Movie : “Letter From an Unknown Woman” and “Eve & the Fire Horse”

CCC will co-present two moives at the 24th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival:
LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN (YI FENG MO SHENG NU REN DE LAI XIN)
xujinglei

A gorgeously photographed tale of unrequited love and passion, Xu Jinglei’s adaptation of Stefan Zweig’s memorable short story is a visual and romantic masterpiece. Famously filmed by Max Ophuls in 1948, Xu’s adaptation transports the tale from turn of the century Vienna to war-time China, placing it against the epic backdrop of China’s revolution. Unfolding over the course of twenty years, LETTER chronicles the life of a woman whose self-sacrificial love for a man ultimately consumes her.

Director and acclaimed actress Xu (SPICY LOVE SOUP, SFIAAFF ’99) offers a star
turn as the love-lost Jiang, whose story begins in childhood when a mysterious writer
(Jiang Wen) moves into the courtyard next door. Caught by his intellect and charisma,
she becomes entranced by his comings and goings and from thence never lets go.
Through the turmoil of the ensuing war, their paths continue to cross; the two are
brought together only to be torn apart, again and again, but his fast-fading memories
never match the power of her devotion.
Almost entirely shot in interiors—writing chambers, bedrooms and ballrooms
—LETTER is suffused in the moody browns of melancholy and fiery reds of passion,
lovingly captured by cinematographer Mark Lee Ping Bin (IN THE MOOD FOR
LOVE). Winner of the Best Director award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, it is a
lyrical meditation on memory, love and loss.
—Chi-hui Yang

Times/Location FRI 03.17 700PM PFA Berkeley
SUN 03.19 300PM Castro San Francisco

Description
China, 2004, 90mins, 35mm, Color, English w/E.S.
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Xu Jinglei PRODUCER: Dong Ping CINEMATOGRAPHER:
Mark Lee Ping Bin EDITOR: Zhang Yifan MUSIC: Osama Kubota, Lin Hai CAST:
Xu Jinglei, Lin Yuan, Jiang Wen, Sun Feihu

EVE & THE FIRE HORSE

Two Chinese Canadian sisters must navigate a 1970’s childhood of playground racists,
Catholic school and ill-fitting polyester in Julia Kwan’s impressive debut feature, an
audience-award winner at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and the only
Canadian feature chosen for this year’s Sundance festival.
Born in the year of the fire horse (notorious for producing troublesome children), nineyear-
old Eve now finds herself between two worlds, the relative, albeit raucous safety
of her family home, where her parents and grandmother listen to old Cantonese 45’s
and put Buddha figures on the mantle, and the uncertain outside realm of Vancouver,
where disco and Jesus rule. Her prim older sister Karena, however, has little fear of
assimilation; she embraces a worldview where Christianity and Buddhism, Chinese
and Canadian, go hand in hand. Whether that world actually exists, or whether Eve and
her sister must assemble it out of their own daydreams, independent of either racist
taunts or parental refusals, is the true question.
Asian American cinema, for all its development, offers few films for, or about,
children; EVE AND THE FIRE HORSE finally claims such territory, and in a way
that’s “funny, touching, and thoroughly enchanting” (Toronto Globe and Mail).
Appealingly adult in its embrace of larger issues, EVE luxuriates in the warmth of its
‘70’s-perfect production design, and in Kwan’s empathetic feel for her dreamy,
“troublesome” young heroines.
—Jason Sanders

Times/Location SAT 03.18 230 PM Kabuki San Francisco
MON 03.20 730PM Kabuki San Francisco

Description
Canada, 2005, 92mins, 35mm, Color, English & Cantonese w/E.S,
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Julia Kwan EXEC. PRODUCER: Tom Brown PRODUCERS:
Erik Paulsson, Shan Tam, Yves Ma CINEMATOGRAPHER: Nicolas Bolduc
EDITOR: Michael Brockington SOUND: Daniel Pellerin, Gashtaseb Ariana, Velcrow
Ripper MUSIC: Mychael Danna, Rob Simonsen CAST: Vivian Wu, Chan Chit Man
Lester, Phoebe Jojo Kut, Hollie Lo

For more information about San Francisco Asian American Film Festival,
please visit: http://www.asianamericanfilmfestival.org/