Asian Pop-Up Cinema Returns for Season Seven

DearEx

Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema returns for its seventh season from 12th September to 14th November with eight film screenings to take place at AMC River East 21 plus an additional nine films screening for free at various venues around the city.

Sept. 12, 7pm: Adulthood

Introduction and Q&A with Director Kim In-seon and Actress Lee Jae-in.

Adulthood

14-year-old Kyung-un meets her uncle Jae-min for the first time at her father’s funeral. Jae-min is, as it turns out, a conman and even cons his bereaved niece out of her inheritance. To get her money back, Kyung-un agrees to pose as Jae-min’s daughter so he can woo his next mark lonely pharmacist Jum-hee, but not everything goes to plan…

Sept. 19, 7pm: Smaller and Smaller Circles

Introduction and Q&A with Director Raya Martin

SmallerAndSmallerCirclesRaya Martin adapts the novel by F.H. Batacan in which two priests investigate a series of killings targeting young boys in the slums of Manila.

Sept. 25, 6.30pm: Namiya

Free screening at Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center

Namiya banner

Three orphans hole up in a disused shop which used to belong to an agony uncle (played by Jacki Chan!) in Han Jie’s adaptation of the Keigo Higashino novel. Review.

Sept. 26, 7pm: Sad Beauty

Introduction and Q&A with Director Bongkod Bencharongkul

Sad Beauty

Actress Bongkod Bencharongkul steps behind the camera for her second directorial outing in which the friendship of two women is tested by the need to dispose of a body.

Sept.28: Singing with Angry Bird

Free screening at Illinois Institute of Technology. Time TBC.

SingingWithAngryBird

Korean Kim Jae-chang runs a children’s choir in Pune, India and has earned the nickname “Angry Bird” thanks to his fiery temper. Though the choir has had a positive effect on the children’s lives, some of the parents have yet to see the value and so Angry Bird has decided to train the parents alongside the children for a joint concert.

Oct. 2, 7pm: Concerto of the Bully

Introduction and Q&A with Director Fung Chih-chiang and Art Director Chet Chan 

ConcertoOfTheBully

Chow, a singersongwriter popular on the internet, has been captured and is being held against her will on a raft while waiting for her pop-star boyfriend to pay the ransom. Gifted with extremely good aural memory, she decides to offer “musical therapy” to the kidnapper in order to facilitate her escape…

Oct. 3, 7pm: When the Sun Meets the Moon

WhenSunMeetsMoon

Astrology fans Sun and Moon meet during a power cut following a freak rainstorm in 1992. They fall in love but Sun is sent away to boarding school and eventually leaves the country. Their love, however, endures…

Oct. 6: Any Way the Wind Blows

Free screening. Time/location TBC

AnyWayTheWindBlows

A civil servant accidentally invites the Tokyo Wind Orchestra to Yakushima by mistake having intended to invite a more prestigious organisation. Realising they weren’t wanted, the musicians attempt to leave the island but find themselves trapped by the civil servant who is desperate to cover up her error…

Oct. 24, 7pm: Walking Past the Future

Introduction and Q&A with director Lee Rui-jin and producer Zhang Min

Walking past the future still 1

Yang Yao-ting’s parents have been forced to return to their home village in Gansu after losing their jobs in Shenzhen but after 25 years pretty much everything has changed. Hoping to get her family a home in the city, Yang Yao-ting finds herself returning to Gansu as a volunteer in a series of high risk medical tests…

Oct. 26, 2pm: Ritoma

Free screening at Flashpoint Chicago

Ritoma

Ruby Yang’s documentary focuses on the unlikely popularity of basketball among nomadic tribes in Tibet.

Oct. 27, 2pm: Made in Vietnam

Free Screening at Chinese-American Museum of Chicago

MadeInVietnam

Thi Vo left Vietnam for Hong Kong as a child after the war, later emigrating to Canada when he was four years old. Thirty years later he attempts to find his father and discover the secrets of his past.

Nov. 8, 7pm: Dear Ex

Introduction and Q&A with Director Hsu Chih-yen.

Dear Ex still 1Chengxi’s dad has just died. He’d left the family sometime before and despite the best efforts of Chengxi’s mum, Chengxi knew perfectly well that it was to be with another man. The problem now is Chengxi’s dad has left everything to his new partner Jay and Chengxi’s mum is not at all happy about it…  Review.

Nov. 3: Asian Three-Fold Mirror 2016: Reflections

Free Screening at Illinois Institute of Technology. Time TBC.

A co-production between the Tokyo International Film Festival and Japan Foundation Asia Center, Asian Three Fold Mirror: Reflections features three short films – one from Japan, one from the Philippines and another from Cambodia.

Shiniuma – Filipino director Brillante Ma Mendoza tells the story of Marcial who is forced to return to the Philippines after years living in Japan.

SHINIUMA-AsianThreeFold

Pigeon – Isao Yukisada follows a Japanese man living in Penang who raises pigeons on his roof.

PIGEON-AsianThreeFold

Beyond the Bridge – a Japanese man building a bridge in Phnom Penh falls in love with a local girl and vows to marry her, but…

Beyond The Bridge

Nov. 11, 1pm: Happy Hour

Free Screening at The Screening Room at the Ambassador Hotel

HappyHour

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s five hour exploration of the everyday lives of a group of middle-aged women living in Kobe.

Nov. 14, 7pm: One Cut of the Dead

Introduction and Q&A with Actor Takayuki Hamatsu

One Cut of the Dead still 1

A horror shoot is invaded by real zombies in Shinichiro Ueda’s anarchic comedy! Review.

Full details for all the films are available via Asian Pop-Up Cinema’s official website. You can also keep up with all the latest news by following Asian Pop-up Cinema on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Tomorrow is Another Day (黃金花, Chan Tai-lee, 2017)

tomorrow is another day posterMiddle-aged malaise is fast becoming a dominant theme in Chinese language cinema, but the pressures faced by the heroine of the debut feature from Ip Man screenwriter Chan Tai-lee are compounded by a series of additional responsibilities and the relative lack of support available to help her cope with them. Tomorrow is Another Day (黃金花) is, in many ways, a family drama with a sympathetic depiction of the demands of caring for a child with special needs at its centre, but it’s also the story of a marriage and of the essential bonds between a mother and a son as the family struggles to survive in a sometimes hostile environment.

Mrs. Wong (Teresa Mo), interviewed at a community centre, relates the routines of her daily life to a camera crew. Describing herself as a “regular housewife”, Mrs. Wong’s existence revolves around caring for her husband (Ray Lui) – a driving instructor, and her 20-year-old autistic son, Kwong (Ling Man-lung). She tells the film crew she is happy with her life and on one level she is, but she also fears her philandering husband is up to his old tricks again. Mr. Wong is indeed having an affair with one of his pupils, a much younger nurse called Daisy (Bonnie Xian Seli) who seems to have well and truly got her hooks into him. Knowing of her husband’s string of extra-marital affairs which has spanned the entirety of the marriage, Mrs. Wong has made a decision to turn a blind eye for the sake of her son but this latest dalliance has proved difficult for her to bear. After Daisy randomly invites herself into the family home when Mrs. Wong is shopping, the couple argue and Mr. Wong walks out leaving Mrs. Wong to care for Kwong all alone.

Kwong, usually cheerful and well behaved, experiences occasional meltdowns when told he can’t have something that he wants, often resorting to frustrated acts of self harm including bashing his head against nearby solid objects. Though Kwong is not violent towards others, he is now a grown man and much stronger than his mother who finds it difficult to help him calm down on her own. Mr. Wong’s forearms are a mess of scars and bruises received whilst trying to restrain his son from hurting himself, and the physical strain of caring him has often weighed heavy on his conflicted father’s mind.

Though Mrs. Wong and Kwong experience frequent discrimination from those who are unaware of his needs – other mothers pull their children out of the playground when Kwong comes to play, and Mrs. Wong finds it difficult to get a part-time job when her prospective employers spot Kwong standing beside her, the other neighbourhood housewives have become used to Kwong’s way of being and are keen to help out where they can. Like Mrs. Wong, many of the other women have their own problems whether worrying about the (lack of) academic progress of their sons, or trying to combat the potential loneliness of early widowhood through friendship and community. Hearing of Mrs. Wong’s marital problems via the neighbourhood grapevine (another source of humiliation for Mrs. Wong), everyone has taken her side against the villainous Daisy but they’re also worried Mrs. Wong may consider harming herself while faced with so many conflicting pressures.

Mrs. Wong however, has half her mind on revenge and has taken to watching crime documentaries which give her the idea that she could get herself a convenient alibi by going to the Mainland by official means and then smuggling herself back in to off Daisy in the hope that her husband might finally remember his responsibilities. Daisy, it has to be said, is a one note villain and it’s difficult to see why she is so intent on pursuing a dead end romance with a middle-aged, married, driving instructor without coming to the conclusion that she must love causing trouble, especially as Mr. Wong seems to find her quite irritating even once he’s taken the “decision” to leave his family for her. Mr. Wong himself is also a bundle of contradictions but emerges as a weak willed man who has never been able to fully commit to his marriage and struggles with the responsibility involved in being the father of a child with special needs. Though he eventually seems to reconcile himself to his role as his son’s father and his wife’s husband, there is something conceited in his belief that his family will simply take him back when he has caused them so much pain and suffering by his hastily taken decision to abandon them.

Kwong is more perceptive than his mother gives him credit for, and Mrs. Wong too is eventually forced to consider the effect her darkening mindset has had on his emotional wellbeing. Tomorrow is Another Day offers no easy answers in its sympathetic portrayal of a middle-aged woman driven to extremes by a series of conflicting pressures but eventually finds finds comfort in living in the now as the family begins to find its way home, cutting through the noise of a high pressure city to rediscover what it is that’s really important.


Tomorrow is Another Day receives its US premiere as the closing night film of the sixth season of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema programme on 16th May, 2018. The screening begins at 7pm, AMC River East 21 and tickets are already on sale via the official website.

Asian Pop-Up Cinema will return for the seventh season in the autumn – make sure you’re up to date with all the latest information by following the festival on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vimeo.

Original trailer (Cantonese with English/Traditional Chinese subtitles)