AFI Fest Film Festival – Asian Presence 2022

We present the Asian films that will be screened at the AFI Fest Film Festival which will take place from November 2 – 6, 2022.

– Short Films –

It’s Raining Frogs Outside by Maria Estela Paiso – Philippines | 2021 – 14 minutes

The world is about to end. Maya is forced to go home to the province of Zambales. There, she confronts her childhood house that terrorizes her as frogs rain outside. (AFI FestFF 2022)


Lori by Abinash Bikram Shah – Nepal | 2022 – 15 minutes

A mother sings lullabies to her 12-year-old daughter in order to calm her down. When the lullabies end and the daughter comes to her senses, the reality turns out to be life-altering. (AFI FestFF 2022)

Yokelan, 66 by Yi Tang – USA, China | 2021 – 10 minutes

In Manhattan’s Chinatown, 66-year-old widowed Yokelan goes to dance class. She wants to find love again. (AFI FestFF 2022)

– Feature Films –

A Hundred Flowers by Genki Kawamura – Japan | 2022 – 104 minutes

In this delicate feature debut from director Genki Kawamura, adapted from his own novel, Izumi finds his mother Yuriko wandering in the freezing cold on New Year’s Eve. The aging piano teacher is soon diagnosed with dementia, causing a rift in their already complicated mother-son relationship due to pent up childhood trauma. Yuriko is placed in a care facility, further escalating their fractured bond. While she’s away, Izumi discovers his mother’s old diary and is thrown back into the past and the world of his own memories. With sweeping long takes and a sense of heightened naturalism, Kawamura takes us inside the mind of Yuriko and reveals what the experience of forgetting looks and feels like from her perspective. An intimate meditation on memory, identity and the beauty of reconciliation that won the Silver Shell for Best Director at the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival. –Julia Kipnis


Before, Now & Then by Kamila Andini – Indonesia | 2022 – 103 minutes

Set amid the political upheaval of 1960s Indonesia and spanning 15 years, BEFORE, NOW & THEN observes the evolution of Nana (Happy Salma), an unhappy housewife and mother, who has remarried an affluent man following her first husband’s kidnapping and disappearance. Years later, Nana is still haunted by visions and memories from her past. Nevertheless, she gracefully adapts to her new husband’s infidelity with the local butcher, Ino (Laura Basuki), by developing an intimate friendship with her. The two women grow closer against the backdrop of political tension and the threat of anti-communist persecution. Kamila Andini (YUNI) crafts a poetic portrait of a bold woman seeking independence in this lyrical triumph that earned the Silver Bear for Best Supporting Performance at the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival. –Julia Kipnis


Joyland by Saim Sadiq – Pakistan | 2022 – 127 minutes

In his ravishing feature debut, Pakistani filmmaker Saim Sadiq astutely observes a patriarchal, lower-middle-class family’s hesitant explorations of desire and intimacy. When Haider (Ali Junejo), the affable but directionless second son, lands a gig as a background dancer in a contemporary courtesan act led by a transgender dancer, Biba (Alina Khan), little does he anticipate the sexual rebellion he will ignite at home, particularly affecting his maverick makeup artist wife, Mumtaz (Rasti Farooq). By turns ebullient, piercing and melancholic, JOYLAND shifts between the modalities of a “respectable” Muslim family’s living room and a rambunctious, erotic center stage. With production design of piquant greens and dance numbers of defiance, Sadiq’s drama interrogates gender and sexuality via a unique ensemble structure and is a highlight among recent queer cinema. –Ritesh Mehta


Walk Up by Hong Sang-soo – South Korea | 2022 – 97 minutes

Working his way through the middle-age blues despite being a famous and celebrated film director, Byung-soo pays a visit to old friend Ms. Kim in hopes of securing an interior design apprenticeship for his daughter Jeongsu. As Ms. Kim gives the pair a tour of the four-story building she owns, nosy and unconcerned with the ethics of snooping in peoples’ apartments, Byung-soo is quickly called away for a work meeting, leaving the two women to discuss their lives, their pasts and potential future. But as the director returns and one conversation leads to another, over many, many bottles of wine, time passes and the banality of small talk – of commerce versus art, travel and the lingering effects of the pandemic – slowly reveals a deep longing, each person revealing themselves not just with words, but also in the silences between those words, in this slyly witty and ephemeral new film from prolific modern master Hong Sang-soo. –Cedar Sherbert


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