Wilson and Biasatti conducted interviews with 100 men before settling on the 20 who relate their experiences and attitudes on-screen. The film looks at issues including sex, communication, and family as they relate to mixed Caucasian-Asian couples, but the Friday night crowd was in a mood for frivolity rather than heavy discussion. There's plenty of entertainment value (vicarious and otherwise) in a segment on rice queens, but one interviewee's candid views on the "power dynamics" in mixed-race couples hit a little too close to home for some moviegoers; hisses rose from the audience every time he reappeared on-screen. Then, unexpectedly, the post-show discussion evolved into a thoughtful forum on the danger and pervasiveness of stereotypes; clearly, Rice & Potatoes had touched a nerve. KQED would be wise to check out the film for its erratically scheduled "Docs of the Bay" and "Viewpoints" series -- and also to schedule an hour of call-in and debate afterward. For more info about the film, tune into www.RiceAndPotatoes.com.
Postcards from America
The crowd was much better-behaved -- even a tad reverent -- when famed indie producer Christine Vachon (Happiness, Velvet Goldmine) breezed into the posh Dolby Labs screening room to hawk her witty new memoir/manual, Shooting to Kill. Vachon's reading/Q&A/book-signing (sponsored by Frameline and the Film Arts Foundation) was a bland but humorous mix of production pointers, war stories, and zippy one-liners. Here's the thirtysomething Vachon on her rapid career arc: "I often say the reason I rose so quickly in production is because I can't drive." On the state of independent film: "The whole movement's about to be declared dead." And finally, on the downside of producing gay-themed films such as Swoon, Poison, and Go Fish: "I would never make a movie just because its content is queer -- and you'd be surprised how many filmmakers think I should." Nonetheless, her current film-in-production is Take It Like a Man, a dramatization of the life and death of Brandon Teena.
1999 marks the centenary of Alfred Hitchcock's birth, and the Castro's next calendar features a revival of the director's Universal masterpieces. ... As long as we're looking ahead, tune in next time for Reel World's 1999 predictions -- theater closings, Bay Area Oscar winners, and celebrity arrests as foreseen by local experts and resident crackpots.
By Michael Fox