All This and Kung Fu

At the San Francisco Asian Film Festival, Xiaogang Feng's The Banquet isn't about food, really. Instead, the film reinvigorates the centuries-old Chinese tradition of Wu-Xia, or lonesome-guy action adventure, taking the appropriate Western downer classic Hamlet as a template. Presented in conjunction with the San Francisco Korean American Film Festival, the SFAFF's theme this year is "Extraordinary Cinema from Asia: Classic to Contemporary." And the programmers deliver: classic means Ruan Lingyu's 1934 silent The Goddess, and contempo means the cricket-fighting madness of The Strange Saga of Hiroshi the Freeloading Sex Machine. South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Thailand also send contributions for a total of 40 films altogether. Today's screenings start at 12:45 p.m. with Isabella at the 4 Star Theater, 2200 Clement (at 23rd Ave.), S.F.
Nov. 8-18, 2007

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