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Southeast Asia on Screen

November 27, 2010 - December 30, 2010


See the best new releases and award winners from six distinctly different countries and cultures in Southeast Asia. Organized in conjunction with the exhibition Four Thousand Years of Southeast Asian Art, the festival encompasses a wide variety of cinematic genres, from box-office favorites to films that are internationally acclaimed for their artistry including this years Palme d’Or winner at the Cannes Film Festival.

Special thanks to Abigail Algar, whose help was invaluable in organizing and curating this festival. Additional thanks to Honorary Thai Consul-General of the Royal Thai Consulate, Anongnart S. Carriker, Assistant to the Honorary Consul-General of Royal Thai Consulate; Dr. Mark Silliman at the Cambodian Community of Hawaii; Mano Nguyen and Annie Koh.

Save when you buy a festival pass to Southeast Asia on Screen! Passes allow you to mix and match any 10 screenings of your choice during the festival and are available online or at the theater box office. [Passes exclude entry to the opening night reception and screening of Dear Galileo on November 27 at 7:30 p.m.]


DEAR GALILEO – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Nithiwat Tharatorn
Thailand, 2009, 130 min.
In Thai with English subtitles
November 27 at 1 p.m., Reception at 6 p.m., Screening at 7:30 p.m.
November 28 at 1 and 4 p.m.

In this heartwarming, engaging film, Noon and Cherry make a pact to leave their troubles behind in Thailand to spend what they hope will be an exhilarating year in London, Paris, and Venice, with Galileos birthplace in Pisa as their ultimate destination. Well-educated and pampered, the young women wait tables to earn travel money but are unprepared for the hardship they experience as illegal immigrant workers. Faced with having to take responsibility for themselves and each other, their dreams and the bonds of their friendship are tested.

Kick off the festival at the Opening Night Screening and Party on November 27. The delicious Thai cuisine and exotic signature cocktails of local favorite Phuket Thai will be available for purchase from 6 p.m. onwards. Tickets are $10 for members and $12 for general public and can be purchased in advance online at


As part Southeast Asia on Screen, The Doris Duke Theatre is delighted to be screening several films that look beyond sensationalism and stereotypes to explore the diverse faces of contemporary Islam:

15 MALAYSIA – Hawaii Premiere
Various Directors
Malaysia, 2009, 80 min.
In Malay, Tamil, Cantonese, Mandarin and English with English subtitles
December 9 at 1 and 7.30 p.m.

These 15 short narratives from Malaysias best up-and-coming directors feature some of the countrys well-known faces, including actors, musicians and political leaders. Tackling topical issues such as corruption, race relations, inflation, Islamic banking, social apathy and religious taboos, the films take an uncensored, bold approach to contemporary Malaysian life. Or, as the producer of the project says, You may think of them as 15 funky little films made by 15 Malaysian voices for the people of Malaysia.

Director: Riri Riza
Indonesia, 2009, 124 min.
In Indonesian with English subtitles
December 10 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.
December 12 at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m.

Adapted from the popular novel by Andrea Hirata, Rainbow Troops is one of Indonesias biggest box office successes of the last decade. Set in the 1970s on the island of Belitung, the film follows Ikal and his classmates at a struggling elementary school. Their inspirational teacher, Miss Muslimah, sacrifices everything to instill hope in her rainbow troops, the sons of impoverished miners and fishermen.

TALENTIME | trailer
Director: Yasmin Ahmad
Malaysia, 2009, 120 min
In Malay, Tamil and English with English subtitles
December 26 at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m.
December 28 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Yasmin Ahmad died three months after Talentime was released. In her final film, a talent competition brings together three high school students. At the center is the budding romance between Melur, a Malay Muslim girl, and her chauffeur Mahesh, a deaf Indian student. The upcoming competition unravels the heightened emotions of the students and their families as they navigate heartache, tragedy and the fluctuating tempo of quotidian life.


The Doris Duke Theatre is delighted to be screening three award-winning new films exploring contemporary Cambodia:
WHO KILLED CHEA VICHEA – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Bradley Cox
US/Cambodia, 2009, 56 min.
In Khmer and English with English subtitles
– playing with –

Bradley Coxs documentary, filmed as events unfolded, is an unsettling investigation into the murder of Chea Vichea, the popular leader of a Cambodian workers rights union. Banned in Cambodia, the film has played at film festivals around the world, and won the Directorial prize at the 2009 Rhode Island Film Festival.

BORN SWEET – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Cynthia Wade
US/Cambodia, 2009, 28 min.
In Khmer with English subtitles
December 1-2 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Oscar-winning director Cynthia Wade takes a softer approach to advocacy, highlighting the issue of arsenic-contaminated water in rural Cambodia through the remarkable story of Vihn, a boy who dreams of becoming a karaoke star as he struggles with arsenic poisoning.

SAME SAME BUT DIFFERENT – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Detlev Buck
Germany/Cambodia, 2009, 106 min.
In German, English, Khmer with English subtitles
December 18-19 at 1, 4 and 7:30 p.m.

While partying in Phnom Penh, German journalist Benjamin meets local bargirl Sreykeo and they fall in love against the backdrop of a country torn between poverty and beauty, modernity and ancient traditions. Back in Germany, Ben learns that Sreykeo is HIV positive and, against all odds, sticks by her side.


DRUPADI – Hawaii Premiere
Director: Riri Riza
Indonesia, 2008, 45 min.
In Indonesian with English subtitles
December 3-7 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.
December 8 at 1 p.m.

Riri Rizas gorgeously lush reading of the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata tells the story of Princess Drupadi, a woman of unsurpassed beauty who marries five brothers and is given away in a game of dice. A tale of rejected love, naked revenge, family loyalty and betrayal, Drupadi is a cinematographic feast for the eyes, and a must-see for all lovers of Southeast Asian cinema and culture.

JERMAL – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Directors: Ravi Bharwani, Rayya Makarim & Orlow Seunke
Indonesia, 2008, 88 min.
In Indonesian with English subtitles
November 28 at 7:30 p.m.
November 30 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

After his mothers death, 12-year-old Jaya is sent to live with his estranged father Johar, a hard-hearted supervisor on a jermala traditional Indonesian fishing platform perched on stilts in the ocean. Facing his fathers rejection and bullying by other boys who work on the jermal, Jaya takes fate into his own hands, learning the skills and attitude he needs to survive.

THE FORBIDDEN DOOR – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Joko Anwar
Indonesia, 2009, 115 min.
In Indonesian with English subtitles
December 29 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

A successful, mysterious Jakarta sculptor finds his days becoming nightmares, thanks to his involvement in a voyeuristic reality show, in this chilling psychological thriller. Inspired by Lynch and Cronenberg, The Forbidden Door is a stylish and teasing chiller that would make Hitchcock and Almodvar proud, writes The Hollywood Reporter.


Director: Tan Chui Mui
Malaysia, 2009 66 min.
In Malay, Mandarin and English with English subtitles
December 23 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Award-winning filmmaker Tan Chui Mui wrote, directed and edited these seven short films. The anthology showcases Chui Muis striking, eclectic visions and broad stylesfrom straight documentary (Chicken) to satires of science-fiction epics (Strange Dream #1, #2 & #3).

WOMAN ON FIRE LOOKS FOR WATER – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Ming-Jin Woo
Malaysia, 2009, 98 min.
In Mandarin/Korean with English subtitles

n this tender meditation on yearning and regret, a father, Ah-kau, and his son, Ah-fei, struggle to make a living in a sleepy Malaysian riverside village. Ah-fei sells frogs, Ah-kau is a fisherman, and their bloody, grueling work contrasts starkly with the tenderness of the human relationships that unfold as Ah-fei enters his first romance with a local fish-factory girl, while Ah-kau, fearing death, attempts to rekindle an old flame.


IN THE HOUSE OF STRAW – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Yeo Siew Hua
Singapore, 2009, 130 min.
In English, Mandarin & Hokkien with English Subtitles
December 8 at 7:30 p.m.

An example of contemporary arthouse cinema in Singapore, In the House of Straw is an experimental exploration of modern urban life. Leading Asian film scholar Professor Wimal Dissanayake of the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaii, will introduce the film and lead a post-screening Q & A discussion.


In addition to the Opening Night presentation of DEAR GALILEO, the Doris Duke Theatre is delighted to be screening shining examples of recent Thai film as part of Southeast Asia On Screen:

AGRARIAN UTOPIA – Hawaii Premiere | trailer
Director: Uruphong Raksasad
Thailand, 2009, 122 min.
In Thai with English subtitles
December 14 & 15 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

The son of farmers, director Uruphong Raksasad offers an intimate vision of rural Thailand, following two families that share a plot of land through the cycle of a rice crop season. While the soil is fertile, market prices slash their crop value. To survive in a world of mass farming, government instability, and global price setting, the families, strapped by crippling debts and interest rates, have to be creativesome the films most exquisite sequences feature them harvesting snakes, honeycombs, frogs and mushrooms.

SAWASDEE BANGKOK – Hawaii Premiere
Directors: Aditya Assarat, Kongdej Jaturan- rasamee, Pen-Ek Ratanaruang, Wisit Sasanatieng
Thailand, 2009, 98 min.
In Thai and English with English subtitles
December 16 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

Four of Thailands most acclaimed directors each shot a short piece that reflects a fascination and affection for Bangkok, where each film is set. The stylistically diverse works paint a complex, engaging portrait of the Thai capital.

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul
Thailand, 2010, 114 min.
In Thai with English subtitles
December 17 at 1 and 7:30 p.m.

This film was the surprise winner of the Palme dOr at this years Cannes Film Festival and is an example of Apichatpong Weerasethakuls celebrated cinematic mastery. Leading Asian film scholar, Professor Wimal Dissanayake of the Academy for Creative Media at the University of Hawaii, will introduce the film and lead a post-screening Q & A discussion on Dec. 17 at 7:30 p.m.


Director: Luu Hyunh
Vietnam, 2009, 90 min.
In Vietnamese with English subtitles
December 21 at 1 p.m.
December 22 at 1 p.m.and 7.30 p.m.

Ly Tieu Long (Vietnamese for Bruce Lee) is a mentally challenged martial artist abandoned by his mother and taken in by martial arts master Ba Lan. When Ba Lan dies, Long takes her ashes to America, to rest with his late father, who he thinks was kung fu star Bruce Lee. Along the way he encounters Trinh, a girl who has been captured by human traffickers, and must use his extensive martial arts training to confront the villains and save his newfound friend. A delightful mix of martial arts conventions, musical numbers, melodrama and fantasy, this Vietnamese hit took five Golden Kites at the Vietnamese national film awards.

Director. S. Leo Chiang
USA, 2009, 68 min.
In English and Vietnamese with English subtitles
December 30 at 1 and 7.30 p.m.

Since the 1970s, Vietnamese refugees have been settling in the isolated eastern New Orleans community of Versailles. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the people of this tight-knit neighborhood returned and rebuilt before any other flooded district only to have their homes threatened by a new government-imposed toxic landfill just two miles away. The film recounts howa group of dedicated peopleturned devastation into a catalyst forchange.


November 27, 2010
December 30, 2010
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