Community News & Events

The Vancouver Asahi Returns to Vancouver


The Vancouver Asahi
DIRECTOR: Ishi Yuya
(Japan, 2014, 130 min.)
Tickets: viff.org
604.683.FILM (3456) for the latest info and listings.

“From a Vancouver perspective it’s a fascinating film. Beautifully shot, it recreates a lost world in Japantown, when Powell Street was all Japanese businesses and the Powell Street Grounds (today’s Oppenheimer Park) was a baseball park filled with throngs of Asahi fans.” —John Mackie, Vancouver Sun”

Once upon a time in Vancouver, there was a baseball team called the Asahi, This was in the 1930s, when the city had a small Japantown on the downtown wharves, and the team was formed by the Canadian-born kids of immigrants. At the start they were always wiped out by the burly Caucasian teams, and they encountered their share of racism and prejudice along the way. But they rethought their strategy and began to pull back lost ground … until Canada’s growing worries about Japanese militarism got in the way and Pearl Harbor led to the mass internment of émigré Japanese. The Asahi never really recovered from the war, so its achievements have become the stuff of legend.

Ishii Yuya (The Great Passage) has recreated 1930s Vancouver on a lavish scale, almost like a Fred Herzog exhibition come to life (though Herzog wasn’t around that early). The film explores the clash between separatist immigrants and their assimilationist kids and has a generous measure of Ishii’s trademark humour and humanity. It’s not the kind of sports movie we’re used to in North America, but something distinctively true to characters and its place, which also happens to be our own.

SCREENING INFORMATION

Friday, December 19, 8:00pm
Saturday, December 20, 1:45pm
Sunday, December 21, 6:30pm
Monday, December 22, 7:25pm
Friday, December 26, 5:30pm
Saturday, December 27, 1:45pm
Monday, December 29, 3:15pm
Tuesday, December 30, 6:00pm
Friday, January 2, 1:45pm
Tuesday, January 6, 3:30pm
Thursday, January 8, 8:00pm