Friday, May 08, 2009

NYAFF 2009!!!

It's back!!
New York Asian Film Festival
June 19 - July 5
IFC Center and Japan Society

If you live in New York City, you know that at any given day there're at least 10 events going on, but the one I look the most forward to every summer is the New York Asian Film Festival. Despite NYC being an international metropolis, it is still hard to catch the latest asian films. NYAFF is the time when I go on asian film beige. Again this year there's an amazing line up with films for everyone. Here's just a few:

Let's start with a few films I'm personally excited about: OLD FISH, where members of Harbin’s bomb squad take on a mad bomber who’s leaving homemade explosives all over the city. What's different about this movie (which Onyx will appreciate) is it's acted mostly by actual cops and bomb squad officers. Then there's romantic comedy from China IF YOU ARE THE ONE, which is the second-highest grossing movie EVER released in China. The original film name is actually "Do Not Disturb If Not Sincere", about a man determined to end his bachelorhood and posts an advertisement, and a heart-broken stewardess who ended an affair with a married man. More than one review says this film goes back to the golden age of romantic films.

For those manga followers, 2008 NYAFF brought Death Note 1 and 2. This year, they have 20 CENTURY BOYS and 20 CENTURY BOYS: CHAPTER TWO- THE LAST HOPE. This award winning manga series is about an ordinary man who realizes that someone is drawing from a book he and his friends created as kids about the end of the world, and making it come true. Will they be able to stop the conspiracy in time? What excites me the most is that rather than trying to stuff the series into one 2 hr film, it's a three part series, and according to wiki, the movie is a faithful adaptation to the manga. I have not read 20 Century Boys, but I'm a big fan of Naoki Urasawa's other series Monster, which you can find them in any major bookstore. There is also ANTIQUE (TRAILER), based off the wildly popular (and I'm not joking about this) shojo manga series Antique Bakery about gorgeous gay men who make even more gorgeous cakes.

On the more serious front is CHILDREN OF THE DARK (TRAILER), a Japense drama that's set (and now banned) in Thailand about child trafficking, both for sex and for their spare organs. Also CLIMBER'S HIGH (TRAILER), about a group of newspapermen covering the real-life tragedy of a 1985 plane crash in the mountains of central Japan.

For martial art addicts, you will not be disappointed: there's Hong Kong historic action complete with battle scenes AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS (TRAILER); there's sexy ridiculous action with a hot girl who is actually a samurai who is actually a cyborg, SAMURAI PRINCESS; there's based off of Bruce Lee's master IP MAN action; there's award winning brutal bloody action BREATHLESS (TRAILER); there's 70's Korea's anti-communist hysteria satire spy comedy action DACHIMAWA LEE; retrospective screening of iconic old school (1978) action flick FIVE DEADLY VENOMS; and just pure comedy action whose plot can be explained with its title: BE A MAN! SAMURAI SCHOOL (TRAILER)

Then there are the beautiful, sensitive dramas: ALL AROUND US, which follows 8 years of marriage of a courtroom sketch artist. Actress Tae Kimura won “Best Actress” for her performance as the wife at the Japanese Academy Awards. CAPE NO. 7 (TRAILER), the highest grossing movie ever released in Taiwan, is a crowd pleasing film about in a tiny seaside town and its civic booster mayor who vows to form a local band to be the opening act for a pop star's concert. How does this have anything to do with 7 love letters that were lost in the war? I have no clue and am excited to find out. Then there's the brutal VACATION, which builds to a powerful punch in the guts as a guard volunteers to holds down the legs of a condemned prisoner when he’s hung in order to get extra vacation time. ROUGH CUT (TRAILER), a high concept action film about a spoiled actor known for playing gangsters who stars in his latest movie with a real life gangster.

I'm personally a sucker for surreal films, so I'm pretty psyched about DREAM, where two people find that their dreams are connected. To make matters worse, one of them is a sleepwalker that acts upon what the other dreams. Also THE CLONE RETURNS HOME (TRAILER), which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival about an astronaut's wife who recieves a clone of her husband when he dies in an accident in orbit. But life can be hard when you’re the clone of a dead man, and soon this photocopied human is lost in the labyrinth of his own artificial memories.

And what would an Asian Film Fes be without its above and beyond over the top ridiculous movies? Samurai zombies! Need I say more? Samurai zombies chasing a happy family on vacation and some mentally unbalanced guys with guns! That's YOROI SAMURAI ZOMBIE (TRAILER). Also the return of hideous space chicken, Guilala, who attacks the G8 Summit and the world leaders must fight back! MONSTER X STRIKES BACK: ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT (TRAILER). From Malaysia is WHEN THE FULL MOON RISES, a “lost” black-and-white thriller from the 60’s with secret communist cults, werewolves, were-tigers, ghosts, private eyes, midgets and eerie secrets,

Check out Subway Cinema for more films and events (including Tokyo Gore Night and Pink Power)!

The films are playing June 19 - July 2 at the IFC Center (323 Sixth Avenue, at West 4th Street) and July 1 - 5 at Japan Society (333 East 47th Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues).