Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema has announced the full lineup for its upcoming 10th season. Running from March 10th through April 9th, 2020, Season Ten will feature 16 new films from Asia, including four North American premieres – including opening night film i’m livin’ it, pictured above, and three U.S. premieres. Each of the five weeks is dedicated to showing films from the same geographic location, with spotlights on Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
Take a look at the full lineup below the poster and visit the official site at asianpopupcinema.org for more details, including trailers and tickets.
Opening Night film
Tuesday, March 10, 7:00PM @ AMC River East 21
i’m living it – (麥路人) North American Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director Wong Hing Fan, and Actress Kathy Wu
Hong Kong | 2019 | Drama | 115 Minutes | In Cantonese w/ Chinese and English subtitles
Director: Wong Hing Fan
Starring: Aaron Kwok, Miriam Yeung, Alex Man,Cheung Tat-Ming, Nina Paw, Cya Liu, Zeno Koo, Kathy Wu, Gaga Wong
Film Source: Entertaining Power Co. Limited
Once a star in his finance firm, Bowen (Aaron Kwok) now spends his nights in a 24-hour fast food joint, where he encounters other “roommates” who are in a similar predicament: a mother (Cya Liu) with her daughter who has taken out high-interest loans to cover her mother-in-law’s debt, an old man (Alex Man) who is too afraid to go home, a young runaway (Zeno Koo), and a singer (Miriam Yeung) living in a temporary shelter. Together these accidental roommates must strive to lift one another out of rock bottom.
Wednesday, March 11, 7:00PM @ AMC River East 21
A WITNESS OUT OF THE BLUE – (犯罪現場) North American Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director Fung Chih-Chiang
Hong Kong | 2019 | Crime/Thriller| 104 Minutes | InCantonese w/ Chinese and English subtitles
Director: Fung Chih-Chiang
Starring: Louis Koo, Louis Cheung, Jessica Hsuan, Cherry Ngan, Philip Keung, Fiona Sit, Patrick Tam, Andy On
Film Source: One Cool Pictures
A man is found dead inside an apartment with a strange noise, “Help! Help!” next to the body. Detective Larry Lam (Louis Cheung) arrives at the scene with Detective Charmaine (Cherry Ngan) and his commanding officer Yip Sau Ching (Philip Keung). Yip Sau Ching is convinced the deceased, Homer Tsui (Deep Ng) is killed by his partner in crime, Sean Wong (Louis Koo) when they had a fight over how to divvy up the loot from an armed robbery three months ago. But Larry soon finds out the case is more complicated than they imagine, and not only Sean, but there are also other suspects. Frank’s only hope in cracking the case lies in the not-so-human sole witness left at the scene of the crime – a parrot that can talk.
Thursday, March 12, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
FIRST NIGHT NERVES (八個女人一台戲) | Chicago Premiere
Hong Kong | 2018 | Drama/Comedy | 100 Minutes | In Cantonese and Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Director: Stanley Kwan
Starring: Sammi Cheng, Gigi Leung, Bai Bai-He, Angie Chiu
Film Source: Golden Scene
“Two Sisters” is a new play, written and directed by the trans woman Ouyang An, and will have its first night in Hong Kong’s venerable City Hall soon. In the last seven days of rehearsals, many hidden tensions rise to the surface, sparked by the longstanding rivalry between the two lead actresses Yuan Xiu-ling (a stage veteran making her comeback a year after the death of her faithless husband) and He Yu-wen (a smart movie actress making her stage debut).
Saturday, March 14, 2:00 PM @ Chinese-American Museum
MEN ON THE DRAGON (逆流大叔) | Chicago Premiere | Free and Open To the Public
Hong Kong | 2018 | Sport/Comedy | 92 Minutes | In Cantonese w/ Chinese and English subtitles
Director: Sunny Chan
Starring: Francis Ng, Poon Chan-Leung, Kenny Wong, Wu Tsz-Tung Tony, Nancy Wu, Jennifer Yu
Film source: One Cool Pictures
Lung, Tai, Suk-Yi and William are happy-go-lucky employees of a broadband network company who muddle their way through each day at work. When massive layoffs are expected, they pledge their loyalty to the company by signing up for the newly formed dragon boat team. When they embark on their rigid training, they’re inevitably forced to face the respective mid-life crises they have been dodging. As they rekindle their long-lost fighting spirit, they begin to welcome the challenges in life.
Monday, March 16, 6:30PM @ Alliance Francaise de Chicago
A TOUCH OF SPRING (Un printemps d’ailleurs) (春色撩人) | Chicago Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director He Xiaodan
Q&A Moderated by: Sophia Wong Boccio, Founder & Executive Director of Asian Pop-up Cinema
Canada/China | 2017 | Drama | 87 Minutes | In Mandarin and French w/ English subtitles
Director and Screenwriter: He Xiaodan
Starring: Yan Wen-Si, Émile Proulx Cloutier, Zhao Xuan, Yan Cheng, Cui Ke-Fa
Film Source: Film Options International
Li Fang is a Chinese immigrant who has been living in Montreal for over 10 years. Her infertility and her violent separation from her Québécois husband, Eric, have pushed her to the brink of despair. Escaping the chaos in Montreal, Li Fang visits her grandfather in Dazu, her birthplace in south China. The support and inspiration provided by her family and an old lover helps her break the impasse in her life.
Wednesday, March 18, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
RED FLOWERS AND GREEN LEAVES (红花绿叶) | Chicago Premiere
China | 2018 | Drama | 96 Minutes | In Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Director: Liu Miao-Miao, Hu Wei-Jie
Starring: Luo Ke-Wang, Ma Si-Qi, Zhang Ling, Zhang Jing, Zhang Shou-Pan, Wu Hui-Jun
Film source: Parallax Films
Red Flowers and Green Leaves arranges its plot around a newlywed couple. Haunted by an unidentified and stubborn ailment since infancy, a young man, Gubo, reckons himself as unlikable and has no intent for marriage. Under family arrangement and beyond all expectations, he marries a capable and attractive woman, Asheeyen. Suddenly, two strangers are sharing the same bed. As time passes, they become aware of each other’s past once concealed by the elders. Will they learn forgiveness and nourish true love? Will they savor the prospect of a happy family?
Thursday, March 19, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
3 ADVENTURES OF BROOKE (星溪的三次奇遇) | U.S. Premiere
China/Malaysia | 2018 | Drama | 100 Minutes | In Chinese and English w/ English subtitles
Director, Editor, and Screenwriter: Yuan Qing
Starring: Xu Fang-Yi, Pascal Greggory, Ribbon, Kam Kia-Kee, Allan Toh Wei-Lun, Lim Yi-Xin, Zhan Zi-Zhen, Andrew Lok
Film source: Parallax Films
Brooke, a Chinese young woman, travels alone to Alor Setar, a small town in Northern Malaysia. As a consequence of a blown tire, she experiences three variant adventures. Brooke may be a traveler, an anthologist, or a disheartened divorcée. As she introduces herself to people using different identities, what mysterious secrets are hidden behind her? In return, what the journey brings her is thoroughly unexpected.
Saturday, March 21, 7:00 PM @ Chicago Filmmakers
VANISHING DAYS (漫遊) | U.S. Premiere
China | 2018 | Drama/Mystery | 94 minutes | In Mandarin w/ English subtitles
Director: Zhu Xin
Starring: Jiang Li, Huang Jing, Chen Yan, Li Xiao-Xing, Luo Hai-Qing, Lu Jia-He
Film source: Parallax Films
Vanishing Days was made by 22-year-old director Zhu Xin. This debut feature focuses on the exploration of a little girl Li Sen-Lin during the summer holiday. Li Sen-Lin loses her turtle while her father is away on a business trip. There’s another “Sen-Lin” that keeps on being mentioned by her parents. She faintly suspects that Auntie Qiu is actually her biological mother. The summer rain pours down as memory and reality interweave into one another. The poetic and mythic feeling distinguishes Vanishing Days from most of the films that boast a realist touch.
It premiered at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival and was nominated for “New Currents Award”. It was also selected to the 69th Berlinale, Forum and nominated for “Golden Star” at the 16th Marrakech International Film Festival.
Wednesday, March 25, 7:00 PM @ AMC River East 21
WE ARE CHAMPIONS (下半場) | Chicago Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Producer Rachel Chen, and Actor Berant Zhu
Berant Zhu is the recipient of BRIGHT STAR AWARD. Award ceremony before feature presentation.
Taiwan | 2019 | Drama | 117 Minutes | In Mandarin w/ English & subtitles
Director: Chang Jung-Chi
Starring: Fandy Fan, Berant Zhu, Tuan Chun-Hao, David Wu
Film Source: We are Champions Film Limited
Born into the bottom rungs of society, two teenage brothers with nothing but each other hope to change their fate through their love of basketball. Little brother Tung-Hao joins an elite school and transforms into a dazzling superstar; big brother Hsiu-Yu ends up on a ragtag squad about to be disbanded, finding an unexpected new brotherhood in his never-say-die teammates. Eventually, the brothers cross paths on their way to ultimate basketball glory — the HBL championship —where they will discover that something is more important than winning.
This film screened at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and the San Diego Asian Film Festival in 2019. Fandy Fan won the Best New Performer in Golden Horse Awards.
Thursday, March 26, 7:00 PM @ AMC RIVER EAST 21
DETENTION (返校) | Chicago Premiere
Taiwan | 2019 | Suspense/Thriller |103 Minutes | In Mandarin w/ English and Chinese subtitles
Director: John Hsu
Starring: Gingle Wang, Tseng Ching-Hua, Fu Meng-Po
Film Source: Mandarin Vision Co. Limited
In 1962, a sense of desolation and tension permeates society. Fang, a twelfth grader at Tsui-Hua Senior High School, falls in love with Zhang, a counseling teacher. Troubled by the problems at school and home, Fang feels that Zhang is the only person who understands her. Longing for freedom, Zhang forms a study group with his colleagues and students, including Yin and Wei. Reading the banned books allows them to be liberated for a brief moment but at the same time, they put their lives in great danger. One day, Zhang vanishes into thin air, and only Fang and Wei, an eleventh grader, remember him. Together, Fang and Wei start looking for the disappeared teacher but find the school gradually slipping out of the world they are familiar with. Then in a realm dominated by ghosts and spirits, the pair are forced to face the terrifying truth….
Detention is the winner of the 56th Golden Horse Awards for the Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and the Best Original Film Song with director John Hsu took away the Best New Director with Detention. This film is also nominated for the Best Narrative Feature, Best Action Choreography, Best Original Film Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Effects. The Taiwanese actress, Gingle Wang is nominated for Best Leading Actress.
Wednesday, April 1, 7:00 PM @ AMC RIVER EAST 21
VERTIGO (버티고) | Chicago Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director Jeon Gye-Soo
South Korea | 2019 | Romance/Drama | 114 Minutes | In Korean w/ English subtitles
Director: Jeon Gye-Soo
Starring: Chun Woo-Hee, Yoo Teo, Jeong Jae-Kwang
Film Source: FINECUT Co., Ltd.
A unique romance film about a woman who feels like she’s falling from her office in skyscraper, and a rope climber who walks on a rope amidst the forest of buildings like Spiderman. They face each other on either side of a glass window until they finally meet on the rooftop of Machunru.
Director Jeon Gye-soo, who has shown a variety of genre skills ranging from fantasy musicals to romantic comedies, has been releasing his new film for the first time in a long time. “Vertigo takes no haste, takes a heavy step, reaches the pinnacle of emotion, then adds a blow to the final scene, leaving a long aftertaste.” – Excerpt from Korean Cinema Today.
Vertigo was a selected film in the 24th Busan International Film Festival (2019) – Panorama. It was also the selected feature in the 23th Hawaii International Film Festival (2019) – Spotlight on Korea.
Thursday, April 2, 7:00 PM @ AMC RIVER EAST 21
PAPER FLOWER (종이꽃) | U.S. Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director Koh Hoon and Actor Ahn Sung-ki
Ah Sung-ki is the recipient of CAREER ACHIEVEMENT AWARD.
Award ceremony will be held before the feature presentation.
South Korea | 2019 | Drama | 103 Minutes | In Korean w/ English subtitles
Director: Koh Hoon
Starring: Ahn Sung-Ki, Kim Eugene, Kim Hye-Seong, Jang Jae-Hee, Lee Suk, Moon Hee-Kyung, Cho Sun-Mook
Film Source: Mirovision/Studio Bonanza
Sung-gil, an old, poor funeral director, lives with his sick son and struggles to take care of him. A new neighbor with a cherry personality who is a single mom shows up and becomes the caretaker for Sung-gil’s son. Meanwhile, a local noodle shop owner, who has been feeding free noodles to the homeless passed way. The homeless want a public funeral to be held in the town square but the city is against it. At the end Sung-gil takes the benefactor’s portrait, and drives his van covered in paper flowers to the square.
Saturday, April 4, 7:00 PM @ Chicago Filmmakers
LIFE FINDS A WAY (普通は走り出す) | North American Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director Hirobumi Watanabe
Guest moderator: Mark Schilling
Japan | 2018 | Drama | 110 Minutes | In Japanese w/ English subtitles
Director and Scriptwriter: Hirobumi Watanabe
Starring: Hirobumi Watanabe, Minori Hagiwara, Marika Matsumoto, Yako Koga, Chihiro Nagai
Film Source: ARTicle Films
Born out of every artist’s creative crisis, the search for the next topic, Hirobumi Watanabe presents his latest film, dealing with the question of what his film should be about. The director stages himself as he idles away his days, delivering endless monologs during car rides, sleeping on the floor at his grandma’s house, or philosophizing over video games and the FIFA World Cup.
Wednesday, April 8, 7:00 PM @ AMC RIVER EAST 21
SAMURAI MARATHON 1855 (サムライマラソン)| Chicago Premiere
Guest speaker: Mark Schilling
Japan | 2019 | 104 Minutes | Action/Adventure |In Japanese w/ English subtitles
Director: Bernard Rose
Starring: Takeru Satoh, Nana Komatsu, Mirai Moriyama, Shota Sometani, Munetaka Aoki, Ryu Kohata, Yuta Koseki, Danny Huston
Film Source: Well Go USA Entertainment
Inspired by a real-life race that is still held annually in Japan, Samurai Marathon 1855 is a live action pic with a samurai twist. In the late feudal era of Japan, a young ninja (Satoh) is operating undercover in the court of an aging Lord during a peaceful era of Japan that is on the brink of change. After the Lord challenges his lazy samurais to a punishing marathon to toughen them up, the ninja finds his loyalties put to the test. Facing impossible odds, this unusual band of characters is running a race to win or die.
Thursday, April 9, 7:00 PM @ AMC RIVER EAST 21
SHAPE OF RED | North American Premiere
Introduction and Q&A with Director Yukiko Mishima
Guest moderator: Mark Schilling
Japan | 2020 | Drama | 123 Minutes | In Japanese w/ English subtitlesDirector: Yukiko Mishima
Starring: Kaho, Satoshi Tsumabuki, Tasuku Emoto, Shotaro Mamiya, Reiko Kataoka, Yoshi Sakou, Kazuyuki Asano, Kimiko Yo
Film Source: Pony Canyon
Toko Suguri is married and with a lovely daughter. She doesn’t have any major problems in her life until one day, Tokyo Suguri meets her ex-lover Akihiko Kurata at a friend’s wedding. They haven’t seen each other in 10 years. The rekindled love is so intense that Toko needs to make serious choice!