Pittsburgh's Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival returns for its fourth year. Beginning Fri., May 8, and running for 10 days, the festival will present 17 films, mostly recent features from the Far East and Southeast Asia, as well as the United States and Afghanistan, representing the diversity of Asian and Asian-American experiences.
The event kicks off with a Red Carpet Gala (8 p.m.-midnight, Fri., May 8; 121 Seventh St., Downtown) which will also offer live dance and music performances, and food from local Asian restaurants; tickets are $75.
Films screen at the Harris (809 Liberty Ave., Downtown); the Regent Square (1035 S. Braddock Ave., Regent Square); and the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave., North Oakland).
Tickets for regular screenings are $9 ($5 for students); the opening night film My Dear Enemy is $15. An eight-film pass is available for $50. For more information and to purchase tickets online, see www.silkscreenfestival.org.
The first week's films are as follows:
ALL AROUND US. Writer-director Ryosuke Hashiguchi's drama observes one married couple over a decade of change. In Japanese, with subtitles. 4 p.m. Sat., May 9. Harris
CHATURANGA. In Suman Mukhopadhyay's drama, set in colonial Bengal in the early 20th century, a man struggles with his spirituality and his relationships with two women -- a young Hindi widow and the cast-off mistress of his brother. The Fri., May 8, screening will be followed by a Q&A. In Bengali, with subtitles. 8 p.m. Sat., May 9, and 8 p.m. Mon., May 11. Regent Square
EQUATION OF LOVE AND DEATH. The lives of five strangers -- from a woman searching for her missing fiancé to small-time crooks and drug addicts -- are intertwined following a mysterious death, in writer-director Cao Baoping's drama. In Mandarin, with subtitles. 8 p.m. Sun., May 10, and 7 p.m. Sun., May 17. Melwood
FLOWER IN POCKET. Liew Seng Tat's sweet but unsentimental film follows two young Malaysian boys -- Ma Li Ohm and Ma Li Ahn -- as they cheerfully manage their scattered lives: They're in trouble at school; their single dad is rarely home; and fending for themselves often requires on-the-fly ingenuity. (They make a meal of fast-food condiments and blithely use their schoolbooks as toilet tissue.) But they also have a grand time, enjoying all the simple pleasures that come with unfettered youth. One new friend gives them "glamorous" new Muslim names, and a visit to her well-kept home provides a contrast to their own jumbled, shabby apartment. Flower is composed of everyday occurrences, and yet, the film leaves us with the suggestion that the bonds of this ragtag family pull just a little bit tighter. In Malay, Mandarin and Cantonese with subtitles. 7:30 p.m. Wed., May 13, and 6:30 p.m. Sat., May 16. Melwood (Al Hoff)
HANDLE ME WITH CARE. In this Thai romantic comedy from Kongdej Jaturanrasamee, a young man with three arms is en route to corrective surgery when he meets a woman who makes him rethink his decision. In Thai, with subtitles. 3 p.m. Sun., May 10, and 7:30 p.m. Thu., May 14. Regent Square
KANICHAVARAM. In Priyadarshan's drama, set in the 1940s, a poor silk weaver struggles to make a wedding sari for his daughter, while also getting rounded up in an anti-communist sweep. In Tamil, with subtitles. 5:30 p.m. Sun., May 10; 8 p.m. Tue., May 12; and 5 p.m. Sun., May 17. Regent Square
MY DEAR ENEMY. Two ex-lovers, now both unemployed, spend the day together trying to track down some money. Yoon-ki Lee directs this romantic comedy featuring two of Korea's most popular actors, Jeon Do-yeon and Ha Jung-woo. In Korean, with subtitles. 7 p.m. Fri., May 8, and 7 p.m. Sun., May 10. Harris. $15
NONKO 36-SAI. Newly divorced actress Nonko has left Tokyo for the small village of her youth. Now, in her mid-30s, her days of cheesecake work in B-movies are over. Bitter, angry and bored, she drinks too much and squabbles with her more traditional parents. But an impending religious festival blows in a young man, a vendor of baby birds, and the two strike up a rejuvenating relationship. Kazuyoshi Kumakiri's dramedy focuses on familiar situations: how to break free of familial expectations; getting back on track after a major life change; and ultimately, finding your own happiness. In Japanese, with subtitles. 6 p.m. Sun., May 10, and 7:30 p.m. Thu., May 14. Melwood (AH)
PARKING. In Mong-Hong Chung's dark comedy set in Taipei, a harried young man parks his car to buy a cake at a bakery. He returns and finds his vehicle trapped by an inconsiderate double-parker. So begins a long night during which he visits nearby apartments and shops, hoping to find the careless parker, but more often encountering folks whose assorted troubles and kindnesses continue to thwart his journey. Parking unfolds in a nonlinear fashion, gradually revealing the histories and interconnection of its characters. Not everybody is who they initially appear -- including the protagonist, a seeming distracted jerk whose humanity is revealed by the bizarre events of the night. In Taiwanese, Cantonese and Mandarin, with subtitles. 9 p.m. Sat., May 9 (Harris), and 8 p.m. Wed., May 13 (Regent Square). (AH)
SITA SINGS THE BLUES. Nina Paley's animated feature details the break-up of a contemporary marriage (the death note comes via e-mail) while drawing parallels to the Indian myth of Ramayana. The screening will be followed by a Q&A. 7 p.m. Sat., May 9. Harris
SPEED OF LIFE. Sammer, a melancholy teen-ager, has his hands full with swiping New York City tourists' camcorders, visiting his brother in jail, taking care of their elderly foster mother and his odd job for his brother's social worker -- all while dreaming of reconnecting with his father. Everyone's strangely connected, though Sam prefers the company of the faraway lives in the stolen videotapes. Ed Radtke's film is a stressful look into the sadness of life. There is some redemption for unlikable characters, but unlike Sammer, the viewer may not be so enamored with the lives they lead. The Sat., May 9, screening will be followed by a Q&A. 6 p.m. Sat., May 9, and 9 p.m. Fri., May 15. Regent Square (Lydia Heyliger)
WHITE ON RICE. Jimmy, a Japanese émigré, winds up on the top bunk in his kid nephew's room in Texas. Not the ideal spot to pursue a romance from, but that's the fun of Dave Boyle's family comedy. 5 p.m. Sun., May 10 (Harris) and 8:30 p.m. Sat., May 16 (Melwood)