Today is July Fourth, Independence Day, also known as the day in history when your humble tour guide was unforgivably late with your daily update on The New York Asian Film Festival. It’s too late as I write for anyone to check out the epic crime series YOUNG AND DANGEROUS, but if you hurry, you have 45 minutes to make THE LAST TYCOON. It looks to be worth it. Good old Chow Yun-Fat, rocking a slick white suit and firing pistols the way we all love to see him, this time out in a story based on a real-life gangster. And speaking of which, this evening’s GANGSTER, from Thailand, looks thoroughly fascinating. It’s being called “the Thai GOODFELLAS,” but you all know how I feel about those comparisons and besides, the descriptions all sound a lot more like A PROPHET to me. Either comparison is a good neighborhood to be caught in, however, so give GANGSTER a look.
Here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 1 & 2
ANDREW LAU, 1996
HONG KONG | 198 MINUTES
Director & Cinematographer Andrew Lau in person for Q&A!
YOUNG AND DANGEROUS s isn’t a movie; it’s way of life. A series of 15 films—six movies, four prequels, three spin-offs, and two all-female versions, as well as a parody movie and a reboot—covering the life and times of the Hung Hing criminal triad and the bevy of studly young things who make up its members. The whole thing is the brainchild of Andrew Lau and Wong Jing and the first two movies are the kind of shot-on-the-run flicks that captured lightning in a bottle and became cultural sensations. When the first movie hit it big, director Lau wrote, shot, and released the second in just eight weeks.
THE LAST TYCOON
WONG JING, 2012
HONG KONG/CHINA | 119 MINUTES
North American Premiere! Producer and cinematographer Andrew Lau in person for Q&A!
THE LAST TYCOON stars Chow Yun-fat as real-life criminal Du Yuesheng (whose history has been officially banned as a source of study by the Chinese government), a criminal godfather who shot like a meteor through Shanghai’s underworld, and was a major financial backer of the Kuomintang in their fight against Mao and his Communist rebels.
KONGKIAT KHOMSIRI, 2012
THAILAND | 102 MINUTES
North American Premiere!
Thailand’s answer to GOODFELLAS, GANGSTER is a fact-based tale with documentary segments in which old-timers are interviewed and talk about the young gangsters of 1950s and ’60s Thailand. The film focuses on Jod, a gangster who has been sent to jail following the military coup, which brings new order to the streets. In their neighborhood, a uniformed officer named Neung rules like a dictator and is a frequent thorn in the side of Jod’s gang. When he emerges from prison, Jod is a changed man, now determined to set things right. But, knowing no other life, he returns to his old gangster ways with his old crew.
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