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AsiaLENS
AEMS Documentary and Independent Film Series
at the Spurlock Museum

AsiaLENS is a series of free public film screenings and lecture / discussion programs -- organized by AEMS in collaboration with the Spurlock Museum -- presenting recent documentary films on issues reflecting contemporary life in Asia.

Local and visiting experts introduce the films and lead audiences in post-screening discussions.

All AsiaLENS screenings are FREE and open to the public every first Tuesday* of the month during Fall and Spring semesters at the Spurlock Museum at the University of Illinois.

The Spurlock Museum is located at 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL.

**NEW** For Fall 2011, second screenings will be held at either the Champaign Public Library or Urbana Free Library. See schedule below.

Full schedule for Fall 2011 is listed below.

Information on past screenings:Fall 2008, Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Spring 2010,
Fall 2010, Spring 2011

* Subject to change, please check scheduled dates below.


AsiaLENS Fall 2011 Calendar:

Though I Am Gone
Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum
600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green Street, Champaign

Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness
Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum
600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Urbana Free Library
210 W. Green Street, Urbana

Who Killed Chea Vichea?
Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Champaign Public Library
200 W. Green Street, Champaign

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum
600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana

Wings of Defeat
Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Urbana Free Library
210 W. Green Street, Urbana


Though I Am Gone
by Hu Jie. 2007. 68 minutes.
In Mandarin with English subtitles.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium, 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL

Discussion led by Gary G. Xu (Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures, UI)

Thursday, September 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green Street, Champaign, IL

Discussion led by Mei-Hsuan Chiang (PhD Student, East Asian Languages and Cultures, UI)

Though I Am Gone

Description:
Pioneering filmmaker Hu Jie uncovers the tragic story of a teacher beaten to death by her students during the Cultural Revolution.

In 1966, the Cultural Revolution exploded throughout China, as Mao’s Red Guards persecuted suspected Rightists. Bian Zhongyun, the vice principal of a prestigious school in Beijing, was beaten to death by her own students, becoming one of the first victims of the revolutionary violence that would engulf the entire nation.

In Though I Am Gone, Hu draws upon photographs taken by Bian’s husband, Wang Jingyao, whose impulse to document his wife’s death makes him a spiritual forebear to Hu’s fearless work. Hu also incorporates vivid accounts from surviving witnesses and archival footage to depict the deadly madness of the era. The result is “a profoundly moving memorial to the victims of Mao’s senseless political violence” (Dan Edwards, Real Time Arts).

Resources:
Official website: dGenerate Films
Contains a synopsis of the film, filmmaker bio, reviews, and purchasing information.

Reviews:
China Digital Times


Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness
by Tom Vendetti. 2007. 56 minutes.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 -7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium, 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL

Discussions led by Alexander L. Mayer (Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures and Religious Studies, UI).

Bhutan

Description:
Bhutan – Taking the Middle Path to Happiness is an Emmy Award winning documentary on the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan and its development policy of “Gross National Happiness.”

Imagine a country where the peoples’ happiness is the guiding principle of government. Imagine a people who see all life as sacred, a land with abundant renewable energy, a nation committed to preserving nature and its culture. Imagine a country where the government’s goal is “Gross National Happiness.” Where is this Shangri-La? Bhutan.

But can a place like Bhutan really exist? Can such ideals be realized? Can this small, geographically isolated country tucked away in the Himalayans truly protect its environment and culture as they open their doors to the West?”

Resources:
Official website: Bhutan: Taking The Middle Path To Happiness
Contains a synopsis of the film and purchasing information.
View Trailer on YouTube


Who Killed Chea Vichea?
by Bradley Cox. 2009. 56 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green Street, Champaign

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 - 7:00 pm
Spurlock Museum, Knight Auditorium, 600 S. Gregory Street, Urbana, IL

Discussion led by Matthew S. Winters (Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UI

Who Killed Chea Vichea?

Description:
In 1999, Cambodian garment workers demanding decent wages and working conditions found their leader in Chea Vichea. As president of Cambodia’s free trade union, he stood with them despite beatings and death threats…until a sunny morning in 2004. As Vichea read the paper at a sidewalk newsstand, three bullets silenced him forever.

Director Bradley Cox shot Who Killed Chea Vichea? over five years, covering events as they happened and tracking down witnesses in a country where knowing too much can cost you your life. Who Killed Chea Vichea? is a highly charged murder mystery, a political thriller, and a documentary like no other.

Resources:
Offical Website: Loud Mouth Films
Contains a trailer, backstory, filmmaker bios, press reviews, and blog.

Reviews:
Bangkok Post
Huffington Post



Wings of Defeat
by Risa Morimoto. 2007. 89 minutes.

Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 7:00pm
Urbana Free Library, 210 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL

Discussion led by TBA.

Wings of Defeat


Description:
Upon learning of her uncle’s secret past as a surviving kamikaze pilot, Japanese American director Morimoto was inspired to interview former Kamikaze pilots, now in their 80s, who thoughtfully recall and share their fears, their ambivalence, their patriotism and their guilt as survivors, when thousands of their comrades perished during Japan’s most desperate hour at the end of World War II. Co-produced by Japanese-born writer Linda Hoaglund, the documentary film Wings of Defeat is a moving, human re-examination of the Kamikaze legacy from the perspectives of those who trained for, flew, and survived as suicide missions, as well as those Americans who survived such attacks.

Includes scenes and descriptions of historical violence.

Resources:
Official Website: Edgewood Pictures
Contains a synopsis, trailer, filmmaker's statement, press reviews, and blog.

Reviews
The Japan Times
The Chicago Tribune
NPR report on kamikaze pilots’ visits to U.S. high schools

Awards
Audience Award, New York Asian American International Film Festival
Special Jury Award, San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival

 

Last Updated August 17, 2011.

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