The Tiffany's of DVD, Criterion releases three early sixties Japanese Films -- When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960), Yojimbo (1961) and Sanjuro (1962).
Mao's Yan'an talks on art echo in the villages of China, as documentarian Wu Wenguang leads a team of videographers on a mission to teach ordinary people to make films about their own communities.
Guru is: the cinematic pre-wedding for Indian royalty, the first Bollywood film to premiere in North America, the latest by acclaimed director Mani Ratnam. But APA argues it's all that, but also a reflection of a new mass political consciousness.
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Harold and Kumar at it again, MTV World on unstable ground, and Yellow Handkerchief as a Hollywood remake. All this and more in the latest edition of News Bites.
Harold and Kumar Return
So Kal Penn is showing his dramatic acting chops in Mira Nair's The Namesake, and John Cho is off making Michael Kang's next anticipated feature. And now that audiences will see that these are two serious talented thespians who shouldn't be typecast into juvenile roles, Penn and Cho are revisiting Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle's raunchy humor, the pot, the girls, and best of all… Neil Patrick Harris. The sequel, Harold & Kumar 2, continues after the first one ended: the pals have gotten the burgers, but Harold's girl Maria is off to Amsterdam, so Kumar encourages him to follow her for love. On the way, Kumar is mistaken for a terrorist, which sends them off on another insane adventure. According to Hollywood Reporter, this escapade will involve the likes of actors David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Neil Patrick Harris, Rob Corddry (The Daily Show), Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU), Ed Helms (The Office), Eddie Kaye Thomas, Paula Garces, Jack Conley, Roger Bart (Desperate Housewives), Danneel Harris (One Tree Hill), and Eric Winter. Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, cowriters of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle will direct.
Yellow Handkerchief gets a Hollywood Makeover
Yoji Yamada, the renowned Japanese director who helmed Twilight Samurai and the popular Tora-san series (the world's longest theatrical film series), announced that his 1977 film Shiawase no Kiiroi Hankachi (The Yellow Handkerchief) will be remade by Hollywood. The story was adapted from a column written by novelist Pete Hamill, and the '77 Japan Academy Prize-winning film starred Ken Takakura as a middle-aged man just released from prison who meets a young couple on the way home to his wife and his former life. The shoot will begin next month in Louisiana, starring Academy-Award winner William Hurt, Maria Bello (Thank You for Smoking), and Kristen Stewart (Panic Room). It will be directed by Udayan Prasad (Gabriel & Me, Brothers in Trouble).
MTV World Struggling to Survive?
On February 14th, Gawker reported that MTV World – including MTV Chi, MTV K and MTV Desi – had folded. Although it had been initially confirmed by an inside source, posted by Angry Asian Man on his blog, the channel asked for the email to be taken down, as they were still sorting things out. These three Asian American stations in particular are relatively new. MTV Desi (Indian Americans) launched July of 2005; MTV Chi (Chinese Americans) launched in December of 2005; and MTV K (Korean Americans) just launched in June of 2006. This news is worrisome for the Asian American community who had hope that these stations would provide a much needed platform for Asian American artists to showcase their material. The APA community has also recently been confused about the news about the potential demise of AZN TV. Tax write-off or still going? Let's just hope that ImaginAsian is still doing well…
SFIAAFF is 25!
March 15-25 of this year will be the dates of the 25th anniversary of SFIAAFF: San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, and the schedule was just recently announced. Highlights include Justin Lin's much anticipated Finishing the Game (opening night) as well as Sundance award-winner Dark Matter, by Chen Shi-zheng (closing night). Also noteworthy is Arthur Dong's documentary Hollywood Chinese, which could possibly be the definitive documentary about Chinese in Hollywood.
Other films to look forward to: Summer Palace, Syndromes of a Century, Exiled, Blackout, It's Only Talk, King and the Clown, Do Over, Undoing, American Zombie, Tre, and a seven film Hong Sang-soo retrospective.
Indian Cowboy Hits the Screens
Filmmaker Nikhil Kamkolkar, who is known for his previous successful releases American Desi and American Chai, is set to release his latest film Indian Cowboy, starring Deep Katdare and Sheetal Sheth. The film is a romantic comedy about a young writer who falls for a girl who believes that all stories of true love end in tragedy. Sheetal Sheth was previously in the Albert Brooks' film Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, and Deep Katdare's credits include American Desi and Bombay Dreams. The film will be released in North America on February 23rd.
In Book News: Stealing Buddha's Dinner
Author Bich Minh Nguyen has written a memoir that chronicles a Vietnamese immigrant's struggle to integrate herself in America. Stealing Buddha's Dinner is based on Nguyen's own experiences, as her family was among the last wave of refugees to flee Saigon in 1975. She ended up in Michigan amongst "a sea of blonde," as she calls it, in a conservative city with mostly Dutch, German, and Irish inhabitants. Food becomes part of her yearning of Americanness and of acceptance. Bich Minh Nguyen , currently an assistant professor of English at Purdue, presents her own take on the Asian immigrant story in her debut novel which received the PEN/Jerard Award from the PEN American Center.
Norah Jones CD Debuts at #1
Norah Jones wants us to know that she is not the sad, melancholy, romantic girl that everyone assumes she is while listening to the songs on her first two albums. In her third release, Not Too Late, Jones strived to branch out musically. In terms of sales, the CD debuted its first week at #1 selling over 405,000 copies, beating out American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee's album. Next up for Norah Jones, a leading role on Wong Kar Wai's latest film My Blueberry Nights, also starring Jude Law and Natalie Portman.
Date Posted: 2/16/2007