Red CardDirected by Ougie Pak
Cast: Kev Tai, Mona Arkin, Mardy Ma
One rule. Kev’s job has one rule and he broke it. He’s the bartender, bathroom cleaner, and driver at a hostess club where women get tips drinking with and cozying up to rich clients. Kev knows that he’s forbidden to fall in love with any of the hostesses, but when the flirty Kiki slinks on in one evening, he can’t help flashing his boyish smile. Kiki reciprocates and the two enter a secret, off-hours relationship. But there’s a reason rules exist, and Kev grows jealous watching from behind the bar as his girlfriend works the crowd, and the blurred line between work and play arouses his insecurities.
Director Ougie Pak (Sunrise/Sunset, SDAFF ’19; Clytaemnestra, SDAFF ’21) and co-writer Kev Tai (who also plays Kev) take us unabashedly into the underside of immigrant work: businesses run by mysterious men, female workers rolled in like property, pockets that are padded by millionaires from China and Taiwan. These are Chinese enclaves with dreams of Beverly Hills rather than Chinatown, and while Kev and Kiki represent different illusions of labor and class mobility, they are both beholden to a bicoastal network of money much bigger than their illicit love affair. Flush with style, RED CARD is the San Gabriel Valley after hours, when the high rollers come out and everyone has a role to play.
Co-Presented by the Asian Business Association of San Diego (ABA).
Directed by ZHANG Hanyu
A small-town girl vies to join the local gang in this pulpy teen-drama.