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I Am a Ghost
The D.C. Asian Pacific American Film Festival moved online this year, with free screenings to mark its 20th anniversary. The sprawling program showcases Asian and Asian American filmmakers who address themes that, more often than not, reflect the immigrant experience. Yet in I Am a Ghost, a 2012 film from Filipino American director H.P. Mendoza, that anxiety is expressed in an unsettling, experimental horror movie. The setting is a fantastic Victorian house with a wrap-around porch. In a series of scenes that end and loop abruptly, we see Emily (Anna Ishida) moving around the house in her daily routine: Cooking breakfast on a stove with sleek mid-century curves, stretching out in her four-poster canopy bed, and walking among the accoutrements of a long-gone era. Still, she seems lost. The first section of the film is silent, and only when we start to hear voices do we learn that Emily, as the title says, is a ghost, and the disembodied instructions from Sylvia (Jeannie Barroga), a clairvoyant hired to clean the house of spirits, are there to guide her to a peaceful afterlife. But here’s the thing: Emily was murdered—or so she thinks. How can she ever find peace? This micro-budget film was the second feature from Mendoza, who also composed the film’s score. And as evocative as the visuals are, with quirky editing (also by Mendoza) vividly conveying Emily’s conflict, the film may be most impressive for its forbidding sound, which turns a piece of prime West Coast real estate into an infernal prison. Mendoza and Anna Ishida will be available for an online Q&A on May 23, but you can watch the film right now. The film is available at apafilm.org. The Q&A begins on May 23 at 2 p.m. on Zoom. Free. —Pat Padua
Lorenzo Cardim chats with kids and adults
Lorenzo Cardim creates sculptures with glamorous mediums, like 24-karat gold leaf and nail polish spread over wood. Last fall, the Mansion at Strathmore featured one such Cardim sculpture, “Limp Wrist,” as part of a larger exhibit exploring woodsy artwork appropriately titled Timber. Now, Cardim is back to chat about the meaning behind his works in two separate talks for kids and adults. Expect the conversations to investigate themes of social injustice and the ways people of color and LGBTQ people push back against conformity. He’ll likely delve into how his unexpected materials expose the hypocrisy of social and political constructions (and if not, you’ll have a chance to ask him about it during the Q&A). His comfort with media ranging from sculpture to video makes him an ideal speaker for aspiring artists who love to experiment with different forms, so your child who loves to draw on walls will feel right at home. And, for adults who have perhaps lost that (reckless?) drive for playful experimentation, his talk might restore a childlike sense of wonder. The event caps out at 100 guests, but don’t worry if you miss out. The talks are posted online afterward, so you can revisit your favorite parts with your kiddo (or with a glass of wine, after bedtime). The talk for kids begins at 10:30 a.m. on May 22. The talk for adults is at 4 p.m. on May 22. RSVP for both at strathmore.org. Free. —Emma Francois