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Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival

A slate of more than two dozen recent Asian and Asian-American films



Pittsburgh's Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival returns for its ninth year, beginning Fri., April 25, with a gala party, and running for 10 days. The festival will present more than two dozen films, recent features from Asia, the Middle East and the U.S., at several area theaters.

The films begin Saturday, including the opening feature, Omar, Palestine's first Oscar-nominated film (7 p.m. Regent Square; $20). Tickets for regular screenings are $10. For the complete schedule, see www.silkscreenfestival.org. Below are reviews for some of the festival's offerings.

HANK AND ASHA. An Indian woman studying in Prague and a New York aspiring filmmaker meet online, and develop a friendship. James E. Duff's film plays out like a Before Sunrise via video diaries, with its rom-com sweetness undercut by the couple's cultural differences. 4:30 p.m. Sat., April 26, and 7:30 p.m. Sat., May 3. Melwood

GARDEN OF WORDS. Makoto Shinkai's 48-minute anime depicts two misfits — a student who dreams of shoemaking, and a troubled woman — who meet in the park, and become confidantes. The animation is gorgeous, capturing the garden's natural attributes in exquisite and evocative detail. Screens with "Cheong," a 17-minute Korean film. 7 p.m. Sat., April 26, and 9 p.m. Mon., April 28. Melwood

HIDE AND SEEK. A professional man's life unravels when he tries to determine if his long-estranged, troubled brother is a killer, in this tense thriller from Jung Huh. It's a decent premise that is most interesting in the film's first half, when viewers are unsure  who to trust. In Korean, with subtitles. 7 p.m. Sun., April 27, and 9 p.m. Thu., May 1. Melwood

APUR PANCHALI. Kaushik Ganguly's bio-pic tells the story of Subir Banerjee, the child actor who played "Apu" in Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali. The film intercuts footage from Ray's 1955 film with scenes of Banerjee's life as a young man and as a retired recluse. A bit choppy (especially if you're unfamiliar with the Apu trilogy), but it still stands as an account of a life in rapidly changing modern India.

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