We’re more than halfway through the New York Asian Film Festival, and I hope I’m succeeding in my goals: To persuade you to attend, if you’re anywhere near New York; to make you insanely jealous if you aren’t; and to urge you to seek any of these films out on your own in case you miss the screenings as they happen. There’s almost no way, even for New Yorkers, to make all of these screenings, but for me personally, it’s been a blast to learn of the existence of cool and crazy films I’d never have known about otherwise. Typically, all of today’s screenings look incredible, but I may be most interested in tonight’s THE WARPED FOREST, a surreal epic that looks jam-packed with bizarre and hilarious imagery. See what you think.
Here are today’s screenings, with pictures & summaries courtesy of the festival:
AN INACCURATE MEMOIR
LEON YANG, 2012
CHINA | 105 MINUTES
North American Premiere!
One part Chinese Western, one part black comedy, and one part war movie, An Inaccurate Memoir is about an anti-Japanese resistance fighter who infiltrates a gang of bandits to enlist their help in assassinating a Japanese prince due in town at any minute. But though the bandits, a mix of horny men and greedy women, may be crack fighters, they’d rather go whoring and stuff themselves with lavish meals than liberate China. (12:30pm)
THE KIRISHIMA THING
DAIHACHI YOSHIDA, 2012
JAPAN | 103 MINUTES
New York Premiere!
When high school star athlete and all-around golden boy Kirishima drops out of the volleyball team and disappears, his fellow students try to figure out what his motivations and whereabouts could be, and uncomfortably take stock of their own place in the school’s social structure. A careful examination of the power struggles, class warfare, social angst, and drama of an entire high school as seen through the lens of Kirishima’s absence. (2:45pm)
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. (5:15pm)
ONE PERFECT DAY
Kim Jee-woon | South 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.
THE LAST SUPPER
LU CHUAN, 2012
CHINA/HONG KONG/TAIWAN | 115 MINUTES
As the first Han Emperor dies in 300 BC, his life flashes before his eyes in a splintered kaleidoscope of battle, betrayal, loves sold out, and romances sold short. Lu Chuan (THE CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, KEKEXILI) is one of China’s rising star directors and THE LAST SUPPER is his best yet, telling the story of the Han Dynasty in the form of an epic fever dream. (8:00pm)
SHUNICHIRO MIKI, 2011
JAPAN | 82 MINUTES
North American Premiere!
Six years ago, directors Shunichiro Miki, Katsuhito Ishii, and Hajime Ishimine teamed up to deliver FUNKY FOREST: THE FIRST CONTACT. Now Shunichiro Miki, flying solo this time, is back with the tale of a giant shop-girl who can barely fit in her store, a weird green pod in every bedroom, and terrifying wood nymphs who provide a heartbroken woman with the anatomically correct fruit everyone seems to covet. (10:30pm)
Take it from me: You’re going to want to know what that gun does.
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Tags: Aliens, arnold schwarzenegger, Asian Cinema, Bandits, China, comedy, Dicks, Drama, High School, History, Hong Kong, Jon Abrams, Kim Jee-woon, Lee Won-suk, New York, Rinko Kikuchi, Romance, South Korea, Swords, Taiwan, War, Westerns, Whoring