Guests at the Asian Filmmakers’ Night dinner in the Paradise Grand Ballroom on Saturday could have been in a Paris nightclub, complete with elegant candle centerpieces, black tablecloths — and when the steak dinner was finally served, jazz with a Korean spice.
First, though, PIFF director Kim Dong-ho presented the Korea Cinema Award for contributions to Korean cinema to Sabrina Baracetti, the director of the Udine Far East Film Festival, and to Jean-Francois Rauger, the head programmer of the Cinematheque Francais in Paris, whose lengthy disquisition on his love affair with Korean cinema started a rumble among restless guests.
Incipient rebellion was quelled, however, when Edward Yang’s widow Kaili Peng accepted the Asian Cinema Award for the departed helmer, whose films are being screened in a retrospective at PIFF, and gave a moving speech of thanks. “I hope that the spirit of his films will continue to inspire the next generation,” she concluded.
Yang’s sleepy son Sean was carried up to the stage to make a handprint in honor of his father — and smiled sweetly for the cameras before succumbing to a yawn. Iranian helmer Mohsen Makhmalbaf also offered a toast to the honorees. Then, as the clock neared 11, the food was finally served.