Multifaceted Japanese and JA Representation Appears Across Decades at CAAMFest37

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SAN FRANCISCO — Japanese representation is a mainstay at CAAMFest, presented by the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM) from May 9 to 19 in San Francisco and Oakland, and this year’s edition promises a multifaceted array of films and events representing key moments in Japanese and Japanese American history.

Spanning across decades, these stories begin at the dawn of film with the 100-year retrospective of “The Dragon Painter.” Internment during World War II is captured on celluloid in Jon Osaki’s “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066,” and tribute to the late San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi will be presented by Chihiro Wimbush and Corey Tong at “A Tribute to Jeff Adachi (1959-2019).”

“The Dragon Painter” is a dreamy and surreal romance that broke new ground in Hollywood. Starring legendary Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa, the film continues to woo audiences with its stunning visuals and masterful storytelling. This screening is presented with a live score by singer-songwriter Goh Nakamura. (Saturday, May 11, at 2:30 p.m. at New People Cinema, 1746 Post St. in San Francisco Japantown)

“Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” highlights the racism and political maneuvering that led to the World War II incarceration of Japanese Americans, and it traces the tenacity of the decades-long redress movement. The film is directed by Jon Osaki, who serves as executive director at the Japanese Community Youth Council. (Saturday, May 18, at 4:40 p.m. at Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St., San Francisco)

Jeff Adachi, who led the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and also a filmmaker and community activist, will be honored at “A Tribute to Jeff Adachi (1959-2019).” The program will include clips from his films and a preview of the last film he was working on at the time of his untimely passing. The tribute will also include appreciations by CAAM, friends and colleagues, and members of the Asian American and independent film communities. (Sunday, May 12, at 2:40 p.m at AMC Kabuki 8 Theatres, 1881 Post St. in San Francisco Japantown)

Other films with Japanese or Japanese American representation include the following.

“Demolition Girl,” directed by Genta Matsugami, is a Japanese film about a high school girl who supports her unemployed family in an unusual way — as a performer in fetish videos crushing objects with her feet. (Friday, May 10, at 10 p.m. at New People Cinema; Saturday, May 18, at 9:20 p.m at Roxie Theater)

In “Minidoka” (precedes “Alternative Facts”), a young Seattle activist traces back his family history of incarceration during World War II and applies lessons learn to the politics of today.

“Okasan (Mom)” (“It Runs in the Family” shorts program) takes place in rural Japan, where a mother and daughter attempt to reconnect after dealing with the loss of a loved one. (Friday, May 10, at 5 p.m. at AMC Kabuki 8)

“Speak Easy, B” (“Out/Here” shorts program) delves into the mind of B, who is coming to terms with depression. (Monday, May 13, at 6:30 p.m. at AMC Kabuki 8)

Tina Takemoto is the director of two experimental shorts at CAAMFest37:

In “Sworded Love” (“Follow Me” shorts program), fleeting cinematic impressions of star-crossed swordsmen are captured in the oblique wanderings of emulsion lifted from a stray reel of a 35mm kung fu action film. (Sunday, May 12, at 9 p.m. at AMC Kabuki 8)

“Wayward Emulsions” (“Out/Here” shorts program) shows queer glimpses of a wayward woman captured in bits of emulsion lifted from stray reels of a 35mm Asian drama.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.caamedia.org.

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