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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, April 14, 2002

Film festival goes beyond Asia for diverse showings

By Wayne Harada
Advertiser Entertainment Editor

Peter Bogdanovich's "The Cat's Meow" and a Korean movie called "Take Care of My Cat" from director Jeong Jae-eun will kick off the Hawai'i International Film Festival's Spring Film Festival April 19 at the Dole Cannery Signature Theatres.

With 21 films scheduled during a week, it's possible for diehard movie buffs to see every title, said Chuck Boller, HIFF executive director.

The spring festival features diverse fare from independent and international directors.

"We've tried to get something for everybody," Boller said. "Where we may focus on Asian films in the fall festival, we try to fill in the gaps with other countries in the spring."

For instance, a film from Trinidad, "The Mystic Masseur," directed by Ismail Merchant, known for his stately, carefully costumed films "Remains of the Day" and "Howard's End."

Boller said that by giving the Bogdanovich film a slot as the opening night's main film, HIFF was able to score "The Cat's Meow," which looks at a fateful excursion aboard William Randolph Hearst's private yacht in November 1924, which assembled a glitterati passenger list that resulted in one of the last century's most bizarre and unsolved Hollywood Babylon tales. Kirsten Dunst stars as Marion Davis, with Edward Hermann as Hearst and Eddie Izzard as Charlie Chaplin.

The other opening-night work, "Take Care of My Cat," is an acclaimed coming-of-age drama about three young Korean women.

HIFF Spring Film Festival

• Friday through April 25

• Signature Dole Cannery Theatres

• $7 general, $6 HIFF 'Ohana members

• Tickets available to HIFF members now; for general public tomorrow; box office open 1-5 p.m. daily.

• 528-3456, Ext. 18, or hiff.org

• Also: Third Annual Hawai'i Student Film Festival follows, April 26-28, showcases new films by students (kindergarten to college); $5 adults, $3 children under 12; Paul Booth at 823-9208 or hiff.org.

HIFF Spring Film Schedule

The festival has a couple of new wrinkles this year:

• A "Canned Film Festival" promotion: show-goers who donate five canned food items can attend matinee screenings Saturday and next Sunday, in lieu of a ticket purchase. The collections will go to Hawai'i Foodbank.

• A Hawai'i Student Film Festival will be tagged onto the HIFF event, April 26-28 at the Dole facilities. Nearly 50 titles, by filmmakers in kindergarten to college statewide, will be shown.

The closing night film, "Y Tu Mam‡ Tambien (And Your Mother, Too)," is somewhat of a coup. It's a Mexican/USA venture, directed by Alfonso Cuar—n, about two best-pal boys who encounter an "older" woman of 28 and learn a few lessons about life. Its frank portrayal of sex and politics has made it a box-office smash in Mexico.

There is an Iranian film, "Under the Moonlight," and an Australian entry, "Nijinsky." The latter is directed by Paul Cox, who earlier worked on a movie here on Father Damien.

Youths will find an American documentary "Dogtown & Z-Boys," a Sean Penn-narrated documentary on the phenom of skate/surfing in Dogtown, a dingy area of Santa Monica, of particular interest. The Z-Boys of the title refer to The Zephyr Boys, a pioneering leader of the movement, whose members now live in Hawai'i.

A Singapore work, "Chicken Rice War," a hip take on "Romeo and Juliet," about battling families who own competing chicken and rice eateries, and a Philippines entry, "Markova: Comfort Gay," explores the little-known community of wartime gay men forced to become "comfort men" for Japanese armed forces during World War II.

Of the student festival, Boller said HIFF is aligning with Paul Booth of Kaua'i who previously staged three similar events on the Garden Island. "We've never had a student section in our festival and we welcome the fine work Paul Booth has done in the past. Why reinvent the wheel?"