Pittsburgh's Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival, newly moved to summer, returns for its 10th year, beginning Fri., July 10, 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 Pittsburgh Filmmakers' theaters. Tickets for most screenings are $10. For the complete schedule, see www.silkscreenfestival.org. Below are reviews for some of the festival's offerings.
Four films are booked for the opening night, Fri., July 10. Theeb (7 p.m. Regent Square, $20) recounts the adventures of a Bedouin lad who, in 1916, along with his older brother, decides to help a British soldier they encounter in the Arabian desert. That is followed at 9:15 p.m. by Dearest, a Chinese drama based on a true story about a couple who search for their only child after he is abducted. At North Oakland's Melwood, in the main screening room, it's Fandry, the story of a lower-caste boy in India who strives to achieve beyond his predetermined social status (8 p.m.). At 8:30 p.m., A Picture of You, about a pair of Chinese siblings who uncover secrets about their mother, screens in Melwood's auxiliary classroom screening space.
- From top, clockwise: Brahmin Bulls, Man From Reno and Futureless Things
TANGERINES. The action takes place in 1990, in the war-torn Abkhazia region of Georgia, where all the natives have fled, except for two older men, bringing in the tangerine harvest. Their work is interrupted by the arrival of two injured soldiers — each from opposite sides of the conflict. The neutral farmers must negotiate their own safety, and convince the two soldiers that they'd all be better served working together. A quietly powerful film with an oft-repeated, rarely heeded message about the futility of border wars and the strength of shared humanity. Zaza Urushadze's drama was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the 2015 Oscars. In Estonian, Russian and Georgian, with subtitles. 4:30 p.m. Sat., July 11, and 8:45 p.m. Thu., July 16. Regent Square
RED AMNESIA. An older Chinese widow values her independence, puttering about the city, but grows increasingly unnerved by mysterious threatening phone calls and small acts of vandalism near her apartment. Her grown sons assume senility, but her investigations take her into the country, and into the past, where the surprising answer lies. Xiaoshuai Wang's thriller mines China's tumultuous 20th-century history, finding, as always, ripple effects from long-ago actions, particularly those that once seemed wise and advantageous, but are now accepted as poor decisions. In Mandarin, with subtitles. 6:30 p.m. Sat., July 11, and 9 p.m. Fri., July 17. Regent Square
MAN FROM RENO. Dave Boyle's crime thriller owes much to Raymond Chandler — namely, the novelist's use of iconic California cities; a cast of mysterious, morally compromised characters; and a particularly convoluted and sprawling plot. A beautiful Japanese mystery writer runs away from her book tour to hole up in a San Francisco hotel, where she meets a handsome Japanese man who soon disappears, leaving behind a suitcase. Meanwhile, just outside of town, a sheriff is trying to sort out who another disappearing Japanese man is. Eventually, the writer and the sheriff pool their resources, but it only gets more complicated. In English, and Japanese, with subtitles. 6:30 p.m. Sat., July 11, and 2 p.m. Sun., July 19. Melwood
BRAHMIN BULLS. In Mahesh Pailoor's dramedy, an estranged father and son reconnect in Los Angeles. Somewhere between dad's overbearing nature and the son's immaturity are enough shared experiences for the two to bond, as well as jumpstart their respective stalled lives. Nothing surprising here, but this is a pleasant-enough, low-key film. 2 p.m. Sun., July 12, and 8:45 p.m. Wed., July 15. Melwood
LIVE FROM UB. Pittsburgh native Lauren Knapp's vibrant documentary explores the small but growing rock scene in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, highlighting the relationship between music and the country's democratic revolution in the late 1980s and early '90s. Knapp interviews producers, label-owners, a member of parliament and, of course, musicians, who strive to incorporate their cultural heritage into what was long regarded as a threatening art form. For Westerners, the idea of rock 'n' roll as a revolutionary force is a bit faded: Live from UB is a reminder of how exciting music can be. In English, and Mongolian, with subtitles. 5 p.m. Sun., July 12, and 7 p.m. Sat., July 18. Melwood classroom (Margaret Welsh)
FUTURELESS THINGS. Kyung-mook Kim's dark comedy and sly cultural critique presents about a dozen loosely linked vignettes, all featuring workers in a convenience store somewhere near Seoul, South Korea. The mostly young cashiers, who include a North Korean, a struggling actor, a diligent student and a shiftless caretaker, deal with a variety of customers, both friendly and irritating, and their stressed-out boss. While tapping humor found in the real-life miseries of such low-wage grind jobs, the film also occasionally slips into goofy weirdness: One employee becomes trapped in a parcel, and there is a song-and-dance number, because why not. In Korean, with subtitles. 7 p.m. Tue., July 14, Melwood classroom and 8:45 p.m. Thu., July 16, Melwood