Asia Express

Neorealism never went out of style; it just keeps gravitating from country to developing country. The latest stop is Kashmir, in which a cunning teenager and a woman educated at an American university chafe at their limited freedom and opportunities in Zero Bridge (screening Nov. 8). Recently nominated for Best Film Not Playing Near You in the Gotham Independent Film Awards, East Bay director Tariq Tapa’s acutely observed and cannily shot drama plays very near you this very weekend at 3rd i’s annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival. Another below-the-radar gem is Iron Eaters (Nov. 8), Shaheen Dill-Riaz’s harrowing portrait of men doing the nasty, dangerous work of taking apart big ships in Bangladesh. Spectacle of an altogether different sort propels My Heart Goes Hooray! (Dil Bole Hadippa!) (Nov. 7), the fest’s requisite Bollywood blowout. Veering from docs to farce to drama — and from Bombay to Vancouver to London to Delhi — 3rd I reflects the vibrant complexity of a vast population in a single peripatetic weekend. This seventh annual edition confirms that the organization has transformed a seemingly impossible mission into a neo-realistic one.
Nov. 5-8, 2009

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