Day nine! The 14th New York Asian Film Festival is still charging ahead here in New York City, and we’re still posting up the schedules every day — if not for you to attend the screenings as they happen, then at least to discover some cool new stuff to add on to your to-watch lists!
Here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
DEREK KWOK, HENRI WONG, 2015
HONG KONG/CHINA | CANTONESE, HAKA, AND ENGLISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 108 MINUTES
Director Derek Kwok loves his losers, whether it’s the geriatric martial arts masters of GALLANTS, or the hapless demon hunter of Stephen Chow’s JOURNEY TO THE WEST. Now, he turns his attention to badminton and transforms it into a martial art. Washed-up former ’90s pop star Ekin Cheng plays one of three crooks fresh out of prison and desperate to start new lives. Josie Ho plays the washed-up former badminton champion who agrees to be their Yoda. Full of berserk camerawork, crazed performances, meteors shaped like shuttlecocks, and a go-for-broke, anything-for-the-joke attitude, this is a scorched earth comedy that leaves the screen in tatters and doesn’t end until the last racquet explodes.
Part of HONG KONG PANORAMA. Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York.
DAIHACHI YOSHIDA, 2010
JAPAN | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 99 MINUTES
“8/10. Yoshida doesn’t put a foot wrong” — Derek Elley, Film Business Asia
Naoko, played by the dreamy Miho Kanno (best known for her role in Kitano’s DOLLS) returns to her hometown, a fishing village on Shikoku Island, with her preschool daughter Momo. She’s leaving behind a messy divorce and an abusive husband. Her tough mother Masako (Mari Natsuki) runs the only hair salon in the vicinity, “Permanent Nobara”, an extraordinary place that provides one signature haircut (the perm, a bit like in Naoko Ogigami’s brilliantly funny YOSHINO’S BARBER SHOP) and a shame-free collective confessional where the local women, young and old, come to discuss their most personal love and sex issues. Topics range from the woeful brevity of the average relationship to penis lengths.
Meanwhile, the men, who are mostly sorry losers, chase after the Filipina hostesses at the only snakku in town. Will Naoko find a new beginning and true love among this happy-go-wacky group of oddballs? The odds don’t look so good at first blush, but discreetly, a bit of a romance is rekindled with her high school science teacher Kashima (Yosuke Eguchi, in a fine performance). Perhaps the answer is there.
One of the funniest and strangest comedies to come out of Japan in the past few years, the film shows Yoshida’s trademark directorial craft for the comical intermezzo, fast-paced flashbacks, and bizarre situations perfectly poised between comedy and serious drama. With more sting than a swarm of killer bees, PERMANENT NOBARA gives you 99 minutes of biting humor and uniquely Japanese film bliss.
Presented with the support of Japan Foundation New York.
HONG SEOK-JAE, 2014
SOUTH KOREA | KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 100 MINUTES
Let’s face it: Sooner or later, the Internet is going to kill us all. Whether it’s an innocuous ‘like’ on Facebook or an indiscreet photo on Instagram, social media tags us and our poor choices wherever we go, a blazing electronic footprint which puts us in the crosshairs of an easily-incited digital hate machine. In this curdling petri dish of online outrage, a gaggle of Internet Tough Guys can lead a cross-platform witch hunt to doxx a girl who just tweeted all the wrong things. And it’s all fun and games, until they walk in on a dead body.
The latest from the Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), SOCIALPHOBIA is an ice-cold indie thriller that traces the guilty steps of a group of desperate dweebs who find themselves caught up in an all-too-real mystery beyond the scope of their webcams. Using real kids, real locations, and shorn of big-budget artifice, it’s daylight noir by way of FaceTime. When an unknown tormentor turns the tables on these misogynistic keyboard warriors, all their everyday hypocrisies come spilling out of the closet, and no amount of mealy-mouthed excuses will bring back the dead. Other ‘message’ movies show us who we’d like to be, but SOCIALPHOBIA tells us exactly who we are.
Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Service New York.
RYUICHI HIROKI, 2014
JAPAN | JAPANESE AND KOREAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 136 MINUTES
Q&A with Ryuichi Hiroki and actor Shota Sometani; Sometani will be presented with the Screen International Rising Star Award
Preceded by a Rising Star Award cocktail hour in the Furman Gallery at 5:00pm, open to all ticket holders!
A Korean escort, a porn-star college student, a musician and a policewoman walk into a love hotel and the result is heartbreaking, hilarious and sexy in Ryuichi Hiroki’s (VIBRATOR) multi-strand drama KABUKICHO LOVE HOTEL. Taking place over 24 hours in a Tokyo love hotel the film focuses on pairings of various patrons and workers in the famous red light district. Given Hiroki’s start in indie-pink films you might think a film set in the red light district was a return to form, but the film is more in line with his recent mainstream melodramas: interested in emotional connections than physical ones. Not that there aren’t several racy scenes performed with gusto by the young and attractive cast filled with both pop stars, Atsuko Maeda (AKB48) and Roy (5tion), and up and coming young thespians, Shota Sometani (this year’s Screen International Rising Star Award winner) and Lee Eun-woo (MOEBIUS). Connections both inane and important are threaded under Hiroki’s deft hands and mistakes and melancholy haunt the characters as they work through their day. An exciting combination of the director’s soft-core start and melodramatic transformation, KABUKICHO LOVE HOTEL is a rewarding, steamy and poignant character-driven ensemble drama that looks at the lives of ordinary people as they experience life-changing events.
Images © 2014 Kabukicho Love Hotel Film Partners.
SION SONO, 2014
JAPAN | JAPANESE WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES | FORMAT: DCP | 116 MINUTES
Introduction by actor Shota Sometani
Just when you thought that Sion Sono’s work can’t get any crazier and more imaginative after 2013’s WHY DON’T YOU PLAY IN HELL?, here comes TOKYO TRIBE – a berserk rap musical action drama about warring gangs in the near-future Tokyo, almost entirely told in rhyme, populated by a gallery of off-beat, super-fueled, and extreme characters, all competing for the control of the dystopian megalopolis, eventually having to unite to fight a bigger evil. Based on the popular manga series “Tokyo Tribe 2? by Santa Inoue, the film’s large cast includes Shota Sometani as the film’s MC, Riki Takeuchi (Takashi Miike’s DEAD OR ALIVE) as the sleazy Lord Bubba, Ryohei Suzuki (HENTAI KAMEN: FORBIDDEN SUPERHERO) as a blond-haired testosterone-charged gang leader, Nana Seino (DANGER DOLLS) as the main heroine, and rapper-actor Dais Young. So let Master Sono transport you to a world full of killer rhymes, B-boy battles, high-kicking girls, pervy silliness, wild action (choreographed by Tak Sakaguchi, working under a pseudonym), and filled with so many baroque visual flourishes that the entire movie feels like Versailles stabbing you in both eyes, as you keep asking for more.
— JON ABRAMS (@jonnyabomb).
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Tags: Andrew Lam, Asian Cinema, Atsuko Maeda, Byun Yo-Han, China, Chizuru Ikewaki, comedy, Daihachi Yoshida, Dais Young, Derek Kwok, Eiko Koike, Ekin Cheng, Henri Wong, Hong Kong, Hong Seok-Jae, japan, Josie Ho, Lee Eun-Woo, Lee Joo-Seung, Miho Kanno, Mika Kano, Nana Seino, New York, NYAFF, Riki Takeuchi, Ronald Cheng, Roy (Son Il-Kwon), Ryohei Suzuki, Ryuichi Hiroki, Ryuta Sato, Screenings, Shoko Nakagawa, Shota Sometani, Shunsuke Daito, Sion Sono, South Korea, tak sakaguchi, Takuya Ishida, Tse Kwan-Ho, Wilfred Lau, Yosuke Eguchi, Yui Ichikawa