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Showing posts from March, 2012

Jiro: Dreams of Sushi

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By Moira Sullivan 
Jiro: Dreams of Sushi is a 2011 documentary that is making the rounds and will be opening this week at Landmark Theatres. If you thought you knew all there was to know about sushi, this film will prove you don’t.  Jiro Ono is a Japanese sushi master with 10 seats in his subway restaurant in Tokyo and he serves up the most exquisite handcrafted sushi. Few sushi restaurants have such quality. I can think of one on Clement St in San Francisco that seems to live up to the reputation of Jiro—Murusaki’s.  It is the kind of restaurant with three courses, as is explained in this documentary, with different kinds of sushi. The San Francisco chef has a diploma for using the deadly blowfish, and that is difficult to come by. Jiro takes us through the male dominion of sushi making in Tokyo, from the fish markets where brokers bid on fish like the stock market in New York to the restaurants. It takes a while to become a sushi master and Jiro, who is now 80, has received several pr…

Joan Chen Honored at San Francisco Asian American Film Festival

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By Moira Sullivan

The San Francisco Asian American Film Festival has acquired an excellent reputation as a showcase of new films by directors of Asian heritage who grew up in America. This year’s  festival runs from March 8-18 with 100 films from 20 countries.
The special spotlight this year is on the Shanghai born actress Joan Chen whose Chinese name is Chen Chong. Joan Chen has lived in San Francisco for the past twenty years and although the designation Asian American didn’t quite fit for her before, it does now, especially with her two children who grew up in the city and her husband Peter Hui, who is a cardiologist in San Francisco. 
Chen was discovered on the rifle range by Mao Zedong’s wife and was selected for the Actor’s Training Studio in 1976. She won best actress in 1980 for her role in Little Flower. Shortly after, she moved to the US and studied acting at Cal State Northridge. Her international film debut was in Bernardo Bertolucci’sThe Last Emperor (1987) when she was onl…

We Need to Talk About Kevin

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By Moira Sullivan InLynne Ramsey"We Need to Talk about Kevin",  Eva (Tilda Swinton) and Franklin (John C Reilly)play the parents of a young boy that grows up to be a psychopathic killer. There are many, many warning signs during his upbringing, although it is clear that he was born with mental deficiencies. Kevin (Ezra Miller) is problematic from the beginning, either by putting too much salt on his food, or by being cold and cruel to both his parents and later his sister. Eva's reactions are scrutinized more than her husband's. Franklin is away most of the time and just seems to come home and pat his son on the head like a dog and disappear - most likely to work given the expanse and expense of their home.

It’s important to point out that the film is fragmented as far as narrative order so that we are seeing the prequel, and sequel to an attack by bow and arrow of high school students in a padlocked gymnasium. And we actually never see that, narratively, only fragment…