The 15th NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL

by Kung Fu Bob O'Brien on June 21, 2016 · 0 comments in Buddhist Blog

It’s back, and celebrating its 15th birthday! Tomorrow the NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, a relatively youthful, but beloved event from the folks at the Film Society Lincoln Center and co-presented with Subway Cinema, begins with a bang. As always the festival is jam-packed with an amazing assortment of films from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia, with many genres- martial arts action, drama, comedy, social commentary, horror, romance, gangster, art film, and more represented. But it’s not just the wonderful movies being shown that should interest fans, it’s also an exciting line-up of guests as well as special events and parties.

For all the info you need, including the films showing, schedules, locations, etc, please head here: Film Society Lincoln Center http://www.filmlinc.org/festivals/new-york-asian-film-festival/

But just to whet your appetite, here’s a few movies they’ll be showing that really caught my eye…

The header photo up above is from China’s THE BODYGUARD (2016), not to be confused with the Sammo Hung film which has since been re-named (and is also showing at the festival). The director/star, Yue Song (THE KING OF THE STREETS, 2012) appears to be channeling a serious ’80s action vibe, but with a more current hard-hitting action style. The early trailers claimed we’ll be seeing “The Next Bruce Lee!” Well, I haven’t heard that one in a while. Plus, according to the advertizing the filmmakers eschewed CGI and wire-work trickery for more traditional, “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” martial arts talent and hard work. The trailer certainly got my attention. Check it out here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZId6u28MtY

Hong Kong comedian Stephen Chow (KUNG FU HUSTLE, 2004) has been staying behind the camera recently, and his newest directorial effort is the comedy-romance-fantasy film THE MERMAID (2016). It’s another winner, with an especially endearing performance from actress Jelly Lin, colorful visuals, eye-popping FX, and plenty of laughs. Ms. Lin will be in attendance and take part in a Q&A after the film screens. Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvMk7Z0Sp7E

An exciting title from South Korea is director Woo Min-ho’s dark political drama-thriller INSIDE MEN (2015), starring the always engaging Lee Byung-hun as a dangerous thug thwarting the plans of a presidential candidate hopeful. The film must have something going for it, because it’s now the highest-grossing R-rated film in Korean history! Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFqPiGgFSDk

Another South Korean entry is SEOUL STATION (2015), a zombie thriller that’s also a biting (yup, I went there) social commentary. It’s directed by Yeon Sang-ho, the man who made the excellent, thought-provoking KING OF PIGS (2011), and like that, this tale is also told via animation. If it’s anywhere near as stunning and emotionally visceral as PIGS, audiences are in for quite a ride. Want a peek? Here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SmxfPactXw

The one and only Sammo Hung, Hong Kong’s renowned stuntman-actor-fight choreographer is finally stepping back into the director’s chair, and starring in a dramatic action thriller. Hung plays a retired bodyguard with one last job he can’t deny, and a troubling medical condition to overcome. I can hardly wait to see this! Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWzLI4pZH5o

If you are a fan of the 1996 Japanese film SWALLOWTAIL BUTTERFLY and 2001’s ALL ABOUT LILY CHOU-CHOU (both which are being shown), then you’ll definitely want to attend, as director Iwai Shunji will be there for both screenings, and also to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award and show his new film A BRIDE FOR RIP VAN WINKLE (2016). Whether you are already a fan, or this would be your first time experiencing his films, THIS is the way to do it. In the theater on the big screen where they belong, and with the man that made them there to share his thoughts.

I’ve really barely skimmed the surface of what’s happening at the festival (I didn’t even mention the “demonic pig”!), so be sure to check out http://www.filmlinc.org/festivals/new-york-asian-film-festival/  for more details. Please go, support the festival, and have a great time! Hope to see you there.

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