The New York Asian Film Festival returns to the city for its triumphant thirteenth year. A horde of wild-eyed movies are flooding into town like a flash mob of hyperactive trickster deities. There’s literally no way I could describe or even list all of the awesome-looking films in this space, so what I think I’ll have to do is spotlight a bundle of films each day for the next couple weeks. I highly, profoundly recommend looking into the calendar further to see what catches your eye. The NYAFF is being presented by Subway Cinema (visit them here), and almost all of the screenings are taking place at the Film Society Of Lincoln Center (find a more complete rundown here).
Fans of ghost stories, crime stories, romance, martial arts, extreme violence, sexploitation, serious-minded art-drama, insane comedy, samurai films, and giant monsters — and who isn’t a fan of all of those things? –will find plenty to revel in for the next two weeks. The joy of Asian genre films is that sometimes you get all of those at once. Not unlike a Hong Kong buffet, if you’ll forgive my facile, ugly-American metaphor.
Because I’m a big dope, I’m posting this up too late and Friday’s slate is nearly over. (You might be able to run for the 11:30!!) But if only as an example of how I’m going to do things for the next seventeen days, here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
After tackling insider trading and real estate conspiracies, writer-directors Alan Mak and Felix Chong—the creators of INFERNAL AFFAIRS—turn to the untamed rural villages of Hong Kong’s New Territories in the third and reportedly final installment of the hugely popular OVERHEARD series. Recently released from prison, Jau (Louis Koo) leads an intricate plan to take down the Luk Brothers, a group of bullies who rule the villages with an iron grip, and Uncle To (Kenneth Tsang), the self-proclaimed godfather of the New Territories. Featuring an all-star cast—including China’s Zhou Xun—and a story ripped from the headlines, OVERHEARD 3 is an epic saga of loyalty and morality that Sergio Leone might have made had he been working in Hong Kong.
GOLDEN CHICKENSSS 
We took the liberty of skipping GOLDEN CHICKEN 2 because it was just a retread of the first film, but now, in part three of the GOLDEN CHICKEN Saga our tiny chicken Kum (Sandra Ng) has aged into a hard-working madam, and the film bounces from one ridiculous setpiece to another as she rounds up her girls, decks them out for a night on the town, and fulfills the needs of her hard-partying clients in blowjob parlors, at sunrise beach parties, and deep inside wine cellars of sin. Comedienne Sandra Ng was born to play Kum, a hooker with a calculator for a soul but who also believes that everyone has a right to get their rocks off regardless of race, color, creed, or kink. Like Kum, this film has a big, beating heart of gold that believes everyone is a good person who deserves sex, whether they’re a screechy, buck-toothed, money-hungry Mainland prostitute named Woo Loo, a woman dying of Huntington’s disease who dreams of banging pop star Louis Koo (Koo playing himself), or even if they’re a triad boss just out of prison after a long sentence who can’t understand anything about modern-day Hong Kong. Shambolic, reckless, and defiantly un-PC, GOLDEN CHICKENSSS celebrates hard work, hard weiners, big hearts, and big boobs. One of the most loving, high-spirited movies about sex workers you’ll ever see, the whole thing even ends with the cast bursting into song for no good reason other that they’re having a blast.
SEEDING OF A GHOST / ?? (1983)
Don’t mess with black magic. Seriously. Norman Chu plays a cab driver whose adulterous wife is murdered by a couple of thugs. Fortunately, he ran over a wizard with his cab earlier in the day, and he gets in touch with the banged-up necromancer to help him get revenge. And get revenge he does. This movie came out of Shaw Brothers in 1983 when the august studio was throwing anything against the screen to try to get audiences to buy tickets. The wilder the better, and this one gets pretty wild. Starting like an old-school sexploitation skin flick, nothing prepares you for the dark and grimy turns this shrieking freak-out takes at about the half-hour mark. Because, see, to get revenge you have to dig up the corpse of the murder victim and then… “seed” it. Graphically. If you’ve got any personal rules about not watching movies featuring necrophilia, worm eating, or mutant births, then you should probably stay home. If you want to see tentacled hell beasts issuing from poisoned wombs and chowing down on yuppies, then you should definitely come on down. Remember to wear a raincoat, because this movie will shower you in filth.
Part of Sir Run Run Shaw Tribute.
Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York and Celestial Pictures.
Reminder: There will be at least this many intriguing choices every day for the next two weeks. A wide variety of films across genres and nations. An abundance of riches. This is one of the very best film events of the year, and it happens every year. Don’t ever say you ain’t lucky, New York. For a terrific overview of some of the highlights of this year’s NYAFF, check out this great article at Film Comment.
Stay tuned for daily updates from us here at Daily Grindhouse, and hey, if you’d like to find out which screenings I’ll personally be at, you know where to find me (Twitter, etc.) …
— JON ABRAMS.
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