The 11th annual Seattle South Asian Film Festival (October 14–23) introduces a section devoted to shorts about the very thing that brings color to life, sex. As the festival's organizers explained, this is in line with SSAFF's tradition of always presenting something that challenges, surprises, scandalizes the audience. The erotic shorts—playing Saturday October 15, at 9 pm at SIFF Film Center—cover sex from the perspective of a husband ("The Woman... and the Man"), from the perspective of a lesbian ("Tell Me a Story"), and from the perspective of a whore, who services Chinese workers ("While You Slept").
This short, "While You Slept," is by far the best and the most complicated in the series. Set in a gorgeous, colonial-looking Sri Lankan whorehouse, the film is about a brown and beautiful middle-aged woman who fears she will lose her Chinese clients to a new whore who is young and Chinese. What a dilemma! And the film is not loud and lurid but quiet and majestically paced. There is also an image in this film that's as thoughtful as the defining image in "The Woman... and the Man" is shocking (a horny husband literally fucks cash), an image that makes clear why this festival is so important and never fails to keep us guessing. I will not tell you what this image is. Go to the festival and see it for yourself.