Film and Television

CAAMFest serves up sweet memories with ‘Benkyodo’

Though the line did not extend around the block like the final days of the iconic Japanese confectionery, a crowd of guests lined up May 12 for Benkyodo, San Francisco’s now defunct manju shop in Japantown. However, instead of glutinous mochi, the crowd at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California was waiting […]

Canadian filmmaker explores a gap in family history

Filmmaker Natalie Murao contemplates the conversation she never got to have with her grandfather in “Blue Garden” (2022, 5 minutes). The hybrid-doc-animation tells the story of Murao’s grandfather, a Japanese Canadian fisherman who was incarcerated during World War II. The Vancouver-based filmmaker first thought about creating the film in 2020 after she returned home at […]

‘Oyakodon’ captures a Japanese restaurant heartbreakingly on the brink

“Oyakodon” (2022, 17 min.), a short film directed by Roxy Shih, is a quiet and somber look at a Japanese restaurant in decline. Mama, the owner, opens up the dark eatery and puts out a sign with the day’s special, oyakodon, on the sidewalk outside. The titular dish is appropriate for the film: Oyakodon is […]

CAAMFest’s Rea Tajiri Retrospective screens three of this groundbreaking filmmaker’s art

The films of Rea Tajiri, including her latest documentary, “Wisdom Gone Wild” and her first avant garde film, “History and Memory: For Akiko and Takashige,” as well as her co-written indie narrative film, “Strawberry Fields,” are not the product of a typical filmmaker or documentarian. These three films are being shown in CAAMFest’s Retrospective Spotlight, […]

‘John Wick: Chapter 4’ blasts into theaters with more action than ever

No one watches Keanu Reeves’ “John Wick” franchise films expecting artistic depth and thoughtful social commentary. Nevertheless, those components are actually in each movie, in a subtle way, as motivators for Reeves’ character. But let’s face it, people don’t care about his sensitivity. They watch him play the soft-spoken assassin for non-stop action and eye-popping […]

Bruce Lee, Anna May Wong heirs talk legacy, roles for Asians

Almost every working Asian actor in Hollywood can trace their path back to Bruce Lee and Anna May Wong. The Chinese American screen legends are typically talked about the way one talks about revered ancestors. One was a martial arts icon, the other an actor who stood out during the silent film era despite playing […]

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ dominates at SAG Awards

The unlikely awards season juggernaut “Everything Everywhere All at Once” marched on at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 26, and even gathered steam with wins not just for best ensemble, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan but also for Jamie Lee Curtis. The SAG Awards, often an Oscar preview, threw some curve balls […]

Rise of Asian leads in network TV shows

In fourth grade, Catherine Haena Kim could not muster the courage to audition for the female lead of her school’s production of William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” But her teachers saw something in the way she held herself in the classroom. “My teachers actually gave me the part because whenever I did speak up, I was […]

Ordinary citizens’ extraordinary deeds come to life in ‘The Art of Activism’ program

Ordinary citizens’ extraordinary deeds come to life in this year’s Films of Remembrance “The Art of Activism” program presented by the Nichi Bei Foundation. Here’s a preview of the short films: ‘Stamp Our Story’ (2022, 19 min.) by Kaia Rose and Robert M. Horsting Three Nisei women were on a mission, and they were not […]

Film examines civil disobedience in the camps

The Nichi Bei Foundation will screen “We Said No! No! A Story of Civil Disobedience,” a J-Town Pictures documentary by filmmaker Brian Maeda, highlighting the civil disobedience in America’s World War II concentration camps that imprisoned Japanese Americans. The film screens in San Francisco’s Japantown on Feb. 25 and in San Jose’s Japantown on Feb. […]