Day thirteen! Whew! The 14th New York Asian Film Festival is winding down here in New York City, by which I mean the end (Saturday) is in sight and not at all like the fest’s energy is flagging. There’s still way more than enough great stuff to see.
If you aren’t able to attend the screenings as they happen, don’t feel bad — even those of us who are local are struggling to keep up with the abundance of goodness going on! At the very least, this year’s NYAFF is serving up some cool new stuff to add to our collective to-watch lists, as every year’s festival does.
The NYAFF is being presented by Subway Cinema (visit them here), and all of today’s screenings are taking place at the Film Society Of Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater (find a more complete rundown here). After today, the festival moves downtown, to the SVA Theatre at the School of Visual Arts.
Here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
KINJI FUKASAKU, 1964
JAPAN | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: 35MM | 95 MINUTES
Kinji Fukasaku’s early career yakuza masterpiece is just as gritty and angry as his later work. The film follows lone wolf Ken Takakura plotting with his girlfriend (Sanae Nakahara) to trick his younger brother’s (Kinya Kitaoji) delinquent gang to help them rip off a money courier at the airport. Kitaoji’s crew returns to the hideout with the bag of yakuza cash and discovers just how much money is really involved. Reeling from the double-cross and trying to hide the loot, the kids get caught by Takakura and Ebara, imprisoned in a warehouse, and tortured. Meanwhile, Takakura and Kitaoji’s big brother (Rentaro Mikuni), a member of the rival gang that has been ripped off, has to find his brothers and recover the cash and his honor. Weighing cold hard yen against filial bonds, no holds are barred as the three brothers rip up the streets to Isao Tomita’s amazing jazz/surf rock hybrid soundtrack. Shot on the real life mean streets of Japanese slums, Fukasaku’s blood soaked yakuza debut mixes social criticism, American noir, French New Wave sensibilities and hard men with a penchant for violence.
Print courtesy of the Japan Foundation
Presented with the support of Japan Foundation New York.
Image Credit: © Toei Company, Ltd.
JAPAN | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 105 MINUTES
Centerpiece Presentation | North American Premiere
Q&A with Sabu
“Nipponese helmer Sabu is in his most fun-loving element, stirring Okinawa’s magical folk art into a Capraesque yarn that flirts with ideas of fate and self-determination, but really just revels in a rich tapestry of human experience” – The Variety
“Sabu’s new film represents man’s revolt against the preordained fate that guides one’s life from birth to death.” – Screen International
Fresh from this year’s Berlinale competition, like Wim Wenders’ WINGS OF DESIRE done via Japanese pop sensibility, CHASUKE’S JOURNEY follows a celestial tea server Chasuke – portrayed by versatile Kenichi Matsuyama (DEATH NOTE, NORWEGIAN WOOD) – as he descends to Okinawa in order to save a young girl Yuri (Ito Ono) from her fate scribed by heavenly hacks who crib from Hollywood blockbusters. The writers promise to transmit signs through the rich tapestry of characters he meets along the way, but Chasuke only has until 8:50pm, at which time Yuri’s fate is sealed. A meta-narrative on cinema, creation, fate, celebrity and enjoying ramen while you can, CHASUKE’S JOURNEY is filled with loveable losers, wildly kinetic single-take running, improbable plot contrivances, and an absolute love of the moving image.
Director Sabu will attend the screening. Part of New Cinema From Japan. Presented with the support of Japan Foundation New York.
Image © Bandai Visual, Shochiku and Office Kitano.
DODO DAYAO, 2014
THE PHILIPPINES | TAGALOG WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 115 MINUTES
North American Premiere
Horror movies are all the same these days. But finally, here’s something new. Like early-career Kiyoshi Kurosawa, VIOLATOR is a deliberately-paced puzzle that keeps your skin creeping as it stays one step ahead of its audience, delivering unforgettably macabre images that hint at one of the darkest world views we’ve ever seen. The first half of his movie is a series of surreal vignettes as a hurricane approaches Manila: we meet an old cop haunted by a ghost and lung cancer, a young cop and his lover, two hipsters who set themselves on fire, a girl who jumps off a building, a church service that turns into a mass suicide. It’s the end of the world and soon the cops have arrested a kid who claims to be possessed by the devil and locked him in the holding cells. But as the hurricane rips into Manila, their station is cut off from the outside world and they realize that what’s inside with them is pure evil. Dark, despairing, and beautiful in its ugliness, VIOLATOR is one of the few horror movies in recent years to be as interested in emotions as jump scares.
— JON ABRAMS (@jonnyabomb).
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Tags: Anthony Falcon, Asian Cinema, Crime, Dodo Dayao, Horror, Ito Ohno, japan, Ken Takakura, Kenichi Matsuyama, Kinji Fukasaku, Kinya Kitaoji, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, men, New York, NYAFF, Pigs, R.K. Bagatsing, Ren Ohsugi, Sabu, Sanae Nakahara, Screenings, Shinjiro Ebara, The Philippines, Victor Neri, Wolves, Yakuza, Yusuke Iseya