Okay, so things change up some today. The New York Asian Film Festival has a few more days in it yet, but it’s time at Lincoln Center is nearly done. As both a New Yorker and a movie fanatic of the most wide-ranging taste, I am pleased and proud that arguably the city’s single most highbrow venue has been a temporary home to such a broad spectrum of Asian cinema, from the mainstream and the crowd-pleasing to the violent, the vulgar, and the one about the killer refrigerator. Applause all around!
But it’s not over: I love Lincoln Center but I’ve had occasion to visit the Japan Society as well, and it’s an equally lovely place to watch films. Today they have a Toshiaki Toyoda and a Takashi Miike. Over the next couple days there will be many more. I will gather up summaries here, as always, for your reading pleasure.
NYAFF is being presented by Subway Cinema (visit them here), and today’s screenings are taking place at the Film Society Of Lincoln Center (find a more complete rundown here) and Japan Society (their site here).
Here are today’s screenings, first the ones which are showing at Lincoln Center (scroll down further for the Japan Society lineup), with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
LOU YE, 2012 CHINA/FRANCE | 95 MINUTES
China’s acclaimed art house director Lou Ye makes a welcome comeback in the Chinese film industry after being banned for almost five years. All about a middle class marriage that implodes in a collision of sex, murder, infidelity, and vehicular mayhem, MYSTERY won Best Film at the Asian Film Awards.
HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS
LEE WON-SUK, 2013 SOUTH KOREA | 114 MINUTES
North American Premiere! Director Lee Won-suk in person for Q&A!
Half romcom, half satire of the Korean film industry, this wacky and charming tale follows an overworked woman’s attempt to improve her relationship with men, by relying on a self-help video.
ONE PERFECT DAY
Kim Jee-woon S
outh Korea | 2013 | 34m
Fresh off from directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in THE LAST STAND, Kim Jee-woon tries his hand at romantic comedy in this tale of a hapless young man who stumbles through a number of terrible blind dates before finding someone who might be his Mrs. Right.
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?
On July 11, screens with:
Park Chan-Wook, Park Chan-Kyung | South Korea | 2012 | 18m
A master and his student visit a mountain to practice pansori (a genre of traditional Korean music) following a music competition that left the student disappointed in his performance.
JANG CHEOL-SOO, 2013 KOREA | 123 MINUTES
Centerpiece Presentation! International Premiere! Director Jang Cheol-Soo in person for Q&A!
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.
Based on the webtoon series “Covertness,” SECRETLY GREATLY stars three of Korea’s hottest young TV stars (Kim Soo-Hyun, Lee Hyun-Woo, Park Ki-Woong) as a trio of elite North Korean sleeper agents who have lived undercover in South Korea for so long that they now believe their own cover stories as an average joe, a wannabe singer and a high school student. Finally they get their first mission: kill each other. If they don’t get the job done, Pyongyang will send a hit team to take care of things.
Now for the Japan Society screenings:
LESSON OF THE EVIL
For the first time in New York
Co-presented with the New York Asian Film Festival
The real Takashi Miike is back! After years of making restrained commission studio works like Hara Kiri, and getting invited to Cannes and treated like a respectable adult, Japan’s cinematic wild man Takashi Miike returns. Based on a bestselling horror novel, clean cut pop star Hideaki Ito plays Mr. Hasumi, a young, popular, good-looking teacher at an elite high school. Beloved by his students and popular with pretty much everyone, it turns out Mr. Hasumi is actually a teacher of evil with a fondness for killing his students.
Japan. 2012. 128 min.HD CAM, in Japanese with English subtitles. Directed by Takashi Miike. With Hideaki Ito, Takayuki Yamada, Takehiro Hira, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Shota Sometani.
18+ This film is unrated, but may only be viewed by persons 18 years of age and older.
I’M FLASH! ***SOLD OUT***
Introduction and Q&A with Director Toshiaki Toyoda
Co-presented with the New York Asian Film Festival
Wild boy director Toshiaki Toyoda has been a NYAFF and JAPAN CUTS favorite, releasing UFOs (unidentified film objects) like his samurai arthouse experiment, BLOOD OF REBIRTH and the Unabomber biopic MONSTERS’ CLUB, but now he returns to deliver a sun-drenched gangster thriller somewhere between early Takeshi Kitano and a diurnal version of Winding Refn’s DRIVE. Donning a rockstar suntan and obscenely good looks, Tatsuya Fujiwara plays Rui Yoshino, the charismatic leader of a religious sect calling itself “Life is Beautiful.” Life is indeed beautiful for the cocky cult leader, whose many followers (particularly the female ones) treat him as a role model, escape route and god. One hot night, he picks up a young woman called Rumi (Kiko Mizuhara) and takes her out on a drunken drive that turns out to be less of a cruise to short-term earthly pleasures than a fateful ride: they crash the fancy sports car and kill a motorcyclist, leaving Rumi in a coma and Rui in deep trouble. The young guru miraculously escapes unscathed, but during that brief ride some kind of restlessness has stirred within his soul. And that’s when events start to spin out of control.
Japan. 2012. 91 min. 35mm, in Japanese with live English subtitles. Directed by Toshiaki Toyoda. With Tatsuya Fujiwara, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kiko Mizuhara, Shigeru Nakano, Kento Nagayama.
Followed by the I’M FLASH Opening Party!
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Tags: Asian Cinema, Cars, China, Cults, Evil, Gangsters, High School, Horror, japan, Jon Abrams, Kim Jee-woon, Korea, Lee Won-suk, New York, Nicolas Winding Refn, park chan wook, Religion, Spies, Takashi Miike, Thrillers, Toshiaki Toyoda