Films

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Meyer Auditorium will be closed through August. During this time, films will be streamed, and live conversations with filmmakers will take place online.

While the museum is closed, you can also check the Freer and Sackler Blog for recommendations of Asian films available from various streaming services, followed by online discussions with Tom Vick, the museum’s curator of film.


Celebrating Asian Pacific American Cinema

In honor of Asian Pacific American History Month, we present two stories of the immigrant experience.

Soul of a Banquet

May 1 – 31
Stream it here
Coupon Code: FREERSACKLER

Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club) takes us into the world of Cecilia Chiang, the woman who introduced America to authentic Chinese food. Chiang opened her internationally renowned restaurant The Mandarin in 1961 in San Francisco and went on to change the course of cuisine in America. The film is equal parts a delectable showcase of gastronomy and a touching portrait of Chiang’s journey from a childhood in Beijing before the Cultural Revolution to accidental restaurateur on the west coast of the United States. Soul of a Banquet features interviews with Alice Waters, Ruth Reichl, and Cecilia Chiang herself. Use coupon code FREERSACKLER to stream it for free for a limited time. (Dir.: Wayne Wang, United States, 2014, 78 min.)

No Data Plan

May 1 – 31
Stream it here
Password: smithsonian

Since moving to Los Angeles from Manila with his family, filmmaker Miko Revereza has lived in the United States illegally for over 25 years. Filmed on a cross-country train ride from Los Angeles to New York, No Data Plan is an experimental, diary-like documentary that was named among the best films of 2019 by Hyperallergic and BFI Sight and Sound. Revereza narrates the history of his family and reflects on his own anxiety during the current administration’s immigration crackdown as he films the claustrophobic interior of the train, the wide-open American landscape flowing by, and the people he meets along the way. (Dir.: Miko Revereza, United States, 2019, 79 min.)

Documentary Showcase: Art and Travel

You can virtually get out of the house with these two films that take us on a journey through India during the early days of cinema, and explore the collection and enthusiasms of legendary art collector Uli Sigg.

Around India with a Movie Camera

May 1-31
Stream it here
Promo Code: SMITHSONIAN

Award-winning filmmaker Sandhya Suri (I for India) skillfully weaves together archival footage—including hand colored sequences—with a new score by composer Soumik Datta to create an emotionally resonant story about life across India from 1899 to 1947. Drawn exclusively from the BFI National Archive, Around India with a Movie Camera features some of the earliest surviving film from India as well as gorgeous travelogues, intimate home movies and newsreels from British, French and Indian filmmakers. Taking in Maharajas and Viceroys, fakirs and farmhands and personalities such as Sabu and Gandhi, the film explores not only the people and places of over 70 years ago, but asks us to engage with broader themes of a shared history, shifting perspectives in the lead up to Indian independence and the ghosts of the past. Icarus Films is making available it to stream for free for a limited time. Just use promo code above after signing on to Vimeo. (Dir.: Sanhya Suri, India, 2018, 72 min.)

The Chinese Lives of Uli Sigg

May 1-31
Stream it here
Promo Code: SMITHSONIAN

Uli Sigg is not a man who does things by halves. “My ego, my way” says a t-shirt he wears at one point in the film. When he took up rowing, he went to the world championships. When he negotiated a joint venture, he wanted to create a model for future partnerships. And when he became interested in Chinese art, he built a world-class personal collection. Sigg championed the artists he admired, working tirelessly for their international recognition and to preserve their artwork as a record of China’s tumultuous and historic changes. Eventually, Sigg became the Swiss ambassador to China and a consultant on major Chinese art projects, including the construction of the Bird’s Nest stadium for the Olympic Games. Filmmaker and art historian Michael Schindhelm’s film is a history of China’s recent opening to the West, and of the West’s embrace of Chinese contemporary art, through the eyes of Sigg and the artists he championed. Icarus Films is making available it to stream for free for a limited time. Just use promo code above after signing on to Vimeo. (Dir.: Michael Schindhelm, Switzerland, 2016, 93 min., English