L istings and commentary for Week 2 of the American Film Institute Film Festival of Los Angeles, which runs through March 26:
"Heroic Pioneers" (Taiwan, 1986, 12:30 p.m.). Well, it's photographed beautifully--in wide-screen, moving camera images that often recall a good '50s Western by Anthony Mann or Delmer Daves. But as for the story--wow! Heroic Chinese immigrants--their faces wreathed in manly smiles and maidenly coquetry--battle storms, prejudice, sin, epidemics, psychopathic rich kids and tribes of aborigines, in a ceaseless struggle to exploit the land. The marauders are led by a hellcat in Pocahontas beads and a tight skirt, and there's a mind-boggling kung-fu fortress siege. It's a very pretty but unnervingly naive film; maybe director Lee Shing has a future in Hollywood.
All AFI Film Festival of Los Angeles events will take place at the Los Feliz Theater, 1822 N. Vermont Ave., Hollywood, unless otherwise noted. Tickets are available at Ticketron, Teletron and at the box office one hour before show time. Information: (213) 520-2000 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.