New poster art for “Living on Tokyo Time” by Yoko KO\omura.

Academy Award-winning director Steven Okazaki made the following announcement about a new version of his romantic comedy “Living on Tokyo Time”:

“I’m pleased to announce that a newly re-edited director’s cut (it’s shorter) of ‘Living on Tokyo Time’ will premiere on The Criterion Channel on May 1, 36 years after its theatrical release in 1987.

“My modest low-budget comedy about the doomed green-card marriage of a Japanese dishwasher (Minako Ohashi) to an aimless Japanese American rocker (Ken Nakagawa) was my third film and a momentary diversion from my documentary work.

“Wondering what to do with a fellowship from the American Film Institute, I asked friends John McCormick (S.F. State Film School) to work on a screenplay with me; Judi Nihei (Asian American Theater Company) to find actors; and Lynn O’Donnell (S.F. State) and Dennis Hayashi (who I’d met while making my film about the JA internment) to produce the film.

“With major assistance from Zand Gee (lighting), Giovanni di Simone (sound), Robert Sorita (soundtrack) and many other cast and crew members, we shot in locations all over the Bay Area on weekends off and on through 1986.

“The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 1987 and was picked up by Skouras Pictures for a 52-city run, with 8-week-plus runs in San Francisco, Seattle, Honolulu and Berkeley. After that it went to VHS and DVD, and then disappeared.

“To commemorate the film’s re-release, I asked my favorite Tokyo artist, Yoko Komura, to create a new poster (the old one was the distributor’s idea). If you’re not a Criterion subscriber, you can get a 7-day free trial and stay to watch their line-up of extraordinary movies (Ozu, Mizoguchi, Lubitsch, Rohmer, Wayne Wang). Or we may have some screenings later this year. Or you can ask me for a Vimeo link.”

In conjunction with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, The Criterion channel is presenting a series, “Asian American ’80s.” The 1980s marked the first decade of Asian American feature filmmaking — a period defined by restless thematic and stylistic exploration as trailblazing directors sought to express their complex cultural identity on-screen.

In this decade, filmmakers like Wayne Wang (whose “Chan Is Missing” emerged as an indie landmark), Steven Okazaki, Peter Wang, and Kayo Hatta sought to define “Asian American” anew, whether through comedic contrast with Asians on the other side of the Pacific (Peter Wang’s “A Great Wall,” “Living on Tokyo Time”), or via tender melodramas of the second generation (Wayne Wang’s “Dim Sum: A Little Bit of Hear,” Hatta’s “Otemba”).

Supported not only by the burgeoning American independent market of the 1980s, but also by new Asian American film festivals and media centers in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, the films in this program — curated by Brian Hu — imagined for the first time what a community in the shadows might do with the spotlight.

“Asian American ’80s” also includes “They Call Me Bruce” (Elliott Hong, 1982), “West Is West” (David Rathod, 1987), “The Wash” (Michael Toshiyuki Uno, 1988), “Eat a Bowl of Tea” (Wayne Wang, 1989), “Community Plot” (J.T. Takagi, 1984), “Pak Beung on Fire” (Supachai Surongsain, 1987) and “Two Lies” (Pamela Tom, 1990).

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