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

A lonely young woman finds a new place to belong while discovering the meaning of life after being taken in by a cheerful community of patients at a hospice for those with terminal illness in Cha Bong-ju’s lighthearted drama Good Morning (안녕하세요, Annyeonghaseyo). “Good morning” is to the patients an affirmation of life and way of greeting the new day as gift rather than a burden as the heroine had come to see it while unable to escape her sense of hopelessness and futility.

High schooler Su-mi’s (Kim Hwan-hee) desire to end her life is born largely of the circumstances she finds herself in as an orphan. Not only is she rejected by others her age who mock her for having no family, but she is trapped in an exploitative situation at a care facility where she is molested by the man who’s supposed to be taking care of her and also forced to work in his restaurant where she is expected to put up with inappropriate behaviour by drunken customers. Even if she were able to continue enduring it, she knows that she will soon come of age at which point she will be roughly ejected from the care system and expected to support herself with no further help available to her. It’s this sense of hopelessness that brings her to a nearby bridge from which she intends to jump only to be stopped by a middle-aged woman, Seo-jin (Yoo Sun), who manages to talk her down largely by promising that she will show her how to die.

That is in a sense what she does. Seo-jin works in a hospice caring for those with terminal illnesses who have each come to an acceptance of death and their path towards it. The patients are determined to live out their remaining days as best they can, remaining cheerful and committing themselves to accomplishing something be it learning English, writing a book, or finishing a painting. Su-mi bonds most closely with an elderly man (Lee Soon-jae) who had been illiterate and is working hard to learn to read and write while he still has time. What she discovers is that it is possible to find meaning in life even in the shadow of death, and that what gives her own life meaning is the sense of community she experiences at the hospice allowing her to feel part of a large family which had been denied to her during her time in the care system. 

“You just need to give them a little attention” Su-mi advises of some struggling plants at Seo-jin’s apartment, herself blossoming under the attention Seo-jin and the patients are paying to her, though there may be something a little uncomfortable in the suggestion that Seo-jin may have been partly at fault for a traumatic event in her past in assuming that things grow on their own as long you provide adequate nutrition. She blames herself for not paying enough attention and failing to realise that there was something wrong until it was too late only latterly understanding that like the plants people need more than simple sustenance to grow. Nevertheless, she and Su-mi gradually help each other to rediscover joy and happiness in life while forming a familial bond that restores something to each of them and grants them the ability to move forward into a happier future. 

Su-mi does learn “how to die” from the patients at the hospice, but what she’s really learning is how to live. The elderly man reminds her to live well and die without regret, making the most of every day doing what she wants to do and being happy while Su-mi gains a new perspective on life and death as she begins to step into herself gaining new confidence as a member of a community. Gentle and heartfelt, Cha’s lighthearted drama necessarily tackles some dark themes from suicide and terminal illness to the stigmatisation of orphanhood, difficulties experienced by those placed into the care system, and the inertia that can take hold while dealing with grief and loss but manages to lean towards the sunlight in embracing the healing qualities of relationships between people which give life its meaning.

Good morning streams in the US until March 31st as part of Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season 16.

International trailer (English subtitles)

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

“We all have different ways of looking at the world” according to a customer to Jung Eun-hye’s caricature stand at a local market explaining that she’s told all her friends to come and check her out because she wants them to see the world from Eun-hye’s perspective. A short time later, however, the same woman seems to attempt taking advantage of her in pleading for a little more change back than she’s actually owed because she’s handed over her bus fare home. The exchange in some sense characterises Eun-hye’s existence in her persistent battle to show others the world the way she sees it, responding to her customers’ pleas to make them look pretty that they are pretty already, while often experiencing discrimination on the grounds of her disability,

Directed by Eun-hye’s stepfather documentary filmmaker Seo Dong-il, Please Make Me Look Pretty (니얼굴, Nieolgul), follows Eun-hye over a period of three years as she develops a career as an illustrator that eventually leads to a solo exhibition and a residency at a centre promoting the work of disabled artists. Eun-hye was born with down syndrome and at 27 had been unable to secure a job, left at home all day with nothing to do but knit. Helping out at her mother’s art school she developed a desire to draw herself and adopted an unconventional style that is all her own. Her mother says that if she attempted to teach her conventional art theory, Eun-hye simply nodded and then went back to drawing instinctively. Originally with her mother’s help, she began drawing carictures at a local crafts markets and soon gained a steady stream of customers. 

Though in the beginning some may have complained and even asked for their money back, people came to love Eun-hye’s unique vision in which as she says she draws what she sees. She is clear that they are “caricatures” and not “portraits”, though looking at her compositional style they bare a strong resemblance to traditional portrait paintings from the feudal era with a comparatively large empty space at the top and the subject looking directly ahead. Her mother occasionally offers advice, telling her she should have started higher up on the paper, or that she’s made one of the people too big in comparison to the other but Eun-hye draws things the way she sees them and quickly becomes irritated with her mother hovering over her until she concedes to let Eun-hye draw in peace.

It is however quite tiring, especially in the heat of summer or in the freezing cold, and it occasionally seems like it might be too much for her but Eun-hye resolves to soldier on and eventually runs the stall all on her own even if struggling a little when it comes to figuring out the right change and dealing with confusing customers. In her spare time she writes song lyrics in a notebook that poignantly describe her loneliness and feelings of isolation as a disabled person often locked out of mainstream society, but clearly enjoys interacting with the other vendors at the market and participating in its community atmosphere. After saving money from her work, she is able to host a solo exhibition and is also invited to illustrate a book on business etiquette aimed at the disabled community as well as taking up a residency at a centre dedicated to promoting the work of disabled artists. 

What’s most evident is how happy drawing seems to make Eun-hye, giving her both an outlet and means of expressing herself while expressing her love for others in drawing caricatures which truly make their subjects feel seen as if Eun-hye has captured how pretty they are on the inside as well as out. Since the documentary was completed, she’s also gone on to become an actress playing an artist with down syndrome in the popular TV drama Our Blues and continuing to raise awareness of the lives of disabled people in a society which can often be hostile and unaccommodating. In any case, she continues to draw the world as she sees it, a place where everyone is pretty and deserving of love even if they don’t always see her the same way.

Please Make Me Look Pretty streams in the US until March 31st as part of Asian Pop-Up Cinema Season 16.

Original trailer (English subtitles)

Ajoomma (아줌마, He Shuming, 2022)

A middle-aged Singaporean woman begins to rediscover her sense of self after making an unexpected solo trip to Korea in He Shuming’s heartwarming dramedy, Ajoomma (아줌마). “Ajoomma” is the generic term for an older woman in Korean, and even in her native Singapore, the heroine Bee Hwa (Hong Hui Fang) is known largely as “Auntie” no longer possessing much of a name or identity and obsessed with Korean TV dramas in thrall to their larger than life emotions just hoping to feel something again in the midst of her loneliness. 

Bee Hwa has a grown-up son, Sam (Shane Pow), but he remains somewhat distant towards her. “He never shares anything with me” she later complains to a mother and daughter duo on the Korean tour together after a few drinks. Sam was supposed to come on the trip with her, but he got an interview for a big job in America and tried to get her to cancel. Bee Hwa would rather Sam didn’t go abroad, but her sense of loneliness is only deepened with the dawning realisation that Sam may be gay and has chosen not to share that part of himself with her. When she realises the tour is not refundable as Sam said it would be, she makes a bold decision to go on her own despite never having travelled alone before. Her confusion at the airport is palpable as she’s suddenly confronted with unexpected bureaucracy, trying to fill in landing cards and find her way to the tour group which turns out to be led by a handsome man with the look of a K-drama star but a defeated and cynical air unsuited to his role as a tour guide. 

Just as Bee Hwa longs for a closer relationship with her son, Kwon-woo (Kang Hyung-seok) is desperately trying to win back his wife and daughter who have moved in with his disapproving mother-in-law following his difficulties with employment and subsequent debts to loansharks. Kwon-woo wants to show them that he can be a responsible husband and father by holding on to his tour guide job and making enough to pay off the debts so they can get an apartment of their own, but is also his own worst enemy and prone to making mistakes not least the one leaving Bee Hwa behind after failing to make sure everyone was back on the bus before it left. 

It’s only thanks to sympathetic security guard Jung Su (Jung Dong-hwan), himself a lonely widower whose sons live far away, that Bee Hwa doesn’t freeze to death in the middle of Seoul. Just like Bee Hwa, he’s lonely even with his beloved pet dog Dookie and mainly bides his time carving figures of animals out of wood. He helps her because he doesn’t know what else to do and despite the language barrier, Bee Hwa only understands the kind of words that come up a lot in Korean drama and he doesn’t know Mandarin or much English, the pair quickly find a sense of mutual solidarity bonding in their shared sense of loss mixed with mild disappointment in life’s ordinariness. Kwon-woo asks Bee Hwa if she regrets the choices that she made that left her little room for herself, and she says she doesn’t but does perhaps hanker for something more in her life than just being a faceless ajoomma who likes Korean dramas but has lost sight of herself. 

The trip to Korea reminds her that she can do things on her own and doesn’t necessarily need Sam there to help her, finally buying something nice just for herself rather than getting it someone else. As she dances in the snow she realises that she can still have new experiences and feel childlike joy, even if she is “an auntie” she has plenty of time in front of her to do whatever she wants with no longer subject to social expectations, patriarchal husbands, or judgemental sons. Billed as the first co-production between Singapore and South Korea, He’s heartwarming drama celebrates not only the simple power of human kindness but the resilience of women like Bee Hwa seizing the freedom of age and resolving to live the rest of her life on her own terms.

Ajoomma screens in Chicago March 25 as part of the 16th season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema.

Original trailer (English subtitles)

A Man (ある男, Kei Ishikawa, 2022)


“Why was living so hard for him?” a brother remarks of man he assumed to have died in an accident after severing ties with his family, though with little sympathy in his voice and in truth should the brother be dead it would be all the better for him. Adapted from  a novel by Keiichiro Hirano, Kei Ishikawa’s A Man (ある男, Aru Otoko) asks questions not so much about the limits of identity and the existence of an authentic self, but the kinds of labels we place on others and the prejudice that often accompanies them that makes some want to run from themselves. 

Accidental detective Kido (Satoshi Tsumabuki), a lawyer who previously represented the recently widowed Rie (Sakura Ando) in her divorce from her first husband, is a case in point. He tries not to react while his wealthy and extremely conservative father-in-law runs down a case he’s just won representing the parents of a man who took his own life after being expected to work extreme overtime by an exploitative company solely to fulfil the image of the salaryman. The father-in-law sneers and complaints about the family receiving compensation before moving on to a rant about the welfare state scoffing that “real” Japanese don’t rely on such things which are only for “Koreans and people of that ilk”. 

Aside from its unpleasant xenophobia, the remark is insensitive as Kido is himself third generation Zainichi Korean, though a naturalised citizen of Japan. Throughout the film, he’s bombarded with social prejudice and racist abuse to which he chooses to say nothing, because there’s nothing he can really say, though leaving us to wonder if his decision to marry his wife (Yoko Maki), the daughter of a wealthy and conservative family, is an attempt to secure his own identity as a member of Japanese society even while bristling at her further demands, that they should invest in a more impressive, larger detached house as recommended by her father and also have another child. 

Kido’s quest to uncover the “true” identity of Rie’s husband Daisuke (Masataka Kubota) who is discovered to have been living an assumed identity when the brother of the man whose name he borrowed arrives at his memorial service, is also a quest to affirm his own identity which is in many ways as self-constructed as Daisuke’s is assumed to be. The interesting thing is that Daisuke, who said little of his past, used the other man’s backstory leaving no doubt that is not quite a case of mistaken identity that brings Kyoichi (Hidekazu Mashima) to Daisuke’s memorial service, though he is quick enough to disparage the life the deceased man shared with Rie in a rural “backwater” while making vague references to insurance policies and inheritances and simultaneously offering to pay for the funeral expenses as if reclaiming ownership over Daisuke’s legacy. 

Like Kido’s father-in-law, Kyoichi appears to be a cynical and self-interested man and it’s not difficult to see why the other Daisuke may have wished to escape his life with him. As an older man points out, everyone has things in their past and though they might not seem like much to others it’s natural enough to want run from yourself, to leave everything behind and start again somewhere else. In Japan, this is much easier to do than in some other countries and it’s true enough that changing one’s name is not that uncommon either. Rie’s young son Yuto, now old enough to question his own identity, took his mother’s maiden name after the divorce, then Daisuke’s surname Taniguchi when he married his mother. Now he wonders what his name should be if it is not Taniguchi and who he really is underneath it. 

In essence, we give people names as a kind of label to describe our relationship to them as a means of mapping out the world. These labels also come with prejudices such as that directed towards Kido as a Zainichi Korean and to another of the “disappeared” men who struggled to emerge from the shadow of his father’s crime as a death row felon. The projection of an identity can be harder to live with than the identity itself. When Kido’s wife tells him that he doesn’t seem himself and she wants him to go back to the way he was before, it’s a rejection of the new identity that has begun to surface through his quest to identify Daisuke and an instruction that he conform to the image of him she has constructed for herself as a typical Japanese salaryman not so different from her father in their affluent, middle-class existence.

Having satisfied himself that he understands the man Daisuke came to be, Kido’s self-image and sense of identity seem to be reaffirmed. He is happier with his wife and son, and has fewer doubts about his place in the world, but then he’s suddenly confronted with an unexpected revelation that undermines his new sense of security in causing him to doubt the veracity of the image he has of others, and consequently of their relationship with him which again leaves him unanchored unable to affirm his image of himself without its reflection. Rie’s final acceptance that in the end she never needed the “truth” (now that she has it) points to the same answer, that in the end Daisuke’s name was irrelevant because he was the man he was to her at the time that she knew him and this is all we can ever really know of each other in a continual act of faith in interpersonal connection. A man can be many people at once, or in quick succession, and none of them any less “real” than another. “It’s nobody’s life but your own,” Kido is reminded even as he struggles to reorient himself in a merging of identities self-constructed or otherwise but perhaps destined to remain forever a stranger to himself.

A Man screens in Chicago March 18 as part of the 16th season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema.

International trailer (English subtitles)

Where the Wind Blows (風再起時, Philip Yung, 2022)

Philip Yung’s first film since the acclaimed Port of Call was scheduled for release all the way back in 2018 only to be repeatedly held up by troubles with the censors later compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. For many reasons, it isn’t surprising that Where the Wind Blows (風再起時) would run into trouble with the current censorship regime dealing as it does with the touchy subject of police corruption albeit it in the colonial era, but the most surprising thing may be that it was passed at all given the subversive undertones of a late speech delivered by the voice of reason, ICAC chief George Lee (Michael Hui Koon-man), whose attack on the corrupt practices of the British authorities has obvious parallels with the modern day. 

The film is however set firmly in the past ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s and inspired by the “Four Great Sergeants” of post-war Hong Kong who amassed great personal wealth while working as police officers. Once again, the police is just the biggest gang, or perhaps the second biggest given that the great racket in town is the colonial rule. It is indeed the British authorities who have enabled this society founded largely on systemised corruption, something which as Lee points out they are unwilling to deal with because it suits them just fine and they have no real interest in the good of Hong Kong. 

In any case, flashy cop Lok (Aaron Kwok Fu-shing) started out as an earnest bobby before the war who was shocked by the institutionalised corruption all around him and refused to participate in it. But his law abiding nature only made him a threat to other officers who needed him to be complicit in their crimes to keep them safe. After several beatings, he ended up accepting the culture of bribery just to fit in. In the present day, he and likeminded detective Nam (Tony Leung Chiu-wai) justify their dubious methods under the rationale that they’re helping to “manage” triad society by effectively licensing the gangs in taking protection money to leave the chosen few alone while enriching themselves in the process. 

Then again, the balance of triad society is disrupted by the arrival of a bigger Mainland outfit which later ends up backing Lok, with the assistance of his Shanghainese wife (Du Juan), to place him in a position which is the most beneficial to themselves. To quell riots by supporters of the KMT in 1956, Nam lies to the protestors that he secretly supports their cause and that if they do not disperse there is a chance the British Army will forcibly disperse them which he also describes as an inappropriate outcome because this is a matter that should be settled among the Chinese people not by foreigners. In the final confrontation with ICAC chief Lee, the British authorities rule out military or police action, though the rioters in that case are in fact policeman angry about increasing anti-corruption legislation. Ironically enough, Lee’s speech advocates for something similar to that which Nam had suggested, essentially saying that the Hong Kong people should decide their own future and that society in general should be more mindful as to the kind of Hong Kong their children and grandchildren will eventually inherit. 

In any case, the four sergeants are soon eclipsed by changing times while Lok and Nam are mired in romantic heartbreak in having fallen for the same woman who brands Nam an over thinker and implies she may have married Lok less out of love than in the knowledge he’d be easy to manipulate. For his part, Lok is damaged by wartime trauma which has left him cynical and nihilistic while filled with regret and longing for a woman he lost during the war in part because he did not have the money to pay for medical treatment which might have saved her. In this sense, it’s money that is the true corrupting force in a capitalist society in which, as Lee suggests, it might eventually become necessary that you’d have to bribe a fireman to save your house or an ambulance driver to get your ailing mother to a hospital. Then again, as Nam says power lies in knowing there are those weaker than yourself. Yung’s sprawling epic apparently rant to over five hours in its original cut before being reduced to three hours forty-five and then finally to the present 144 minutes leaving it a little hard to follow but nevertheless filled with a woozy sense of place and an aching longing for another Hong Kong along with a melancholy romanticism as a lonely Nam dances alone to a ringing telephone bearing unwelcome news. 

Where the Wind Blows screens in Chicago on March 14 as part of the 16th season of Asian Pop-Up Cinema.

Original trailer (Traditional Chinese / English subtitles)

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Returns for Season 16!

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)


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)


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 

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 

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

Streaming available for U.S. and Canada viewers at (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.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema Announces Season 16 Japanese Showcase

Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema will be returning for its 16th season March 18 to April 16 and has just announced the programme for its opening weekend which will be dedicated to Japanese Cinema. Running March 18 & 19 the Japanese Showcase will open with awards favourite A Man, while French-Japanese co-production Umami will follow March 22.

Saturday, March 18, 2:30 PM: A Man

Guest Host and introduction by Mark Schilling (Japan Times/Variety). A pre-recorded Q&A with Director Kei Ishikawa will be featured after the screening


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 

Director Mayu Nakamura and lead actress Nahana, who is also the recipient of the Career Achievement Award, will be in attendance for an introduction plus a post-screening Q&A 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 

Producer Evelyn Nakano Glenn and Director Antonia Grace Glenn are scheduled to attend in person for an introduction plus a post-screening Q&A moderated by Mark Schilling

Antonia Grace Glenn’s documentary focusses 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

Introduction by Mark Schilling followed by Q&A moderated by Chicago-based writer Michael Foster after the feature presentation.

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

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.

The full lineup for season 16 will be announced Feb. 27. The Japanese Showcase runs at Evanston’s AMC 12 (1715 Maple Ave, Evanston, IL 60201) March 18 & 19 with Umami on following on March 22. Tickets are on sale now priced at $10, Seniors (62+) $8, and free for Students with valid ID & educational email address. 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.