SFIAAFF 30 Reviews: H.P. Mendoza's 'I Am a Ghost' and Minh Duc Nguyen's 'Touch'

March 5, 2012

I Am a Ghost
Dir. H.P. Mendoza

A torrid journey through memory and history, I Am a Ghost follows Emily (Anne Ishida), a spirit with an unknown past, and Sylvia the clairvoyant sent to exorcise her. This is a ghost
story in its truest form where the supernatural and the real fold in on themselves. Time and space collapse in body-tensing moments as Emily’s past slowly unravels through the suffocating banality of everyday routine.  H.P. Mendoza’s first psychological thriller shows horror in
a new form.


I Am a Ghost screens on March 9, 2012 at 9:10 pm at SF Film Society Cinema/New People, on March 10, 2012 at 6:10 pm at Pacific Film Archive Theater, and March 13, 2012 4:30 pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas.

Dir. Minh Duc Nguyen

It’s easy to take human contact for granted in a digital age
where the devices that virtually connect us also push us physically further apart.
In Touch, Minh Duc Nguyen weaves a mesmerizing narrative around the
impact that human touch, or lack thereof, plays in the relationships in our

Touch centers
around the unexpected relationship that develops between Tam (Porter Lynn), a Vietnamese
manicurist, and Brendan (John Ruby), a mechanic in a failing marriage to a wife who rejects him
physically because of his dirty hands.
In an attempt to save his relationship, Brendan begins coming to Tam to
clean his nails. Tam and Brendan’s daily physical contact leads to a
complicated emotional journey fueled by the complex loneliness they both feel
in their respective lives: Brendan is alone in a marriage where his wife recoils at his touch and Tam struggles
with her disabled and emotionally distraught father who physically and
emotionally rejects her care.

Touch is set
mostly in the space of a nail salon where Vietnamese workers groom American
customers where they are physically connected but remain very culturally separate.
In the salon, touch is both a bridge between and a lens to view cultural and
economic difference. Nguyen quietly exposes how loudly physical contact can
speak and connect us in the very intricate acts of love, loss, and human


Touch screens on March 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm at Sundance Kabuki Cinemas and March 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm at Camera 3 Cinemas.


Michele Carlson

Outgoing Editor in Chief

Michele Carlson is a practicing artist, writer, and curator. She is an Associate Professor in Visual & Critical Studies at the California College of the Arts and the Executive Director at Daily Serving | Art Pracitcal.