Look out, here comes sex! Day Five of the New York Asian Film Festival brings a high school drama, a music documentary, a plastic surgery horror movie, and a whole mess of ninjas. Beyond that, today’s slate seems to have a distinctly female flavor, which is always welcome. We’ve had a bunch of high-kicking, gun-blasting manly movies already at the NYAFF and will still have plenty more. It’s more than fine by me if it’s time to spotlight a few more lady-faces than usual, even if one of them apparently turns into a monster face by movie’s end. Read on…
Here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
dir. Kevin Dayrit, 2012
Philippines | 74 minutes
After it won “Best Short Film” at Sundance, Kevin Dayrit expanded his pocket-sized flick into a weirdly intimate, blood-soaked hyperactive friendship flick about two BFFs and the abusive dad who comes between them. Liv is an introvert at home, due to the overbearing and abusive obsessive compulsive behavior of her father, but relaxes and runs free once she is out from under his roof and in the company of Cieca, a quiet but jaded girl who scrutinizes the world around her. That is, until her father intervenes.
dir.Gino M. Santos, 2012
Philippines | 80 minutes
Set in an ultra-luxe, gated community and marinated in money, this teen party movie is an indictment of the 1% that has the Philippines in a death grip. The film chronicles a day in the life of Jake, Trina, and Alex, who go through the musings that every kid in high school has to deal with. All Jake wants to do is have a good time, Alex just wants to fit in, and Trina simply wants more. A vivid picture of high school life after the final bell rings, as well as the other side of the Philippines class divide, and what its privileged children are up to.
THE CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA a.k.a. CHINESE SUPER NINJA 2
| Lee Tso-Nam, 1983
Taiwan | 90 minutes
This martial arts sexploitation film is about Lovely Lady Ninja Wong Siu Wai (Elsa Yeung) who has been training in Japan in the art of the ninjitsu. Able to fly, vanish in seconds, split into double-exposed duplicates, and create explosions of multicolored smoke, Siu-Wai dazzles her opponents by spinning out of her clothes and even fighting in her pink bikini. She returns to China due to the death of her father, and discovers that her fiancé Lee Tung (Chen Kuan-Tai) is to blame and has betrayed her. She gathers a gang of sexy female warriors and puts them through some rigorous ninjitsu training before leading a rebellion against rock transvestite samurai warriors in miniskirts and go-go boots.
THE GREAT WAR
| Yan Yan Mak, 2013
Hong Kong | 97 minutes
Gala Presentation! Director Yan Yan Mak and members of Grasshopper and Softhard in person for Q&A! Special ticket price: $15!
A surprisingly personal and revealing documentary about the concert battle between legendary Cantopop band Grasshopper and hip hop duo Softhard. Directed by Yan Yan Mak (BUTTERFLY, MERRY-GO-ROUND) doesn’t just fill out the running time with interviews and performance footage, but also shows the concert from the point of view of several audience members (including a Hong Kong legislative council member). With this, Mak takes the show beyond the entertainment industry bubble to show a broader perspective to convey what these pop culture events mean to the audience.
| Mika Ninagawa, 2012
Japan | 127 minutes
New York Premiere!
One of Japan’s most popular photographers, Mika Ninagawa, and its most controversial young star, Erika Sawajiri, team up to deliver a plastic surgery horror movie that’ll make your skin crawl. Lilico (Erika Sawajiri) is a monstrous Lady Gaga-esque singer and actress obsessed with her own young body, eating up employees, and existing on a diet of flashbulbs. Constructed almost entirely of plastic surgery, she requires frequent “top ups,” but they’re not working anymore and her face and body are slowly turning as black and rotten as bruised fruit.
And now, more pictures of ninjas…
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