depardieu as a chef who has a near death experience and embarks on an existential journey to Japan haunted by his defeat in a culinary competition decades earlier at the hands of a Japanese ramen master.

Singapore and China

Michael Paul Galvin Tower, Schulz Auditorium at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)  (10 W. 35th St., Chicago) 

Saturday, March 25, 2:30pm: Ajoomma (아줌마, He Shuming, 2022)

 Drama in which a middle-aged woman from Singapore chases her obsession with Korean TV dramas all the way to Seoul only to become lost and embark on a journey of unexpected self-discovery,

Saturday, March 25, 4:30 PM: Ping Pong: The Triumph (中国乒乓之绝地反击, Deng Chao & Baimei Yu, 2023)   

True life sporting drama starring Deng Chao as a table tennis coach tasked with putting together a new national team.

March 25 – 31, 2023: South Korea Streaming Week

Streaming available for U.S./Canada viewers at https://watch.eventive.org/apuc16 

Please Make Me Look Pretty (니얼굴, Seo-Dong-il, 2020)

Documentary following a young woman who was born with Down Syndrome and is often on the receiving end of societal prejudice but has found release in drawing portraits of others which express a deep love and respect for all she meets despite not receiving the same in return.

Good Morning (안녕하세요, Cha Bong-ju, 2022)

Drama in which a young woman raised in an orphanage considers taking her own life but is prevented by a hospice nurse who paradoxically tells that she will show her how to die.

A Home From Home (아이를 위한 아이, Lee Seung-hwan, 2022)

Do-yoon, a young man planning to travel to Australia, reunites with his estranged father and agrees to live with him and his younger brother, Jae-min. When his father dies suddenly, Do-yoon gives up his plans of going abroad to become his brother’s guardian but later discovers an earth-shattering secret.

Rolling (말아, Kwak Min-seung, 2022)

Quirky indie dramedy following 25-year-old drop out Juri who is charged with looking after her mother’s kimbap shop during the pandemic while she travels to care for her own mother in the country. Review.

Hong Kong Week

AMC NEWCITY 14 (1500 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610)

Centerpiece Film

Friday, March 31, 7:00 PM: A Guilty Conscience (毒舌大狀, Jack Ng, 2023)

Bright Star Award recipient Renci Yeung and the director Jack Ng Wai Lun are scheduled to attend the award ceremony and Q&A in person.

A cynical lawyer’s existence is upended when a case he’d assumed would be easy ends in a bereaved mother being sent to prison for seventeen years for a crime she almost certainly did not commit in this often hilarious courtroom drama which puts social inequality on trial. Review.

Saturday, April 1, 12:00 PM: The Sparring Partner (正義迴廊, Ho Cheuk Tin, 2022)

Incredibly dark true crime courtroom drama inspired by a notorious case from 2013 in which a man murdered his parents with the help of a friend who has learning difficulties and then went on TV to appeal for information on their disappearance. Faced with conflicting testimonies, the jury must examine their own prejudices and the mechanisms of the justice system as they attempt to weigh guilt and innocence. Review.

Saturday, April 1, 5:30 PM: Remember What I Forgot (曾經擁有, Chui Tze Yiu, 2022) 

The producer of a reality TV show decides to investigate a local film buff known as Lil’ Kim (Philip Keung) who somehow shows up uninvited on movie sets or crashes premieres and press conferences though nobody seems to know anything about why or where he came from.

Saturday, April 1, 7:30 PM: Port of Call (踏血尋梅, Philip Yung, 2015)

Electric 2015 crime drama/state of the nation address in which a world-weary policeman is charged with investigating the death of a young woman in which the prime suspect has already confessed but claims that he killed her only because she asked him to. Review.

Sunday, April 2, 2:30 PM: Lost Love (流水落花, Ka Sing Fung, 2022)

Director Ka Sing Fung is scheduled to attend for INTRO and Q&A. 

A couple who have recently lost a child decide to foster, but the decision places additional strain on their relationship as the father drifts into an affair feeling pushed out by his wife’s dedication to the children under their care.

April 3 – 9, 2023: Movies You May Have Missed Streaming on Eventive

Streaming available for U.S./Canada views at https://watch.eventive.org/apuc16 

Song Lang (Leon Le, 2018)

Beautifully tragic romance set in ’80s Saigon in which a conflicted street punk falls in love with a Cai Luong opera singer. Review.

Old Town Girls (兔子暴力, Shen Yu, 2020) 

The left behind children of decaying industrial China find themselves at the mercy of a corrupted parental legacy in Shen Yu’s gritty neo-noir. Review.

April 3 – 9, 2023: Movies You May Have Missed Streaming on MUBI.com

Streaming available for U.S. and Canada viewers at MUBI.com. (Registration is required first to access the free trial link).

Family Romance, LLC (Werner Herzog, 2019)

Meta documentary-style drama from Werner Herzog following controversial “rental family” figure Yuichi Ishii as the lines between fantasy and reality begin to blur when he’s tasked with playing father to a lonely little girl.

The Case of Hana and Alice  (花とアリス殺人事件, Shunji Iwai, 2015)

Animated prequel to the much loved Shunji Iwai film Hana and Alice featuring the voices of original actresses Yu Aoi and Anne Suzuki as Alice transfers to a new school and ends up investigating the disappearance of the previous occupant of new friend Hana’s home.

Taiwan Week

AMC NEWCITY 14 (1500 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610)

Saturday, April 15, 2:30 PM: Day Off (本日公休, Fu Tien-Yu, 2023) 

A veteran hairdresser embarks on a road trip when the family of an old client who had moved far away and has since become bedridden ask her to come and cut his hair.

Saturday, April 15, 5:30 PM: Marry My Dead Body (關於我和鬼變成家人的那件事, Cheng Wei Hao, 2022)

A police officer discovers a red wedding envelope but soon realises the proposal comes from the other side and it is the ghost of a murdered man who wants to marry him!

Sunday, April 16, 2:30 PM: GAGA (哈勇家, Laha Mebow, 2022)

Lighthearted drama in which the lives of an indigenous family are thrown into turmoil when the grandfather passes away suddenly. Review.

Season Finale 

Sunday, April 16, 5:30 PM: Lost in Forest (山中森林, Johnny Chiang, 2022)

Director Johnny Chiang and lead actor Lee Kang Sheng are scheduled to attend to introduce the film and have a Q&A afterwards.   

Crime drama starring Lee Kang Sheng as a former gangster who served 12 years in prison after saving his friend who has since become the boss in their former territory. Though he had intended to leave the world of crime behind, he is soon pulled back in when his friend is murdered by a petty footsoldier.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema runs March 18 to April 16 at cinemas across Chicago with select films available to stream online throughout the US and Canada. Further details can be found on the official website where tickets are already on sale 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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