Red Shirts and Ramayana

Minnesota Film Arts presents an Asian Film Festival in November.

Kalki Koechlin in That Girl in Yellow Boots

Photo Courtesy Minnesota Film Arts

Kalki Koechlin in “That Girl in Yellow Boots”

by Stephanie Nusser

Who: Minnesota Film Arts

What: Asian Film Festival

When: Nov. 3-13

Where: 115 SE Main St



This November Minnesota is going to get a taste of Asia, not through Hong Kong Noodle, but through the Asian Film Festival. Minnesota Film Arts is presenting âÄúIn Search of AsiaâÄù at St. Anthony Main and will be showing 40 films over the course of 10 days from a dozen countries.

This will be the most comprehensive Asian film festival to date in the Twin Cities and the first Minnesota Film Arts has hosted. The installment will show several directors speaking on their respective presentations.

âÄúThere is a sort of unrepresented audience here in the Twin Cities and Metro Area,âÄù said Minnesota Film Arts festival and program coordinator Ryan Oestreich.

The films shown in the festival have a strong theme of struggle and perseverance. Many draw upon actual events, such as the Communist regime of North Korea, civil war in Burma and Sri Lanka and the difficulties of figuring out oneâÄôs identity in a new country.

âÄúAll of the immigrants and second and third generations who live here donâÄôt get to see many films in their native languageâÄù Oestreich said.

The festival opens with âÄúThat Girl in Yellow Boots,âÄù directed by Anurag Kashyap, who is one of the leading indie filmmakers in India. This is no Bollywood film. This drama follows a girl, Ruth, in Mumbai who is determined to find her father, whom she has never met. This story becomes hard to endure as the audience follows Ruth through tribulations âÄî such as the illegal sex trade in India. This profound and startlingfilm is beautifully crafted through the use of shadow and light to emphasize the dark underbelly of India.

âÄúThe Red Chapel,âÄù directed by Mads Brügger, documents two Danish-Korean comedians who were allowed in North Korea with an agenda to expose their home country to the world. At times the film is humorous and lighthearted because of terms lost in translation and other mishaps. Other times itâÄôs heartbreaking to watch the demonstrations and the complacency the people of North Korea have to submit to.

Asian American Shorts Program will be showing a series of five short films from the United States and Canada (and only one has subtitles for those who donâÄôt like to read while they watch a film).

 âÄúWorks of ArtâÄù is a short romantic comedy starring Twin Cities native Paul Juhn and Ken Leung (who played Miles, the one who saw the dead on âÄúLostâÄù). To frame it in a Western context, itâÄôs similar to âÄúGarden StateâÄú in that romance ensues over a short encounter.

Within this series of shorts is âÄúUseless Things,âÄù directed by Faisal Lutchmedial. This is a story of Shashin, a second-generation immigrant from India who is finding himself and stories of his culture and family history through the assortment of objects he finds in boxes.

These 10 days of storytelling, culture, conflict and triumph present lifestyles both similar and distant to our own. Through these films, several thousand miles are eliminated, and Minnesotans are able to feel next-door to their cross-hemisphere neighbors.