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Where EAST meets the Northwest

Suburban Birds screens March 16 and 20, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Northwest Film Center)


Dead Pigs screens March 9 and 12, 2019. (Photo courtesy of the Northwest Film Center)

FEATURES & SHORTS. For the 42nd year, the Northwest Film Center is bringing cinema from around the world to Portland with the Portland International Film Festival. The festival, which opens March 7 and continues through March 21, includes nearly 90 features and more than 50 shorts from 50 countries. (Photos courtesy of the Northwest Film Center)

From The Asian Reporter, V29, #05 (March 4, 2019), page 11.

PIFF 2019 brings world cinema to Portland screens

For the 42nd year, the Northwest Film Center is bringing cinema from around the world to Portland with the Portland International Film Festival (PIFF). The festival, which is featured at several venues beginning March 7, includes nearly 90 features and more than 50 shorts from 50 countries. During PIFF’s run, 22 animated films, 17 fresh documentaries, and 13 works by new filmmakers are highlighted.

An animated film from Japan, Okko’s Inn by Kitaro Kosaka, tells the tale of Okko, a young girl who, after losing her parents, relocates to the countryside to live with her grandparents. Another animated work, Denis Do’s debut Funan, grapples with the forced exile — and often murder — of millions of Cambodians during the Khmer Rouge regime’s stranglehold on power during the 1970s.

From Hong Kong comes Stanley Kwan’s First Night Nerves, a soapy theatre-world drama about two actresses — and former rivals — who are now at drastically different periods in their lives and careers. Rohena Gera’s Sir tells the story of two people from contrasting backgrounds in India — a shy domestic servant and a reserved yet confident wealthy architect — who share the worldview that one’s dreams should be pursued and fought for.

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II follows a 21-year-old Osaka woman who falls in love with a charming free spirit who one day mysteriously disappears. After two years, the woman meets what appears to be a look-alike of her boyfriend in Tokyo, which turns her world upside down.

Other features screening during the festival are Hotel by the River, a film created by Hong Sang-soo that focuses on a shabby resort hotel where two charmingly funny stories intersect; Tsai Ming-Liang’s documentary Your Face, the director’s latest digital experiment, which is a deep study of the human face — its beautiful features and perfect imperfections; and Ying Liang’s A Family Tour, which focuses on a filmmaker who has been living in exile in Hong Kong and attends a festival in Taipei to present a film that has been banned in mainland China.

The following list gives cinephiles a quick glimpse of the Asian and Asia-themed films showing as part of the festival:


Afghan Cycles (March 12 & 15)


Ash Is Purest White (March 9 & 14)

Dead Pigs (March 9 & 12)

An Elephant Sitting Still (March 16 & 21)

Long Day’s Journey into Night (March 10 & 15)

Shadow (March 15)

Suburban Birds (March 16 & 20)


Funan (March 13 & 19)

Maya (March 16 & 20)

Hong Kong

First Night Nerves (March 10 & 14)


Sir (March 16 & 18)

Tumbbad (March 9)


3 Faces (March 17 & 21)


Asako I & II (March 8 & 10)

Okko’s Inn (March 10 & 17)

One Cut of the Dead (March 15)


The River (March 10 & 16)

South Korea

Hotel by the River (March 12 & 14)


A Family Tour (March 15 & 17)

Your Face (March 18 & 21)


Ten Years Thailand (March 11 & 15)

United States

Our Bodies, Our Doctors (March 8 & 12)

In addition to the many feature-length films, PIFF highlights more than 50 shorts contained in seven programs. "Documentary Views" includes Circle by Jayisha Patel; "Animated Worlds" features Domee Shi’s Bao as well as One Small Step by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas; and "Past, Present, Future" contains Farnoosh Samadi’s Gaze. In "Oregon Shorts 1: Documenting the Times," there is Sika Stanton and Donnell Alexander’s An Oregon Canyon, and in "Oregon Shorts 2: Dreams of Escape," viewers will find Masami Kawai’s Tides. "Ways of Seeing" spotlights Fallen Arches by Simon Liu.

PIFF 42 films are screened at several locations in Portland, including Cinema 21, 616 N.W. 21st Avenue; the Regal Fox Tower, 846 S.W. Park Avenue; the Empirical Theater at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry, 1945 S.E. Water Avenue; the Whitsell Auditorium located at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Avenue; and Cinemagic, 2021 S.E. Hawthorne Boulevard.

The festival ticket office is located in the lobby of the Portland Art Museum’s Mark Building, 1119 S.W. Park Avenue. To order advance tickets, call (503) 276-4310. For more information, or to view a complete schedule of films, visit <>.

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