Arts & Culture

Lakewood Asian Film Festival brings diversity to the screen

“The Flowers of War,” will show at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Lakewood Asian Film Festival and is rated R.
“The Flowers of War,” will show at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Lakewood Asian Film Festival and is rated R. Courtesy

Lakewood is a diverse city — and some of that diversity will be represented on screen this weekend (Sept. 5-7) at the third annual Lakewood Asian Film Fest.

Over three days, five films from four Asian Pacific countries will be screened at the Lakewood Elks club.

The films range from the true story of a 1960s Aboriginal pop group (“The Sapphires”) to that of a Japanese cellist who finds a job preparing bodies for the afterlife (“Departures”).

All of the films are free, thanks to the Lakewood Arts Commission and local business sponsors.

“For years, Lakewood has called itself the ‘city of diversity’ and prides itself on reaching out to a very diverse population,” said commission member and festival director Phil Raschke. “(We) try and select films that offer strong content and production values, plus representing a variety of countries in the Far East and Pacific.”

This year, the films cover topics from India, China, Australia and Japan, and time periods from the early 20th century, through the Vietnam War and to the present day.

Opening the festival is “Water,” by acclaimed Indian director Deepa Mehta. Telling the plight and strength of 8-year-old Chuyia, a Hindu girl who has been married early and suddenly widowed, it highlights the atrocities in the lives of many Hindu widows. Mehta received death threats and there were arson attacks as she was filming the movie, which was called “a triumph” by Time magazine.

Other festival movies include “The Painted Veil,” based on the novel by Somerset Maugham about an English doctor and his unfaithful wife in a cholera-ravaged village in China (starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts); “The Sapphires,” a 2012 film about a singing group of four Aboriginal girls from the Australian outback who overcome prejudice to win a competition and perform for troops in Vietnam; and the Golden Globe-nominated “The Flowers of War,” about the 1937 wartime atrocities against the population of Nanking, China.

The festival closes on Labor Day with “Departures,” an Oscar winner for best foreign-language film. It tells the emotional story of a young cellist who loses his orchestra job and has to take on the socially degrading work of preparing dead bodies.

All films are rated PG-13 except for “The Flowers of War,” which is rated R.

In addition, there will be a discussion following “Water” and a lobby exhibition by the Lakewood Philippine Scouts Historical Society.

IF YOU GO

What: Lakewood Asian Film Fest.

Where: Lakewood Elks Lodge, 6313 75th St. W, Lakewood

Schedule: 2 p.m. Saturday “Water” (PG-13, subtitled); 7 p.m. Saturday “The Painted Veil” (PG-13); 2 p.m. Sunday “The Sapphires” (PG-13); 7 p.m. Sunday “The Flowers of War” (R); 2 p.m. Monday “Departures” (PG-13).

Cost: Free.

Information: 253-983-7835, cityoflakewood.us.

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