UCLA Film and Television Archives and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art kicked off “Electric Shadows ’97: A Pan-Asian Film Festival” Thursday with a screening of King Hu’s 1975 martial arts costumer “The Valiant Ones.”
An outgrowth of the L.A. Asian Pacific Film & Video Festival, “Electric Shadows” will be a biennial event largely focusing on contemporary films from the Pacific Rim. Additionally, the premiere event will present an homage to Hu, who gained major international attention in 1975 when his “Touch of Zen” received a major award at Cannes. Hu revitalized a tired genre and influenced subsequent generations of Hong Kong and Chinese directors making action films.
The 11-day mini-fest includes features from Japan, China, Taiwan, India and the U.S., as well as programs of shorts, documentaries and experimental work. Among the most eagerly anticipated titles are “Fallen Angels,” director Wong Kar-wai’s follow-up to “Chung King Express,” and “Frozen,” a Brechtian tale of youthful alienation that was banned in its native China.
The selections range from cutting-edge genre fare like Japan’s “Two Punks” to more formal stories in the vein of vet filmmaker Shyam Benegal’s “Sardari Begum,” an investigation into the death of a famous traditional Hindi singer.
Among the program’s standouts are two very different documentaries. Stanley Kwan’s “Yang and Yin: Gender in Chinese Cinema” examines films from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan that touch on issues of family, sexuality and relationships and how traditions have been retained or modernized. “Our Burmese Days” centers on director Lindsey Merrison’s mother’s return to the former crown colony and her lifelong struggle to reconcile being accepted as neither British nor Burmese.
Program information is available by calling the archive at (310) 206-8013 or LACMA at (213) 857-6010.