Monday night was a little quiet at the SFIAAFF — which means the line to get into the fest’s only showing of The Speed of Life only snaked down the hallway and down the stairs instead of spilling out to the point where the people at the Sundance Kitchen have to ask you nicely not to block their doors.

Now, if you’ve been reading my movie reviews for awhile, you know I always find movies described as “lyrical” to be head-scratchingly confusing, and The Speed of Life was no exception! We were told beforehand not to give too much about the movie away, which, as it turns out, will be no problem because I’m still not exactly sure what happened in the movie. There’s some kids…. and there’s some quirky characters… something bad’s happened…. and they’re basically filming a movie about themselves….?

Plus — there are almost no Asian characters in the movie! I looked it up when I went home and it turns out that director Ed Radtke is hapa, but I feel like I should have been informed about this by the SFIAAFF in advance. When I go to the SFIAAFF, I want to know where the Asians are!

The movie, on a formal level, though, really is beautiful, melding a bazillion different types of movie formats into one story (the kids, you see, they’re basically making a movie on all different types of cameras), and it was kind of cool how the script just threw you in and you had to figure out (or not so much, in our case) what was going on. Plus, the music was excellent.

Basically, if you like this kind of movie, you’ll love The Speed of Life. If you don’t, it’d be a perfectly acceptable movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon on the Sundance Channel.

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  • Mihi Ahn

    Ha! At the multiracial multimedia panel they asked Ed Radke if he submitted pictures of himself to the festival. After all, with a name like Ed Radke and no Asians in the film people might wonder why he was submitting to an Asian-Am film festival.

    Someone explained they have funding priorities and while funding Asian-Am themed movies by Asian-Am film makers is very high on the priority list, funding the work of Asian-Am film makers regardless of subject is also considered. It made sense at the time, but after reading your write-up I realize it must be very confusing for the movie-goer who must wonder if they stumbled into the wrong festival.