Christmas comes in June and July with the unbelievably entertaining New York Asian Film Festival! Now in its 13th year, the largest Asian film festival in North America is showing 60 films, just about half of which are from China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
The selection is incredibly diverse with comedies, dramas, and action films, some of which are art films and others blockbusters, from all over Asia. Keep in mind Beyond Chinatown is highlighting only about half the films. Be sure to check out the others!
It’s no small effort reading about the films, picking the ones that look interesting, and figuring out which ones you actually have time to see. My suggestion is to see as many films as you can. This festival is a rare chance to see films that you might not otherwise get a chance to see, and it’s a great way to hide from the heat in the air-conditioned theaters. Take a look at the full schedule and their trailer:
This year, the festival has two special focuses: Hong Kong Forever! which showcases the revival of HK cinema in 2013 and 2014 with uniquely Hong Kong films and the Sir Run Run Shaw Tribute, a shout-out to Run Run Shaw (邵逸夫), one of the most important figures in Hong Kong cinema and a philanthropist who passed away this year at the age of 106.
At first glance, based on the synopses and trailers, in addition to the four recommendations above, I’d go see Hong Kong comedies (I’m a sucker for them) 3-D Naked Ambition, Golden Chicken, and Golden Chickensss. The foodie in me wants to see Zone Pro Site: The Movable Feast. Silent Witness also looks intriguing.
I don’t know how they do it, but the staff at Subway Cinema really know how to make every film sound like a must-see. Beyond Chinatown’s synopses may be drab and matter-of-fact introductions, but we have trailers!
Hope to see some of you there!
We’ll follow-up with another post that compiles reviews, but in the meantime the films would like to introduce themselves:
Saturday, June 28, 9:15pm at the Walter Reade Theater
Aberdeen (香港仔) (Hong Kong) – Pang Ho-cheung’s (彭浩翔) family drama about Hong Kongers in midlife crises.
Thursday, July 10, 3:30pm at Walter Reade Theater
Apolitical Romance (对面的女孩杀过来 / 對面的女孩殺過來) (Taiwan) – A cross-strait romantic comedy.
Sunday, July 13, 7:20pm at Asia Society
As the Light Goes Out (救火英雄) (Hong Kong/China, 2014) – A “testosterone-fueled soap opera” about firefighters by director Derek Kwok (郭子健).
Sunday, June 29, 12:30pm at Walter Reade Theater
Blind Massage (推拿) (China/France, 2014) – “Easily the most powerful and innovative Asian film of this year,” this metaphysical films tells the story of a blind and partially-sighted masseurs and masseuses at a massage center in Nanjing.
Monday, June 30, 8:45pm at Walter Reade Theater;
Wednesday, July 2, 2:30pm at Walter Reade Theater
The Chinese Boxer (龙虎斗/ 龍虎鬥) (Hong Kong, 1970) – The first worldwide martial arts blockbuster.
Sunday, July 6, 3:30pm at Walter Reade Theater
Thursday, July 10, 5:40pm at Walter Reade Theater
The Delinquent (愤怒青年 / 憤怒青年) (Hong Kong, 1973) – “One of the most aggressively experimental action movies ever to come out of Shaw Brothers” tells the story of a ne’er do well who joins a gang and is quickly faced with the choice of betraying his family. Part of the Sir Run Run Shaw Tribute.
Sunday, July 13, 3:00pm at Asia Society
Firestorm 3D (风暴 / 風暴) (Hong Kong/Malaysia, China, 2013) – Andy Lau (劉德華 /刘德华) stars in this high-octane cop movie.
Wednesday, July 9, 9:15pm at Walter Reade Theater
From Vegas to Macau (赌城风云 / 賭城風雲) (Hong Kong/China, 2014) – In this movie, one of the biggest hits of the year in Hong Kong and a blockbuster in China, two con artists join a gambling wizard’s scheme to fleece millions from a criminal. Part of the Hong Kong Forever! series.
Friday, July 4, 6:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Golden Chicken (金鸡 / 金雞) (Hong Kong, 2002) – Sandra Ng (吳君如 / 吴君如) won the Best Actress award at the Golden Horses for her portrayal of a prostitute who takes viewers through the history of Hong Kong.
Saturday, June 28, 12:30pm at Walter Reade Theater
Friday, June 27, 8:30pm at Walter Reade Theater, star Sandra Ng will be in attendance;
Tuesday, July 1, 4:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Kano (Taiwan, 2014) – NYAFF’s centerpiece presentation is the highly regarded masterpiece that tells the true story of the Kagi Agriculture and Forestry Public School’s baseball team, a pioneering and adversity-defying Taiwanese baseball team from the 1930s.
Director Umin Boya will be in attendance
Sunday, June 29, 5:35pm at Walter Reade Theater
Sunday, July 13, 5:10pm at Asia Society
Friday, July 4, 8:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Friday, July 4, 10:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
The Magic Blade (天涯明月刀 ) (Hong Kong, 1976) – This wuxia classic is #85 on Time Out Hong Kong’s list of the Greatest Hong Kong Films of All Time
Monday, July 14, 6:00pm at Asia Society
Wednesday, July 2, 5:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Mr. Vampire (僵尸先生 / 殭屍先生) – A horror-comedy with hopping Chinese vampires.
Friday, July 4, 2:00pm at Walter Reade Theater (double feature with Rigor Mortis)
No Man’s Land (无人区 / 無人區) (China, 2009) – This black satire on capitalism was put aside for four years after it was censored by the Chinese government. A black comedy in the vein of The Road Warrior and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Tuesday, July 1, 9:15pm at Walter Reade Theater
The One-Armed Swordsman (独臂刀) (Hong Kong, 1967) : This classic wuxia film teaches us that the differently-abled can be just as dangerous.
Saturday, July 5, 6:15pm at Walter Reade Theater
Overheard 3 (Hong Kong, 2014) – “An epic saga of loyalty and morality” from the creators of Infernal Affairs (无间道 / 無間道), Alan Mak (麦兆辉 /麥兆輝) / and Felix Chong (莊文強 / 庄文强)
The directors will attend the screening. Part of the Hong Kong Forever! series.
Friday, June 27, 5:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Portland Street Blues (Hong Kong, 1998) – Female Hong Kong gangsters
Saturday, June 28, 3:15pm at Walter Reade Theater
Friday, July 4, 2:00pm at Walter Reade Theater (double-feature with Mr. Vampire)
Friday, June 27, 11:30pm at Walter Reade Theater
Silent Witness (全民目击 / 全民目擊) (China, 2013) – A murder mystery and tale of personal redemption.
Sunday, July 6, 9:15pm at Walter Reade Theater
Soul (失魂) (Taiwan, 2013) – A chef loses control of himself and becomes a serial killer in this beautifully shot art film that was Taiwan’s submission for the Oscars.
Actor Jimmy Wong Yu will attend the first screening and will be presented with NYAFF’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Saturday, July 5, 9:15pm at Walter Reade Theater;
Wednesday, July 9, 1:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Sunday, June 29, 2:50pm at Walter Reade Theater
Zone Pro Site: The Movable Feast (铺师总：移动大厨 / 舖師總：移動大廚) – A Taiwanese food porn movie.
Saturday, July 5, 1:00pm at Walter Reade Theater
Image: New York Asian Film Festival