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Lakewood Asian Film Fest

Award-winning films and live entertainment at Lakewood Playhouse

"The Front Line": two Koreas, at war but closely entwined.

Last year, Lakewood Asian Film Fest kicked off its very first event to much success. So much success that the event is back this year with more foreign films, more special events and still - best of all - completely free to the public. Kick back, relax and enjoy a bit of world culture and entertainment.

From Aug. 1-3, the Lakewood Asian Film Fest will screen inside the Lakewood Playhouse. This year, there will be four films, each complete with the requisite movie popcorn and other refreshments, as well as a special live performance before each film that will set the stage and bring an extra edge of arts to each evening.

Friday, Aug. 1, the festival starts off with a bang, or more precisely a poisonous gas attack on the Kolkata Metro as Indian murder mystery Kahaani (PG-13) takes to the screen. This thriller follows an unusual protagonist - award-winning actress Vidya Balan - as she journeys to Calcutta from London in search of her missing husband. What's especially interesting about Kahaani is that it had to adhere to a meager budget of just $1.3 million so filmmakers employed a number of inventive and guerrilla film techniques. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., but show up early and catch the Chang Hee Sook Women Drummers at 7 p.m. as well as a display in the lobby by the Philippine Scouts Historical Society.

Aug. 2, the Chang Hee Sook Drum Group again provides the pre-show entertainment at 7 p.m., followed by Chinese film To Live (PG-13). The film is set in the 1940s and as a rich man's son gambles away his families entire fortune. The film then follows his family through the following 40 years as history revolves around them, including the Chinese Civil War, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The film made a bit of a splash in the '90s after it was released due to its negative portrayal of communism, for which it was banned in China.

The final day of the festival includes not one, but two films as well as a performance by the Okinawa Taiko Drummers at 2 p.m. At 2:30 p.m. is a short documentary titled All We Could Carry, which tells the story of several Japanese-Americans who lived in the Heart Mountain relocation camp during World War II, a time when more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps with literally only what they could hold in their arms.

At 3 p.m., The Front Line will follow, which is a Korean film following a South Korean army unit ordered to capture one last bit of land before the Korean War ceasefire goes into place. The film won best film, best director and several other awards.

All films will be subtitled, except for All We Could Carry.

LAKEWOOD ASIAN FILM FEST, 7 p.m. Aug. 1-2, 2 p.m. Aug. 3, Lakewood Playhouse, 5729 Lakewood Towne Center Blvd. SW, Lakewood, free admission, 253.588.0042

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