Asian Film Fest opens, includes queer content

The Asian Film Festival of Dallas starts today, and runs a week with screenings of films at the Magnolia Theatre. The festival is interesting it the depth of its movies — not only from shorts to features to documentaries and from dramas to comedies to experimental, but also because Asian culture isn’t one giant lump. There are Korean films, films about Korean Americans (the comedy Wedding Palace is among the best of the lot), films from Japan and India and Thailand and Hong Kong. It’s a vast canvas on which filmmakers can paint their stories.

There’s not usually too much gay in the festival, but some. Last year was notable for two very gay films (once a contemporary comedy from director Quentin Lee, one a historical epic with a warrior-like gay protagonist), but this year’s slate has at least one film of gay interest. The Image Threads (Chitra Sutram), a film from India, which combines cyber reality with philosophy and sex in a way, to be honest, I do not fully understand. I do know, however, when I see a gay sex worker having phone sex with a john, and I recognize a severed penis when I see one (let’s not go there). The Image Threads is part of the Stranger Than Midnight Series, which highlights quirky, off-beat films usually relegated to midnight movie status (but, at least in this case, shows at 9:45 p.m. on Tuesday night). Despite a visually brilliant and inventive approach to the opaque material, I’m not quite sure what to make of it, or several other films, but I have seen some good stuff without gay content, and part of the fun of a festival like this is discovering world cinema you can’t get elsewhere. Enjoy.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones