Pacific Arts Movement (Pac Arts) recently wrapped up its 17th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival. Many flocked to its six different locations across the city, including its main venue the Mission Valley UltraStar theater. The organization treated attendees with a wide range of genres made by both international and local talent.

After the Storm

Viewers followed novelist Ryota (Hiroshi Abe) as he tried to keep his life together in the midst of news about a new typhoon brewing. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s drama showed the path Ryota took to become a redeeming person for his young son (Taiyo Yoshizawa) after divorcing his wife (Yoko Maki.) As he struggled to make a new book, he worked part-time as a detective with clients who had fears of infidelity. Once Ryota earned his meager payments, he wasted them at the horse races instead of saving it towards his rent or child support. When he found out his ex-wife was going out with another man, a plan starts churning in hopes he can bring things back to the ways they were before this rough storm in his life.

The film showcased each of the cast’s many flaws in a quaint but beautiful way. One can feel sorry for Ryota’s situation, but also angry for his recurring mistakes and bad habits. However the onus is on the man to change himself to be less of a burden to others and hopefully a benefit to his family. This slice of life will want you know to what happened in the aftermath.

The Mohican Comes Home

Director Shuichi Okita’s film “The Mohican Comes Home” will one of the strangest family comedy you will see. Eikichi Tamura (Ryuhei Matsuda) puts an indefinite hiatus on his death metal singing career as he and his pregnant girlfriend Yuka (Atsuko Maeda) travel to his hometown of Hiroshima. The couple were the last things Osamu Tamura expected to see when he arrived home, then it got worse soon after they asked for his blessings to get married. Osamu’s terrible health finally got the best of him and he became bedridden. Eikichi made some changes to his and Yuka’s travel plans and decided to stay to help his father and the family store.

The relationship between the two leading men were interesting with Osamu being trapped in his past adoration for the singer Eikichi Yazawa and his son slowly figuring out his future. While he developed into someone his father never imagined, Eikichi did his best to make him happy, including pulling some surprising hijinks. Some fans of the technical side of cinematography might also enjoy a number of the long take scenes and wide shots of the island’s natural beauty. Even if dysfunctional with eclectic personalities, a family is still a family.

Creepy

True to its name, this Japanese film will constantly give you chills down your spine. University lecturer Takura (Hidetoshi Nishijima)left his detective career a year ago after an attack, but his instincts never left. He went back to investigating after one of his old close colleague Nogami asked him about a cold case regarding a family that disappeared except for the daughter who could not remember anything significant. While he pursued for answers, Takura’s wife Yasuko (Yûko Takeuchi) continued to stay positive and safe in their new home. It seemed none of the neighbors were friendly, except for the strange Nishino (Teruyuki Kagawa).

Viewers of this film may think that it will go the route of a typical dark crime story, but director and co-writer Kiyoshi Kurosawa defied expectations and kept the audience on their edge of their seats. No one could imagine some of the gruesome twists, but it was worth seeing how the spiral of despair ended. Those faint-hearted should be wary, but it is a must for fans of thrilling suspense.

Though Pac Arts completed finished this year’s festival, there are more showing and events on the way, including its 2017 Spring Showcase. For more information, follow them on twitter and visit their site.

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