A languorous meditation on free will versus destiny, Chris Smith’s fine film “The Pool” traces a few weeks in the life of Venkatesh, a teenager who labors at a modest hotel in the dusty city of Panjim, Goa.
Thirty-five-year-old Japanese animator Makoto Shinkai often gets called “the new Miyazaki.” Having learned this, you should forget it. Hayao Miyazaki represents the gold standard of Japanese anime to the West.
Diana Lee Inosanto describes herself as a multi-tasker. The Filipino American stuntwoman, martial arts instructor, actress and mother of two is also the writer and director of a new independent movie, “The Sensei.” Screened in packed theatres at numerous film festivals, “The Sensei” will be playing in the upcoming Seattle Gay and Lesbian Film Festival on Oct. 24.
The Taiwanese lesbian drama “Drifting Flowers,” written and directed by Zero Chou, isn’t intended to be a horror movie — but it certainly could be.
Smell is one of life’s most evocative senses. A whiff of cologne takes me back to a dim-lit street where I walked hand-in-hand with my high school sweetheart; the assault of trassi (Indonesian shrimp paste) on my nostrils recalls the days in my mother’s kitchen as she pounded this pungent paste with chilies and garlic in her weathered stone mortar.
Shoko Tendo grew up a yakuza’s daughter turned into a juvenile delinquent, then a drug addict, then finally a sturdy writer with a compelling memoir. Being daddy’s girl didn’t shield her from much, and her life bore no resemblance to the Western image of a coddled “mafia princess.” Underneath her walking, talking, I-don’t-care exterior is someone who never knew love, security and stability.
If ever there were a situation where the phrase “you can’t go home again” would apply, it would be in Many Ly’s second novel for young adults, “Roots and Wings.” Though the phrase should probably be altered to “you can go home again, but prepare to be reminded of why you left.”
Author Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum knows how complicated growing up can be. Her first novel, National Book Award finalist “Madeleine is Sleeping,” explored the turbulent, often surreal world of adolescence. There, Bynum revealed the tragedy that can hide behind the physical or hormonal changes that put an end to childhood. Far too many of us want to stay children, want to stay unformed and unfocused as adults, escaping into a private void we mistakenly call “freedom.”
Having traveled alone to New York City, Ye Xian (An Nguyen) hopes to earn money to send home to her ailing father by working in a beauty salon run by Mrs. Su (Tsai Chin), her father’s distant cousin. But the bitter and manipulative Mrs. Su doesn’t actually run a beauty salon. She runs an X-rated massage parlor.
As expected of the wired Generation X-er I am, I Googled “Serve the People” to find out more about the book and the author. I was a little surprised; what I thought was a cleverly coined book title was actually a political slogan stemming from a speech Mao Zedong delivered on Sept. 8, 1944, in memory of a fellow Communist party member.