19 Films from China, HK, and Taiwan at the 14th New York Asian Film Festival

MEETING DR. SUN

New York in the summer is the best, in part because of three Asian film festivals that take place in the first half of the summer — Subway Cinema’s New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), Japan Society’s Japan Cuts, and Asian Cinevision’s Asian American International Film Festival.  Each has their own charms and offer the chance to see films that you might not otherwise be able to see in theaters or online with subtitles.

The 14th New York Asian Film Festival is first.  From June 26 – July 11, 53 films from Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand will be screened at Walter Reade Theatre at Film Society Lincoln Center and for the first time, SVA Theatre’s Beatrice and Silas Theatres and include 1 World Premiere, 3 International Premieres, 13 North American Premieres, 5 U.S. Premieres, and 14 films making their New York City debuts. The festival will be attended by 18 international filmmakers and celebrity guests traveling from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States.

So many of the films intrigue us, but since our focus is on things Chinese, we highlight the programming from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan which includes 19 films, awards ceremonies, and Q&A with directors and actors.

This year’s festival honors two figures in Hong Kong cinema.  Director Ringo Lam (林岭东) will be given the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award prior to the screening of City of Fire on Saturday, June 27, and actor and singer Aaron Kwok (郭富城) will awarded the Star Asia Award at the opening film, Port of Call, on June 26.

Among the guests of this year’s festival are directors Lau Ho-Leung (劉浩良)Emily Ting, and Yee Chih-Yen (易智言), and actor Bryan Greenberg.  They’ll attend screenings of their films.

Two Special Focus programs highlight the unmistakably distinct films of Hong Kong and Taiwan, two relatively places with outsized cultural influences.  Presented with support from the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York, Hong Kong Panorama includes ten films that reflect the Special Administrative Region’s pioneering vision in action and gangster genres, its connection to China, its local sensibilities, and influence on Asian-American filmmakers and identity.  Taiwan Cinema Now!, presented with support from the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, puts the island nation’s contemporary youth culture at the forefront with four films about love and societal pressures.

Our guide below compiles listings and Subway Cinema’s descriptions (they really make each film irresistible) for the films from China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and adds trailers for all but one of the films.  Links to purchase tickets are included with each film’s listing.  We’ve made a sortable table for the films in our compilation that includes each film’s genre to help you figure out what you want to see.

We’re giving away two pairs of tickets to Insanity暴瘋語》 which screens on Sunday, June 28 at 4:30 PM at the Walter Reade Theatre.  For your chance to win a pair, email us at beyondchinatown[at]gmail.com with the subject line “NYAFF Insanity Tickets” by 12 PM Friday.  We’ll select two winners on Friday afternoon!

One of the great things about the NYAFF is its diverse selection of films. The variety of genres, time periods, and countries represented reflect how rich contemporary Asian culture is.  Go see as many films as you can, not just the ones on our list!  The full festival schedule can be found here.


TitleCountryGenreDateLocation
Brotherhood of Blades
《繡春刀》
ChinaAction7/11, 5:45 PMBeatrice Theatre
Cafe. Waiting. Love
《等一個人咖啡》
TaiwanRomance7/9, 7:30 PMBeatrice Theatre
City on Fire
《龍虎風雲》
Hong KongAction6/27, 8:30 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Cold War
《寒战》
Hong KongAction6/27, 12:45 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Full Alert
《高度戒備》
Hong KongAction6/28, 2:00 PMWalter Reade Theatre
A Fool
《一個勺子》
ChinaDrama6/26, 6:00 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Full Strike
《全力扣殺》
Hong Kong-ChinaAction, Comedy7/4, 12:00 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Insanity
《暴瘋語》
Hong KongThriller6/28, 4:30 PMWalter Reade Theatre
It's Already Tomorrow in Hong KongHong Kong-USDrama6/28, 6:45 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Little Big Master
《五個小孩的校長》
Hong Kong-ChinaDrama6/30, 6:00 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Meeting Dr. Sun
《行動代號孫中山》
TaiwanDrama6/30, 8:30 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Partners in Crime
《共犯》
Taiwan-Hong KongCrime, Thriller7/11, 3:15 PMBeatrice Theatre
Port of Call
《踏血尋梅》
Hong KongCrime, Drama, Mystery6/26, 8:30 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Port of Call
《踏血尋梅》
Hong KongCrime, Drama, Mystery6/27, 3:00 PMWalter Reade Theatre
River Road
《家在水草丰茂的地方》
ChinaDrama7/3, 2:50 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Red Amnesia
《闖入者》
ChinaDrama7/3, 12:30 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Robbery
《老笠》
Hong KongBlack Comedy7/5, 1:00 PMWalter Reade Theatre
Second Chance
《逆轉勝》
TaiwanComedy, Drama7/11, 1:00 PMBeatrice Theatre
The Taking of Tiger Mountain
《智取威虎山》
ChinaAction7/10, 10:00 PMSilas Theatre
Two Thumbs Up
《衝鋒車》
Hong KongAction, Drama7/5, 5:30 PMWalter Reade Theatre


Brotherhood of Blades 《繡春刀》

China, 2014
Director: Lu Yang (路阳)
Cast: Chang Chen, Cecilia Liu, Wang Qianyuan, Ethan Li, Nie Yuan
106 minutes; Mandarin with English subtitles

Saturday, July 11, 5:45 PM
SVA Beatrice Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

A one-in-a -million wu xia movie with all the reach, and none of the extravagance, of the biggest epics, Brotherhood of Blades leaves behind the genre’s flying swordsmen, weightless fantasy wirework, and dull speeches about brotherhood to deliver magnificent period action, drama, and characters that are swayed by cold cash and slain by cold steel rather than honor and the hard line of duty. Rich in historical detail, brutal in its depiction of violence, this dark blockbuster demands to be seen on the big screen.

It’s 1627: the Ming Dynasty is dying. The new emperor has exiled the almighty Chief Eunuch, who controls not just the secret police but a shadow society consisting of pretty much all the court officials. Three Imperial assassins are tasked with a late-night murder party to get rid of the Eunuch and his loyalists, but money corrupts… soon, one of them gets handed a bribe big enough to allow Wei to escape. Schemes within schemes follow, as gold flows like a poison and bodies fall like autumn leaves.

The swordplay in this film is all earth-bound, leg-breaking, elbow-to-the-chin, blade-to-the-guts action as 70lb steel cleavers chew through soft flesh and long, swooping Steadicam shots follow fighters through chaotic battles. The imperial assassins include Chang Chen (one of Taiwan’s great actors, best known for his work with Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, and Edward Yang) and actor Zhou Yi-wei is on hand as a honey badger of a blackmailer who just doesn’t give a damn. As old-school as Gunga Din or The Four Feathers, this is the wu xia movie with the dust blasted off and the rust scraped from its edge. It cuts to the bone. It slices through brains. It delivers.


Cafe. Waiting. Love等一個人咖啡》 

Taiwan, 2014
Director: Chiang Chin-lin (江金霖)
Cast: Vivian Sung, Bruce, Megan Lai, Marcus Chang
120 minutes; Mandarin with English subtitles

North American Premiere
Thursday, July 9, 7:30 PM
SVA Beatrice Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Three years after his record-breaking debut, You are the Apple of My Eye, writer/director Giddens Ko has penned an irresistibly zany romantic comedy, based on his book of the same name, this time with Chiang Chin-lin in the director’s seat. Following Siying (Vivian Sung), an undergrad and part-time worker at the titular café, the film zips through unrequited crushes, dreams of travel, hot sausages, bowls of tau fu fah (sweet soya bean pudding), and even the supernatural like a gag-manga inspired bullet. Vivian Sung and Bruce shine as the young leads, sharing a charismatic and electrifying chemistry. Vivian Chow also makes a rare and glamourous  appearance after years of withdrawing from the public eye.


City on Fire龍虎風雲》

Hong Kong, 1987
Director: Ringo Lam (林岭东)
Cast: Chow Yun-Fat, Danny Lee, Suen Yuet, Roy Cheung
100 minutes; Cantonese with English Subtitles

Saturday, June 27, 8:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Director Ringo Lam will attend the screening.

Between August, 1986 and February, 1987, two movies came out that kicked the Hong Kong film industry into high gear, turned Chow Yun-fat into a superstar, and revived their director’s careers. The first was the romantic, hyper-stylized gun opera, ,directed by John Woo, and the second was the gritty, socially outraged heist film, City on Fire, directed by Ringo Lam. Where Woo’s movie was full of grand gestures and larger-than-life characters, Lam’s film was masterfully underplayed with characters who ripped from the headlines. City on Fire is one of the most iconic and legendary Hong Kong movies of all time (so legendary that Quentin Tarantino stole the plot and certain shots for Reservoir Dogs) and it is almost never screened today.

Chow Yun-fat plays a cop who’s gone so deep undercover that only his boss still knows he’s a cop. A bunch of ruthless strong-arm bandits have been ripping off jewelry stores and Chow gets a chance: break up the job they have planned for Christmas, and he can come in from the cold. Chow reluctantly agrees, but winds up discovering that he’s got more in common with the gang foreman, played by Danny Lee, than his own bosses.

Shot in 1986, what does City on Fire have to offer viewers in 2015? Two things. First, the performances. Danny Lee is the cool older brother everyone wishes they had, and bit parts are played by a rogue’s gallery of some of Hong Kong’s best character actors. But it’s Chow Yun-fat’s mercurial undercover cop that still delivers 20,000 watts of star power today. The other thing City on Fire offers is Lam’s worldview. A precursor ofThe Wire, this flick shows us a city whose institutions feed on the blood of the poor. It’s a passionate portrait of the little people trying to eke out a living on either side of the law, and dying for their trouble. City on Fire was released in 1987. 28 years later, that city still burns.


Cold War寒战》

Hong Kong, 2012
Director: Longman Leung (梁乐民) , Sunny Luk (陆剑青)
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Tony Leung Kar-Fai, Charlie Young, Chin Kar-Lok, Andy Lau.
102 minutes; Cantonese with English subtitles

Saturday, June 27, 12:45 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

While the police commissioner is away in Copenhagen a police van on patrol goes missing along with its five officers and hi-tech surveillance gear. Soon the hostage demands are arriving and the police department goes into lockdown under two deputy commissioners who can’t stand each other. One is MB Lee (Tony Leung Kar-fai) a battle-hardened vet who isn’t above a little waterboarding to protect Hong Kong. Opposing him is Sean Lau (superstar Aaron Kwok in a startling performance), a steely technocrat who never walked a beat, and a stickler for respecting the rights of citizens.

When it’s revealed that MB Lee’s son is one of the abducted patrolmen, things start to heat up and Lee starts sending cops into harm’s way, while Lau tries to figure out how to stop him using bureaucratic judo. Office politics become blood sport where a well-timed phone call is worse than a dagger in the back. Winner of nine Hong Kong Film Awards, Cold War is a cracking thriller about Hong Kong’s relationship with China where the police force tears itself apart, the gunsmoke slowly settles, and “The biggest enemy is always on the inside.”


Full Alert 《高度戒備》

Hong Kong, 1997
Director: Ringo Lam (林岭东)
Cast: Lau Ching-Wan, Francis Ng, Amanda Lee, Monica Chan, Jack Kao
98 minutes; Cantonese with English Subtitles

Sunday, June 28, 2:00 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Director Ringo Lam will attend the screening.

Ringo Lam’s last truly “important” movie before his 12-year retirement is a dark, glittering gem of a police procedural that doubles as a masterclass in understatement. Lam doesn’t need to batter audiences over the head with the drama, instead finding it in setting up two gangs – a bunch of cops and a bunch of crooks – making sure we understand how intelligent and ruthless they both are, and then letting them confront each other on the streets of Hong Kong.

Arresting a failed architect (Francis Ng) for a routine murder, Lau Ching-wan’s gang of cops realize that something bigger is going on here. After all, if Ng is just a bad-tempered loser, what’s he doing with all this bomb-making material? It turns out that Ng is planning a massive heist with some cold-blooded Mainland criminals (and he may even have another plan concealed within that one) and it’s up to Lau and Co. to keep him under surveillance. The only flaw with this plan is that Ng and his hired guns are a lot smarter, and much more ruthless, than anyone anticipated.

Deceptively simple, Full Alert was shot right before Hong Kong’s handover to China, and it has an elegiac tone, even as cars hurtle down busy streets at 90mph and gunfire erupts in apartment buildings. Many of its locations have been bulldozed and replaced with Starbucks and bank branches. What you wind up with is a movie that is a high caliber tombstone to not only Hong Kong, but also to action filmmaking, and human kindness. An incredible motion picture that hits audiences hard, Full Alert is a masterpiece in any country.


A Fool 《一個勺子》

China, 2014
Director: Chen Jianbin (陈建斌)
Cast: Chen Jianbin, Wang Xuebing, Jin Shijia

North American premiere
Friday, June 26, 6:00
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

With his directorial debut actor Chen Jianbin walks in the footsteps of A Touch of SinNo Man’s Land, and Black Coal, Thin Ice and offers a hard-edged mainland noir where kindness and cruelty, madness and reason, greed and humanity all struggle for dominance and the fool might not be who you think . The hook here is Chen’s amazing performance as the simple, slightly crude Latioazi, a goat farmer who has a son in jail. When a young mentally handicapped man follows him home one day and enters his life, it sets off a blaze and a chain of events follows, which bares China’s class divide raw. His random act of reluctant kindness invites a parade of strangers and grifters all intent on draining Latioazi of what little he has.


Full Strike 《全力扣殺》

Hong Kong-China, 2015
Director: Derek Kwok Chi-Kin (郭子健), Henri Wong (黃智亨)
Cast: Josie Ho, Ekin Cheng, Ronald Cheng, Tse Kwan-Ho, Andrew Lam, Wilfred Lau
108 minutes; Cantonese and Hakka with English Subtitles

US Premiere
Saturday, July 4, 12:00 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Director Derek Kwok loves his losers, whether it’s the geriatric martial arts masters of Gallants, or the hapless demon hunter of Stephen Chow’s Journey to the West. Now, he turns his attention to badminton and transforms it into a martial art. Washed-up former 90’s pop star, Ekin Cheng, plays one of three crooks fresh out of prison and desperate to start new lives. Josie Ho plays the washed-up former badminton champion who agrees to be their Yoda. Full of berserk camerawork, crazed performances, meteors shaped like shuttlecocks, and a go-for-broke, anything-for-the-joke attitude, this is a scorched earth comedy that leaves the screen in tatters and doesn’t end until the last racquet explodes.


Insanity暴瘋語》

Hong Kong, 2014
Director: David Lee Kuan Yew (李光耀)
Cast: Lau Ching-Wan, Huang Xiaoming, Alex Fong, Fiona Sit, Nina Paw
99 minutes; Cantonese with English subtitles

North American Premiere
Sunday, June 28, 4:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

In this psychological thriller produced by Derek Yee (The Great Magician, One Night in Mongkok), a psychiatrist Chow Ming-Kit (Huang Xiaoming) is lured to the dark side of the mind by his patient and convicted murderer Fan Kwok-Sang (Lau Ching-Wan). Three years before the film starts Fan was committed to a psychiatric hospital after his paranoia and violent temper led to the accidental death of his wife Wai-Ling (Michelle Ye). Now he’s up for release and Chow vouches for him against the objections of his seniors and quickly finds his career on an upward swing. Fan isn’t doing as well, and after a terrible incident Chow finds himself desperate to defend Fan and his career. Lau Ching-Wan is wonderful here as he ravishes this role and goes from anger to contrition to plotting in rapid fire sequences causing a sort of audience whiplash in the process.


It’s Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong

Hong Kong-U.S., 2014
Director: Emily Ting
Cast: Jamie Chung, Bryan Greenberg, Richard Ng
78 minutes; English

New York Premiere
Sunday, June 28, 6:45 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Director Emily Ting, Actors Jamie Chung, and Bryan Greenberg will attend the screening.

Purchase Tickets Here

Set among Hong Kong’s expat community, where foreigners can live for 10, 20, or even 30 years without ever putting down roots, IATIHK is a look at a world that isn’t the West, but it isn’t the East either. Starring Bryan Greenberg (One Tree Hill) and Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch, Eden, The Man with the Iron Fists) as two kids in their early 30s who cross paths in Hong Kong one night and walk and talk, it’s that rare movie about the spaces in between: they’re in Hong Kong, but not of Hong Kong; they’re flirting, but not dating; they’re in relationships, but not bound to them; they’re adults, but they act like kids. Like Hong Kong, they exist in a constant state of uncertainty where it feels like at any minute, everything will suddenly change forever, but not yet. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in Hong Kong.

 


Little Big Master 五個小孩的校長》

Hong Kong-China, 2015
Director: Adrian Kwan (關信輝)
Cast: Miriam Yeung, Louis Koo, Winnie Ho
112 minutes; Cantonese with English Subtitles

Tuesday, June 30, 6:00 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

In a world of mayhem-loving blockbusters, it is deeply inspiring that Hong Kong’s runaway box office hit of 2015 is the true story of one woman and five little girls, Miriam Yeung (Love in a Puff) plays a principal who takes a $580/month job running a failing rural kindergarten. With only five students, it’s slated for shutdown the next time one of them drops out, and since the kids have poor parents and tough lives, she figures her job will be to ease their transition. But after meeting the kids she vows to keep the doors open by any means necessary. Like NYC, Hong Kong is split into the haves and have nots, and you’re born into your class. This is the real-life story of one woman who rose up and refused to accept that.


Meeting Dr. Sun 《行動代號孫中山》
Taiwan, 2014
Director: Yee Chih-Yen (易智言)
Cast: Zhan Huai-Ting, Matthew Wei, Joseph Chang, Bryan Chang
94 minutes; Mandarin and Taiwanese with English subtitles
U.S. Premiere
Tuesday, June 30, 8:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Director Yee Chih-Yen will attend the screening.

Purchase Tickets Here

One of the best heist movies you’ll ever see, only this time it’s not about cool professionals pulling off one last job. Instead it’s a deadpan send-up of the genre about two rival gangs of high school students, desperate to pay their school fees, who simultaneously decide to steal their school’s statue of national hero, Dr. Sun Yat-sen, to sell for scrap metal. So stone-faced you almost don’t see the comedy coming until it’s too late, this movie specializes in the absurdity of kids driven to extremes, but what starts as schoolyard slapstick becomes an urgent call for Taiwan’s youth to stand up and fight.


Partners in Crime 《共犯》

Taiwan-Hong Kong, 2014
Director: Chang Jung-Chi (張榮吉)
Cast: Wu Chien-Ho, Teng Yu-Kai, Cheng Kai-Yuan, Yao Ai-Ning
88 minutes; Mandarin with English Subtitles

New York Premiere
Saturday, July 11 at 3:15 PM
SVA Beatrice Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

When a schoolgirl takes a swan dive off her balcony, she hits the street at the feet of three classmates who are total strangers. Convinced that there’s more to her suicide than meets the eye, these kids team up Veronica Mars-style to investigate her to suicide. But instead of being a whodunit, the bottom falls out, one death leads to another, and life becomes a nightmare. Shot through with sudden flashes of light, set in a high school inexplicably located in the middle of a steaming jungle, Partners in Crime is what would happen if David Lynch directed River’s Edge. Much more than the sum of its parts, the mystery at the heart of this story isn’t why did a kid kill herself, but why do we all feel so alone even when we’re in a crowd.


Port of Call 《踏血尋梅》

Hong Kong, 2001
Director: Philip Yung (翁子光)
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Michael Ning, Jessie Li
121 minutes; Cantonese with English Subtitles

Friday, June 26, 8:30 PM, Walter Reade Theatre with Star Asia Award Presentation for Aaron Kwok
Saturday, June 27, 3:00 PM, Walter Reade Theatre with intro and Q&A w/ Aaron Kwok

Purchase Tickets Here

Director Philip Yung’s Port of Call’s central incident is the brutal murder of a young 16-year-old Hunan girl who moved to Hong Kong with her family and fell into prostitution. Winding through time and grounded by Christopher Doyle’s gauzy cinematography, the film follows both the story of the young girl’s descent into sex work and Aaron Kwok’s grizzled detective as he obsessively seeks an answer to the brutality of the murder. Kwok is astonishing here in his career’s best role, with all the tics and haggard body language of a man beaten down by the violence that threatens to drown him at every turn. Stage actor Michael Ning is also chilling as the killer.


River Road 《家在水草丰茂的地方》

China, 2014
Director: Li Ruijin (李睿珺)
Cast: Tang Long, Guo Songtao
103 minutes; Yugur with English subtitles

Friday, July 3, 2:50 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Indie filmmaker Li Ruijun (Fly with the Crane) is back with his fourth feature, a masterfully lensed nomadic road movie set in his dusty native province of Gansu, in Northwestern China. In River Road, Bartel and Adikeer, two Yugur (裕固族) ethnic minority brothers, venture out with their two-humped camels to join their herdsman father, after their grandfather dies, by following a dried-up river bed. The children’s conflicts play out during their long journey while the heart-breaking desertification of the Yugur grazing lands – signifying also the end of a traditional way of life – serves as the backdrop to the drama. More than just a tale of stubborn figures pitted against the unforgiving landscape, the film earns its emotional payoff from the incredible performances of the young leads. Featuring the sand-blown splendor of infinitely sprawling vistas, ghost towns, and touches of the fantastic, River Road is an absolute masterpiece of Chinese filmmaking.


Red Amnesia  《闖入者》

China, 2014
Director: Wang Xiaoshuai (王小帅)
Cast: Lu Zhong, Shi Liu, Feng Yuanzheng, Qin Hao, Amanda Qin
115 minutes; Mandarin with English Subtitles

New York Premiere
Friday, July 3, 12:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

On its busy surface, Beijing Bicycle director Wang Xiaoshuai’s latest film chronicles the hurtful sidelining of an elderly widow, the recently widowed Mrs. Deng (Lu Zhong). Bossy and lonely, she spends her retirement days taking care of her house and pestering her grown-up children, who don’t seem to want her around anymore. The elder son Jun (Feng Yuanzheng) is a successful family man, and in many ways the perfect billboard for the “Chinese Dream”: comfortably living with his wife (Amanda Qin) and their little boy in a nice apartment, driving around in a nice car, and generally enjoying the luxuries and consumerist lifestyle of the global bourgeoisie. The younger son Bing (Qin Hao), gay and rebellious, has a salon and a boyfriend (Han Yibo); his sexuality, unacknowledged by his mother, is cause for tension and resentment. The old lady and her two sons stand as two generations staring at each from across the years, no longer capable of mutual understanding. Thankfully she still finds solace with the ghost of her late husband, who keeps her company.

Beneath the small, everyday hostilities of the family and the hustle and bustle of Beijing life, tragedy is lurking: one day, the humdrum comes to an end with sudden and soon incessant, anonymous phone calls; every time she picks up, no one answers. Relentless, unnerving, the plague of the unidentified phone calls is followed by more physical menace as bricks are thrown at her window and garbage is dumped on her doorstep. Rumors of mysterious murders run wild in the neighborhood. Behind the stalking lie a mysterious tattooed boy, a long-buried secret, and the blood-red shadows of the Cultural Revolution.


Robbery 《老笠》

Hong Kong, 2015
Director: Fire Lee (李家榮)
Cast: Derek Tsang, J. Aire, Lam Suet, Stanley Fung
90 minutes; Cantonese with English subtitles

Sunday, July 5, 1:00 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

An anarcho-absurdist blood-soaked grand guignol indie flick with attitude to burn, this is the pitch perfect youth movie from Hong Kong. A twenty-something punk fancies himself a total player, but the best job he can find is overnight clerk at a convenience store. The other clerk is a cute chick and you’re thinking “rom com,” but then there’s a robbery, a gangster, a shoot-out, and by the time a neighbor is pulling out a homemade bomb, you realize that this violent farce is all about the current situation in Hong Kong where nothing makes sense, the heartless wipe their feet on the hopeless, and you might as well burn it all down because there are no more better tomorrows.

Robbery


Second Chance逆轉勝》

Taiwan, 2014
Director: Wen-Yen Kung (孔玟燕)
Cast: Wen Shang-Yi, P.J. Huang, Angel Yao, Jason Wang
105 minutes; Mandarin and Taiwanese with English Subtitles

Saturday, July 11, 1:00 PM
SVA Beatrice Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Like Rocky except for billiards instead of boxing, and also if Rocky Balboa was a Type-A, overachieving schoolgirl, this flick offers up a stylish twist on the sports movie, getting you to pump your fist for break shots, high runs, and head strings. Like Full Strike, it’s another movie about a washed-up champ who teams up with a younger player for a second chance, this time a young girl who might lose her house after the death of her parents. With charm to burn, a giddy 80s movie love for the underdog, a who’s who of billiards stars making cameos, and super-stylishly shot matches, it’s the summer billiards blockbuster you didn’t know you needed.


The Taking of Tiger Mountain in 3D《智取威虎山》

China, 2014
Director: Tsui Hark (徐克)
Cast: Zhang Hanyu, Tong Leung Ka-Fai, Lin Gengxin, Yu Nan, Tong Liya, Han Geng, Chen Xiao
149 minutes; Mandarin with English subtitles

Friday, July 10, 10:00 PM
SVA Silas Theatre

Purchase Tickets Here

Tsui Hark’s gonzo war movie is China’s 11th highest-grossing movie of all time, and this is the only chance you’ll ever get to see it projected in 3D, the way Tsui Hark intended. Tiger Mountain is a Chinese national epics, but Tsui has reinvigorated this tale of 30 PLA soldiers taking down a 1000-strong bandit army by stripping out the ideology and returning it to its action roots. That means he serves up heaping helpings of tiger attacks, human dogs, a Lord of the Rings-sized mountain fortress, bandits wearing black lipstick, ski attacks, lots of grenades, a tank, a fight on top of a crashing biplane, and a New York City traffic jam.

A spectacular mid-movie set-piece of bandits laying siege to a snowbound village reminds us that Tsui’s sheer cinematic craftsmanship is unequalled today, and that’s only one of the spectacular set-pieces sprinkled over this movie like chocolate chips on a magical motion picture sundae made of fire! Tsui Hark is a 3D true believer and he makes sure that not a second goes by when something isn’t poking, shooting, stabbing, exploding, or leaping off the screen right into your lap, whether it’s tigers, bandits, biplanes, or Tony Leung Kar-fai sporting an outrageous fake nose.


Two Thumbs Up 衝鋒車》

Hong Kong, 2015
Director: Lau Ho-Leung (劉浩良)
Cast: Francis Ng, Simon Yam, Patrick Tam, Mark Cheng
102 minutes; Cantonese with English subtitles

North American Premiere
Sunday, July 5, 5:30 PM
Walter Reade Theatre

Director Lau Ho-leung will attend the screening.

Purchase Tickets Here

Following a 16 year stretch in a Malaysian prison Big F (Francis Ng) gathers his old crew together for one last big heist. Their brilliant (if a bit deranged) plan? Steal parts off of junker police vans, turn their minibus into a heist vehicle above the law, and rob mainland corpses stuffed with cash that are being transported over the border. Only two problems: they weren’t the first to have this idea, and they are beginning to like being cops. Shoot outs, bicycle chases, kidnappings, bowling and cockroach infestations ensue. The cast is a who’s who of Hong Kong genre actors, and prolific screenwriter Lau’s directorial debut is stylish and fun. This is the type of film that made audiences fall in love with Hong Kong films in the first place.


The Walter Reade Theatre at Film Society Lincoln Center of is located at 165 W. 65th St., between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.  Tickets for films at this theatre can be purchased online from Film Society Lincoln Center or at the box office.

SVA Theatre’s Beatrice and Silas Theatres are located at 333 W. 23rd St., between 8th and 9th Avenues.  Tickets for films at these theatres can be purchased online from SVA Theatre or at the box office.

Image: Meeting Dr. Sun, courtesy New York Asian Film Festival