Weekends at the New York Asian Film Festival mean time for the energy and eclecticism to get amped up several notches, which, if you’ve been paying attention so far, is really saying something. Things have been pretty exciting and esoteric already. Today brings a teen melodrama, a femme-centric circus story, a meta throwback, a violent crime film from a modern filmaking titan, a 1980s ninja movie a.k.a. the best genre ever, and a late-night horror premise that I can honestly say I’ve never encountered before. And I’ve seen shit that’d turn you white. Read on, amigos…
Here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
KANG YI-KWAN, 2012
SOUTH KOREA | 107 MINUTES
North American Premiere!
16-year-old Jang Ji-Gu takes care of his ill grandfather, while he hangs out with other troubled kids. Abandoned by his parents at an early age, he is sent to a detention center following a run-in with the law—where he hears that his estranged mother Hyo-Seung, who gave him up soon after his birth, has come for him. Can they repair their relationship?
COMRADE KIM GOES FLYING
KIM GWANG-HUN, NICHOLAS BONNER, ANJA DAELEMANS, 2013
BELGIUM/U.K./NORTH KOREA | 81 MINUTES
New York Premiere!
Girl power North Korean style! This fun Technicolor tale follows the exploits of a young female miner who has long held an ambition of becoming an acrobat. When she travels to Pyongyang to work on a construction project, a trip to the circus both reawakens her desire and gives her an opportunity to finally pursue her dream.
AOZARU SHIAO, KITAMURA TOYOHARU, 2013
TAIWAN | 124 MINUTES
North American Premiere! Co-director Aozaru Shiao in person for Q&A at July 5 screening!
As light and frothy as a bottle of champagne, Forever Love is the hit Taiwanese film about the local film industry in the late 60s when movies were cheap, stars were gods, and spies, giant monsters, and flying swordsmen crossed paths every day during lunch. A giddy, nostalgic, really funny joyride through the history of Taiwanese film.
JOHNNIE TO, 2013
HONG KONG/CHINA | 105 MINUTES
New York Premiere!
Note: Grayed out screenings are currently standby only. A standby line will form at the box office one hour prior to showtime. Available tickets will be released on a first come, first served basis.
Hong Kong’s master filmmaker Johnnie To has navigated the perilous waters of Chinese film censorship to deliver his first Mainland Chinese crime film. After drug cartel head Ming (Louis Koo) is arrested during a raid, he’s persuaded to take part in an undercover operation to take down his own gang in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. Setting up business meetings with his fellow bosses in order to intercept major drug and money transactions and arrest those involved, the crime lord sets about betraying his former accomplices one by one.
A LIFE OF NINJA
LEE TSO-NAM, 1983
TAIWAN | 88 MINUTES
Someone is using ninjas in an attempt to kill miserly and womanizing businessman Chan Ming Fu, and there is no shortage of people with a motive. His wife and sister-in-law both detest him, for starters. The police recruit Kendo teacher and former ninja Chow to protect Chan, but that turns out to be easier said than done.
RICO MARIA ILARDE, 2012
PHILIPPINES | 90 MINUTES
North American Premiere!
Never before has a haunted appliance had this many tentacles and craved this much human blood. A successor to the iconic horror short, Pridyider, that launched the Filipino horror anthology film SHAKE, RATTLE AND ROLL (1984), horror director Rico Maria Llarde offers up a gleeful, gory, sexy horror movie about an evil refrigerator that terrorizes a young woman.
If you can read that and not want to go see it, you have a stronger constitution than I, my friend.
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Tags: Action Film, Asian Cinema, China, Crime, Drama, Evil Refrigerators, Friday, Hong Kong, Horror, Johnnie To, Jon Abrams, New York, Ninjas, North Korea, Phillippines, Pyongyang, South Korea, Taiwan, The Circus