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Thread: ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL Lincoln Center JUNE 30 - JULY 16, 2017

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    ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL Lincoln Center JUNE 30 - JULY 16, 2017



    ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL Lincoln Center JUNE 30 - JULY 16, 2017



    INDEX OF LINKS TO REVIEWS
    Aroused by Gymnopedies (Isao Yukisada 2016)
    Bad Genius (Nattawut Poonpinya 2017)
    Birdshot (Mikhail Red 2016)
    Double Life (Yoshiyuki Kishi 2016)
    Duckweed (Han Han 2017)
    Fabricated City (Park Kwang-hyun
    Gangster's Daughter, The (Chen Mei-juin 2017)
    Jane (Cho hyun-hoon 2017)
    Kfc (L Bnh Giang 2017)
    Mad World (Wang Chun 2016)
    Mole Song, The: Hong Kong Capricio (Takashi Miike 2016)
    Rage (Lee Sang-il 2016)
    Single Rider, A (LeeZoo-young 2017)
    Soul on a String (Zhang Yang 2016)
    Traces of Sin (Kei Ishikawa 2016)
    Truth Beneath, The (Lee Khoung-mi 2016)
    With Prisoners (Andrew Young Kwok-kuen 2016)



    Extraordinary Mission

    FSLC site: click
    Filmleaf Festival Coverage commentary: click

    Get wooed by die-hard romantics, unnerved by devil children, and bear witness to the fury of angry young men on paths of destruction in the sweet sixteenth edition of the New York Asian Film Festival. Wild cinematic outings that always have something to say about the human condition, this summer’s crop of titles range from the heartwarming to the desperately dark. Dive headfirst into the raging sea of talent from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and across South East Asia—filmmakers unafraid to take on controversial subjects and explore complex emotions. -FSLC intro.
    #nyaff Facebook page

    The lineup: click

    China
    Battle of Memories
    Leste Chen 2017 China 119 minutes
    After undergoing a medical procedure to retrieve lost memories, a novelist starts having the recollections of a serial killer. Battle of Memories is a hallucinogenic roller coaster ride built on dream logic, incorporating a stylish visual aesthetic into a tightly woven murder mystery.
    July 1
    10:00 PM
    Blood of Youth
    Yang Shupeng 2016 China 111 minutes
    North American Premiere • Director Yang Shupeng in attendance
    After three vibrant period films, one of China's least-known maverick directors—self-trained fireman-turned-filmmaker Yang Shupeng—makes his first contemporary film, a crime drama about a computer hacker who plays a cat-and-mouse game with police and criminals, pitting one against the other in the midst of a bank heist.
    July 2
    10:00 PM
    Duckweed
    Han Han 2017 China 101 minutes
    After a close encounter with a fast-moving train in 2022, arrogant rally driver Tailang (Deng Cha) is transported back to 1998 and enlisted into the gang led by his own father Zhengtai (Eddie Peng). Boasting a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, multitalented Han Han's sophomore production accelerated past the billion yuan ($150 million) milestone domestically.
    July 15
    12:30 PM
    Extraordinary Mission
    Alan Mak, Anthony Pun 2017 China DCP 120 minutes
    Actor Duan Yihong will be in attendance and will receive the NYAFF 2017 Star Asia Award
    Uber-cop Lin Kai (Huang Xuan) goes deep cover to take down a vicious drug cartel. The stakes are raised to the next level when he is entwined with psychopathic head honcho Eagle, leading to a harrowing journey of forced drug addiction and time bomb pyrotechnics in China’s bionic update of classic hyperbolic HK genre films.
    July 1
    7:30 PM
    Someone to Talk to
    Liu Yulin 2016 China 107 minutes
    Liu Yulin's first feature is that rare beast, a truly honest and perceptive film about relationships. When cuckolded husband Aiguo sets out to catch his wife having an affair, he ends up destroying two marriages. Meanwhile his 39-year-old sister re-enters the dating game, desperately seeking someone of her own to talk to.
    July 9
    6:00 PM
    Soul on a String
    Zhang Yang 2016 China 142 minutes
    After discovering a sacred stone in the mouth of a slain deer, young Tibetan wanderer Taibei embarks on a mission to bring the divine artifact back to its rightful home, the holy mountain of Buddha. Danger and treachery lurk at every step, as black market traders and two brothers in search of vengeance stand in his path.
    July 9
    3:10 PM

    Hong Kong Panorama
    Presented with the support of Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York
    Dealer/Healer
    Lawrence Lau 2017 Hong Kong 101 minutes
    Q&A with director Lawrence Lau
    Lau Ching-Wan headlines this dramatization of the incredible real-life story of Peter Chan, a former Triad member and drug addict who went on to be awarded for his tireless efforts as a substance abuse counselor. This tale of corruption and redemption masterfully recreates an all but forgotten underbelly of Hong Kong.
    Election
    Johnnie To 2005 Hong Kong 101 minutes
    Johnnie To’s magnum opus details the cutthroat contest to become the new number one in Hong Kong’s biggest triad: Laconic Lam Lok (Simon Yam) versus arrogant and impulsive Big D (Tony Leung Ka-fai, in one of his best performances). One of the greatest gangster films ever.
    July 7
    8:30 PM
    Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back
    Tsui Hark 2017 Hong Kong/China 108 minutes
    Tsui Hark's latest gives China’s best known story a pop-culture shock treatment, using the legendary Monkey King narrative for a film that feels like champagne bottles blasting for two dazzling hours.
    July 8
    3:45 PM
    Mad World
    Wong Chun 2016 Hong Kong 101 minutes
    New York Premiere • Q&A with director Wong Chun, screenwriter Florence Chan, and actor Eric Tsang, who will receive the NYAFF 2017 Star Hong Kong Lifetime Achievement Award
    Released from rehabilitation, a former investment banker struggles with mental illness as he rekindles a relationship with his estranged father in the relentlessly upwardly mobile city. This dramatic, heartfelt directorial debut reinvents the tenement drama genre; Wong Chun stands at the vanguard of a wave of directors transforming Hong Kong cinema.
    July 12
    9:00 PM
    Soul Mate
    Derek Tsang 2016 Hong Kong/China 108 minutes
    With this one-of-a-kind romantic drama, Derek Tsang sinks us deep into the tale of two young women, whose friendship burns as strong as an amorous passion. Compassionate, honest and intelligent, it demonstrates again how Chinese-language cinema is at the vanguard of exploring the modern human condition.
    July 7
    6:00 PM
    The Taking of Tiger Mountain
    Tsui Hark 2014 149 minutes
    Tsui Hark's take on the Chinese national epic about 30 PLA soldiers taking down a 1000-strong bandit army strips out the ideology and makes it all about the action. In 3-D.
    July 8
    12:30 PM
    This Is Not What I Expected
    Derek Hui 2017 106 minutes
    Q&A with director Derek Hui
    A brilliant accident-prone chef and a foodie megalomaniac millionaire have an unfortunate yet hilarious run-in that makes them mortal adversaries. An obsessive love-hate relationship blossoms—with food standing in for sex—amidst a nonstop series of laugh-riot hi-jinks. A dish to be savored.
    July 11
    6:00 PM
    Vampire Cleanup Department
    Yan Pak-wing, Chiu Sin-hang 2017 94 minutes
    In this tongue-in-cheek throwback to old-school Hong Kong comedies, the titular governmental department gets a new recruit in a vampire-immune virgin only for him to fall hopelessly in love with a beautiful nightwalker. Now he wants to train her to be human.
    July 15
    10:00 PM
    With Prisoners
    Andrew Wong Kwok-kuen 2017 100 minutes
    Andrew Wong’s film about juvenile delinquents follows the misfortunes of young gang leader Fan (Neo Yau) after he is sentenced to three months of detention for a scuffle with a drunken cop who was publicly abusing his girlfriend. Little does he know he has entered into a world of trouble, where youths are dehumanized and routinely beaten.
    July 16
    3:20 PM
    Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight
    Alan Lo 2017 Hong Kong 107 minutes
    North American Premiere • Q&A with director Alan Lo and actress Carrie Ng.
    Produced by Clement Cheng (Gallants, NYAFF 2010), this riotous crowd-pleaser is developed from director Alan Lo’s debut short Zombie Guillotines (2012), a do-it-yourself guide to weaponing up for Z-Day with everyday objects in a hair salon. Fans of The Walking Dead may think they’ve witnessed every trick in the zombie playbook. They’re wrong.
    July 16
    5:30 PM

    Japan
    Aroused by Gymnopedies
    Isao Yukisada 2016 Japan 83 minutes
    North American Premiere
    Aroused by Gymnopedies follows the dwindling fortunes of Shinji (played by Itsuji Itao), a once-celebrated filmmaker whose star has waned so far he is reduced to shooting porno quickies to make ends meet. But when his lead actress (Izumi Okamura) quits mid-shoot, Shinji wanders from one misjudged sexual encounter to the next.
    July 14
    10:30 PM
    Close-Knit
    Naoko Ogigami 2017 Japan 127 minutes
    Q&A with director Naoko Ogigami
    When 11-year-old Tomo’s irresponsible single mother leaves her on her own for the umpteenth time, she turns to her Uncle Makio. Makio’s pretty girlfriend Rinko proves an excellent surrogate mother, and the three form an indelible bond, but not without complications: Rinko is transgender.
    July 8
    8:00 PM
    Dawn of the Felines
    Kazuya Shiraishi 2016 Japan 84 minutes
    North American Premiere
    A sin-deep chronicle tracing the daily lives of three Tokyo call girls from the director of The Devil's Path and Twisted Justice. Paying tribute to the rich vein of Japanese genre classics set in the sex trade, Kazuya Shiraishi also has a statement to make about contemporary Japanese morality.
    July 4
    10:30 PM
    Destruction Babies
    Tetsuya Mariko 2016 Japan 108 minutes
    New York Premiere
    In this visceral cinematic diatribe, an everyman starts picking fights, leaving in his wake an apocalyptic streak of violent mayhem. It's arresting and well crafted, imbued with a refreshingly raw aesthetic.
    July 9
    10:00 PM
    A Double Life
    Yoshiyuki Kishi 2016 Japan 126 minutes
    North American Premiere
    Tama (Mugi Kadowaki), a shy doctoral candidate in philosophy, feels stalled in her studies and somewhat detached from life and begins to follow around her neighbor, a successful book editor who seems like the perfect family man. Soon her growing voyeuristic obsession gets her inextricably tangled in other people’s secret lives.
    July 3
    12:30 PM
    Happiness
    Sabu 2016 Japan 91 minutes
    Masatoshi Nagase stars as the enigmatic Kanzaki who brings a strange electronic helmet to a somber little town. He allows an elderly shopkeeper to try out the device, which dredges up for her long lost memories of happiness. As the townspeople line up to recover their joy for life, Kanzaki slowly reveals his own dark agenda.
    July 14
    8:30 PM
    Japanese Girls Never Die
    Daigo Matsui 2016 Japan 100 minutes
    A vibrant protest against the oppression of women, a provocative pop-art manifesto, and the improbably touching story of a gone girl whose life gains new meaning after her disappearance. Director Daigo Matsui’s agenda is ambitious, and Japanese Girls Never Die is one of the past year's most audacious pieces of cinema.
    Showtimes
    July 2
    5:15 PM
    The Long Excuse
    Miwa Nishikawa 2016 Japan 124 minutes
    When egotistical writer and cheating husband Sachio (Masahiro Motoki, Departures) loses his wife (Eri Fukatsu) to a tragic bus accident, he initially feigns grief, but then finds himself inexplicably befriending another widower. The latest from acclaimed director (and Hirokazu Kore-eda protge) Nishikawa (Wild Berries) stars Masahiro Motoki in a stellar and nuanced performance.
    July 4
    5:15 PM
    Love and Other Cults
    Eiji Uchida 2017 Japan 94 minutes
    North American Premiere
    A wild black comedy about gangs, cult religion, and love in backwater Japan. Marginalized teen Ryota falls in love with fellow dropout Ai and follows her down ever deeper and seedier paths. Real delinquents acted alongside Sion Sono's regular such that the film had to be shot under police supervision.
    July 8
    6:00 PM
    The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio
    Takashi Miike 2016 Japan 128 minutes
    Takashi Miike’s most entertaining and delirious film in years, The Mole Song: Hong Kong Capriccio returns to the pop madness of The Mole Song: Undercover Agent Reiji and turns it up to eleven, resulting in.a yakuza extravaganza that proudly stands on its own.
    July 14
    6:00 PM
    Rage
    Lee Sang-il 2016 Japan 142 minutes
    New York Premiere
    One year after a gruesome murder in Tokyo, while a nationwide manhunt is still underway, three young men without a past enter the lives of three very different people. Creeping suspicion that each is the murderer destroys the lives around them. Rage is tragic, epic, and heartfelt.
    July 5 -6:00 PM
    Suffering of Ninko
    Norihiro Niwatsukino 2016 Japan 70 minutes
    Ninko, a devout monk in Edo-period Japan, is tormented by his condition as the object of every woman’s sexual desire. His dilemma is personified by a forest-dwelling seductress who forces him to choose his final destiny. The Suffering of Ninko is a wild, jaw-dropping fever dream of a film that must be seen to be believed.
    July 9 - 8:30 PM
    Survival Family
    Shinobu Yaguchi 2017 Japan 117 minutes
    New York Premiere
    This deliciously yet darkly funny post-apocalyptic road movie follows an average Tokyo family in the wake of an inexplicable and endless blackout. Determined to maintain normality at first, they slowly realize the direness of their situation and attempt to ride across Japan to their grandfather’s farm on their commuter bikes.
    July 3 - 9:15 PM
    Traces of Sin
    Kei Ishikawa 2016 Japan 120 minutes
    Q&A with director Kei Ishikawa
    Irrepressible journalist Tanaka (Satoshi Tsumabuki) probes the shocking murder of a wealthy family while struggling with his own demons. Kei Ishikawa’s impressive directorial debut is an indictment of class warfare wrapped in a seductive yet ultimately perverse mystery of devastating proportions.
    July 10 - 6:00 PM
    Wet Woman in the Wind
    Akihiro Shiota 2016 Japan 78 minutes
    North American Premiere • Q&A with director Akihiko Shiota and actress Yuki Mamiya
    A tornado of unbridled sexual desire is unleashed when a free-spirited seductress sets her sights on a reclusive playwright in this stream-of-consciousness tale in this striking entry in Nikkatsu's “Roman Porno” redux series.
    July 4
    8:00 PM

    South Korea
    Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Center New York
    Fabricated City
    Park Kwang-hyun 2017 South Korea 126 minutes
    A champion in the gaming world is framed for the rape and murder of a minor and sentenced to life in prison. After he escapes with the unexpected help of a serial killer, triggering a nationwide manhunt, his former team reunites to help their old video game partner, and soon they uncover an unimaginable conspiracy.
    July 15
    3:00 PM
    Fantasy of the Girls
    Ahn Jung-min 2016 South Korea 109 minutes
    After nave freshman Sun-Wha is unexpectedly cast as Juliet against her all-girls’ high school heartthrob Hanam as Romeo, she learns about first love and more in this disarming tale of first love.
    July 4
    12:30 PM
    Jane
    Cho Hyun-hoon 2016 South Korea 104 minutes
    Q&A with director Cho Hyun-hoon, actors Lee Min-ji & Gu Gyo-hwan.
    Using an abstract, circular, and cryptic form of storytelling, Jane sways between fantasy and reality, sincerity and lies. When troubled teenager So-hyun realizes her friend Jong-ho left her, she returns to the motel where they used to stay. There, So-hyun meets a transgender woman named Jane, who soon becomes her guardian angel.
    July 13
    6:30 PM
    Ordinary Person
    Kim Bong-han 2017 South Korea 121 minutes
    Set in 1987 Korea, a time of political upheaval, this gritty police procedural follows hard-boiled police detective Sing-Jin as he catches the prime suspect in South Korea’s first serial killer case. However, as the national intelligence agency gets involved he discovers a web of intrigue leading to much more ominous crimes underfoot.
    July 4
    2:45 PM
    A Quiet Dream
    Zhang Lu 2016 South Korea 115 minutes
    U.S. Premiere • Q&A with director Zhang Lu and actress Han Ye-ri
    A breath of fresh air in indie Korean cinema, Zhang Lu's quiet suburban comedy is a heartfelt charmer. Understated actress Han Ye-ri shines as the owner of a local bar, playing muse to three misfit regulars, played by actor-directors Yang Ik-june, Park Jung-bum, and Yoon Jong-bin.
    July 12
    6:20 PM
    A Single Rider
    Lee Joo-young 2017 South Korea 96 minutes
    A beguiling elegy for an irretrievably lost past, A Single Rider is the tale of a man fallen from grace. Disgraced fund manager Kang Jae-hoon (Lee Byung-hun, NYAFF 2016 Star Asia Award) leaves his Seoul office behind and books a one-way ticket to Sydney, where his estranged wife and son live.
    July 1
    3:00 PM
    Split
    Choi Kook-hee 2016 South Korea 121 minutes
    This gloriously irreverent mash-up of White Men Can’t Jump, Rain Man and Kingpin is a surprisingly poignant comedy-cum-sports thriller. Former bowling champion Chul-jong, now a seedy hustler, teams up with his attractive and tenacious gambling partner Hee-jin, and an autistic bowling savant to escape their literally crippling debt.
    July 9
    12:30 PM
    The Tooth and the Nail
    Jung Sik, Kim Whee 2017 South Korea 109 minutes
    In this complex, dark romance set after the end of colonial rule in 1948 Korea when anything seems possible, a romance develops between a nightclub magician and his female assistant, their romance intercut with a heart-racing police procedural.
    July 5
    9:00 PM
    The Truth Beneath
    Lee Kyoung-mi 2016 South Korea 102 minutes
    In Lee Kyoung-mi’s taut political thriller, co-written by Park Chan-wook, a mother takes a stand against the deceit and hypocrisy of men. Son Ye-jin gives a career-best performance as the wife of an aspiring politician on a lonely, desperate search for their missing teenage daughter during a crucial campaign.
    July 3
    7:00 PM
    Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned
    Uhm Tae-hwa 2016 South Korea 130 minutes
    Gang Dong-won in attendance, who will receive the Star Asia Award
    Um Tae-hwa’s magical second film is both a melancholy fantasy about time and, at a deeper level, an exploration of the world of childhood. Children find a glittering egg in a cave that, according to a local folktale, contains a time-eating monster. When it's broken, their lives are changed forever.
    July 13
    9:00 PM
    The Villainess
    Jung Byung-gil 2017 South Korea 129 minutes
    U.S. Premiere • Director Jung Byung-gil will be in attendance and will receive the NYAFF 2017 Daniel A. Craft Award for Excellence in Action Cinema
    Trained as an assassin from a very young age, Sook-hee has only ever known a life of killing. After single-handedly dispatching an entire gang, she's given the chance to use her deadly skills for good. This is not just another twisted Korean revenge thriller—it’s a reinvention of action cinema.
    July 16
    8:30 PM

    Southeast Asia
    Bad Genius
    Nattawut Poonpiriya 2017 Thailand 130 minutes
    International Premiere • Q&A with Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya and Chanon Santinatornkul & Chutimon “Aokbab” Chuengcharoensukying, who will receive the NYAFF 2017 Screen International Rising Star Award
    Nattawut Poonpiriya (Countdown, NYAFF 2013) places the heist thriller in a high school milieu for a nerve-racking joyride that plays on Thailand’s Confucian-like obsession with academic achievement. After losing a scholarship, high-school students stage a heist that will undermine the U.S. university entrance examination system and make them baht millionaires.
    Birdshot
    Mikhail Red 2016 Phillippines 115 minutes
    Q&A with director Mikhail Red
    This intense, slow-burning, and semi-mystical thriller tells the intertwined stories of two innocent souls and how society tries to corrupt them. One is a cop, investigating his seniors' political cover-up, the other a farm girl who has committed an irreversible act that she isn't even aware is a crime.
    July 6
    6:00 PM
    Kfc
    Le Binh Giang 2017 Vietnam 68 minutes
    New York Premiere
    WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK! This omnibus of strange and harrowing stories connected by vagabond characters at various levels of moral bankruptcy is truly sick in most parts, but what makes it unforgettable is the sheer talent of its director, and the ineradicable sense of profundity throughout.
    Showtimes
    July 6
    10:45 PM
    Mrs. K
    Ho Yuhang 2016 Malaysia 96 minutes
    This could very well be the spectacular swan song for the amazing action career of Hong Kong actress Kara Wai, an icon of 1970s and 1980s Shaw Brothers films. Whatever the eponymous Mrs. K might have been, she isn’t anymore, until a former associate (Simon Yam) tracks her down seeking retribution for a past misdeed.
    July 15
    5:30 PM
    Saving Sally
    Avid Liongoren 2016 Phillippines 94 minutes
    New York Premiere
    With its stop-and-start production taking more than a decade, the very existence of Saving Sally is a miraculous fairy tale of its own. This wildly creative mix of live action and animation centers on geeky wannabe comic book artist Marty and his hopeless crush on beautiful and spunky inventor Sally.
    July 1
    12:45 PM
    Town in a Lake
    Jet Leyco 2015 Phillippines 87 minutes
    The rape and murder of a schoolgirl brings unwelcome media attention to a quiet fishing village. With her classmate still missing, the forest starts revealing its mysteries, including giant shadow creatures that protect or punish interlopers. Jet Leyco's second feature is part H.P. Lovecraft, part David Lynch, and wholly original.
    July 6 - 8:50 PM

    Taiwan
    Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York
    Eternal Summer
    Leste Chen 2006 Taiwan 35mm 95 minutes
    An emotionally searing drama about friendship and longing. Straight-A student Jonathan (Bryant Chang) is forced by his teacher to befriend rebellious underachiever Shane (Joseph Chang Hsiao-chuan). Ten years later, their friendship is tested by the return of former classmate Carrie (Kate Yeung) who secretly dates each of the high schoolers in turn.
    July 2 - 12:30 PM
    The Gangster’s Daughter
    Chen Mei-juin 2017 Taiwan 104 minutes
    North American Premiere • Director Chen Mei-juin in attendance
    After getting into trouble with a local bully, teenage Shaowu is sent to Taipei to live with her estranged gangster father, Keiko. He quickly takes to being a father and sets out go straight, but soon he is dragged back into the criminal world by corruption and a quest for vengeance that will decide both of their fates.
    July 1 - 5:00 PM
    Godspeed
    Chung Mong-hong 2016 Taiwan 111 minutes
    A sadsack would-be criminal pairs up with an eccentric over-the-hill cabbie for the cross-country delivery of a mysterious package to southern gangsters in this dark and irreverently comedic take on the road movie. Featuring Mr. Boo himself Michael Hui in a wonderfully wry star turn.
    July 16 - 1:00 PM
    Mon Mon Mon Monsters
    Giddens 2017 Taiwan 112 minutes
    North American Premiere
    A group of alpha-bullies kidnap their very own ghoul-like monster, keeping her alive with a steady stream of vein-fresh blood, only to get buyer's remorse. Things get gorier from there. The real monsters are the humans in Giddens's cruel and subversive follow-up to You Are the Apple of My Eye.
    July 2
    7:30 PM
    The Road to Mandalay
    Midi Z 2016 Taiwan/Myanmar/France/Germany 108 minutes
    An exquisite yet heart-wrenching portrait of vulnerable and marginalized characters at odds with their surroundings and even each other as they strive to make it at any cost. It starts when a romance develops between a couple on the small truck that smuggles them over the Burmese border into Thailand.
    July 3
    4:45 PM
    The Village of No Return
    Chen Yu-hsun 2017 Taiwan 116 minutes
    The relative peace of Desire Village, fraught with domestic squabble, is about to be disturbed by greed in various guises: a group of bandits prepares to besiege the time-forsaken hamlet and a Taoist priest (Wang Qianyuan) shows up with a mysterious device, the “Worry Ridder,” a helmet that can remove memories from people’s minds.
    July 2 - 2:45 PM

    Documentaries
    Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno
    Jung Yoon-suk 2017 South Korea 120 minutes
    North American Premiere • Q&A with director Jung Yoon-suk & the Bamseom Pirates (producer Park Junggeun, bassist Jang Sunggun, and drummer Kwon Yongman)
    The band Bamseom Pirates earns fame with their savagely satirical lyrics, bizarre performances in abandoned buildings, and a growing reputation for being the most controversial band in Korea. But soon friend and producer Park Jung-geun is arrested for violating the National Security Law. Hilarity does not ensue.
    July 11 - 8:45 PM
    Mrs. B., A North Korean Woman
    Jero Yun 2016 South Korea 71 minutes
    North American Premiere
    Mrs. B. reveals and conceals in equal measure. This documentary shows the reality of a woman who left everything behind, including her husband and two sons, to seek a better life, and who, in some ways, has known the worst: from her farmhouse, she operates a business trafficking North Koreans to China.
    July 3 -3:00 PM
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-05-2018 at 11:04 AM.

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    Bad Genius

    The Main Competition section. I plan to provide commentary on these, and (hopefully) some other interesting titles.

    New to NYAFF in 2017 is the Main Competition section, featuring seven diverse works by first or second-time directors that are all having their North American premieres at the festival. Competing are:

    The competition jury will be announced at a later date, with winners revealed on the festival’s final night at Film Society of Lincoln Center on July 13.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-14-2017 at 12:48 PM.

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    WITH PRISONERS (Andrew Wong Kwok-kuen 2017)

    First of the NYAFF Main Competition films covered here, from Hong Kong. It's a brutally realistic tale of an aspiring gang leader who gets sentenced to three months in juvenile detention, which nearly breaks him. Much credit to Wong for the realism of this section, but the framework is naively moralistic when he ought to be pointing out to how misguided the system is. Some strong stuff here though, and good lead performance from young actor Yau Hawk-sau.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2017 at 12:46 PM.

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    BAD GENIUS (Nattawut Poonpiriya 2017)

    A student develops a syndicate to cheat on SAT exams to aid a whole group of students. A film from Thailand, this is one of the seven entries in the NYAFF Main Competition. One of those rare films that manages to make cheating on exams exciting and suspenseful and unusually ingenious (if a bit far-fetched), it was also the NYAFF opening night film.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2017 at 12:46 PM.

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    BIRDSHOT (Mikhail Red 2016)

    Police investigating a bus that disappeared with all its riders are called off to track down the killer of a haribon or Philippine eagle that has been lost from a wildlife refuge on the island of Mindanao. What follows is a slightly lurid, always haunting study of naivete and corruption by this Filippino director who is only 24 years old, though this is his second film, and the first, Rekorder, won the Best New Director award at Vancouver and five other festival prizes. A memorable film, and a remarkable talent. Another of the seven Main Competition films of this year's New York Asian Film Festival.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2017 at 12:47 PM.

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    DOUBLE LIFE (Yoshiuki Kishi 2016)

    Based originally on a French source about following people, this is nonetheless very much a contemporary Japanese film with its playful complexity and its focus on the meaning of existence, adultery, and the nature of reality. There are hints of Antonioni and Haneke. A rich debut for the director and Mugi Kadawaki, playing her first lead in a film. The three lead men are also excellent. Japan's entry in the NYAFF's seven-film Main Competition.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2017 at 12:55 PM.

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    THE GANGSTER'S DAUGHTER (Chen Mei-juin 2017)

    Return of his teen daughter to a gangster's care in Taipei causes him to take on fatherhood and try to clean up his act - but it doesn't work very well. Chen Mei-juin, a documentary filmmaker and a woman, seeks something more commercial here. The film has been well-reviewed in Taiwan, but it may not have the spark for wider success.


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    JANE (Cho Hyun-hoon 2017)

    A mousy, passive homeless teen wanders from one dubious shelter to another, missing the boyfriend or surrogate brother who had been her protector. Along the way she spends time with a transgender woman known as Jane. Most of this movie is dull, and some of it is horrifying and inexplicable. The filmmaker might have done better to focus on Jane, who as played by Gu Gyohwan is a unique and interesting personality. The South Korean entry in the NYAFF 2017 Main Competition.


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    Kfc (L Bnh Giang 2017)

    For many this film from Vietnam, with cannibalism and murder from scene to scene featuring fat boys and skinny boys and rough ghetto-like Hanoi locations, will be unwatchable. But I watched it, and the filmmaking is fresh and skillful in many ways. Unlikely that this will win the Main Competition title at this year's NYAFF, but it's a bold choice for Vietnam's entry.


  10. #10
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    Rating the Main Competition films of NYAFF 2017.

    That does it for Filmleaf reviews of all the NYAFF 2017's seven Main Competition films. What stood out the most? The first four were all good, the last three I've reviewed here considerably less so. The thought-provoking Japan entry Double Life seemed the most accomplished, sophisticated film, but the Philippines'Birdshot, coming from a world of poverty and oppression, had more passion and, perhaps, significance. Thailand's Bad Genius was an engaging and slick and entertaining piece of work. Hong Kong'sWith Prisoners is a shocker about brutal practices in a juvenile prison, though the film itself had a framework that was more naive. I'd be happy if either Double Life or Birdshot won.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-14-2017 at 12:50 PM.

  11. #11
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    THE TRUTH BENEATH (Lee Kyoung-mi 2016)

    A politician becomes his party's candidate for president of Korea, and his teenage daughter disappears. At first he keeps it secret to avoid criticism for continuing his campaign. His wife, furious, begins a personal investigation, and unearths a series of dark secrets. The scenes grow increasingly violent and surprising. Underseen at home and deserving more than the festival circuit it's had so far. A woman director in top form and a role of a lifetime for the star, Son Ye-jin. Park Chan-wook is one of the co-writers.

    An intense, elegant political and personal thriller worthy of David Fincher. Great stuff!

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-09-2017 at 07:04 PM.

  12. #12
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    FABRICATED CITY (Park Hwang-kyun 2016)

    A big-budget over-the-top thriller about an unemployed young video gamer and his team who get embroiled in the scheme of a fiendish serial killer. Non-stop action, overplotted, too much. But even just the short opening simulated warfare episode is enough to show this is an impressive effort by this director who hasn't made a film in 12 years. Again it seems like David Fincher and Park Chan-wook are the guiding spirits and inspirations of the day, but with less serious aims. This has contempo references too, though, to the power of the media, for instance. From Korea.


  13. #13
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    AROUSED BY GYMNOPEDIES (Isao Yukisada 2016)

    One of five films scheduled for the Nikkatsu 45th anniversary "Roman Porno Reboot Project"- evoking a their series of Japanese softcore porn films of the 1970's. This is a credibly valid depiction of a sad, selfish, but ultimately sympathetic loser art filmmaker totally down on his luck who is forced to make a porno movie to earn money but loses even that opportunity. Gloomy and wrinkly-faced but with a young slim smooth body, he is catnip to the young ladies and manages to have sex with one about every ten minutes of the run time. Kind of like a French film, and I thought of Jacques Nolot.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-10-2017 at 02:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    RAGE (Lee Sang-il 2016)

    This tense-making Japanese film explores the current lives and relationships of three young men who have recently appeared where they are and so might be suspects in a brutal murder case hiding out. The manhunt has gone on for two years and is nearing discovery of the identity of the killer. One of the guys is gay, and the explicit gay scenes seemed unusual in a Japanese film. There is also depiction of a rape on Okinawa by GI's - a common, and shocking, phenomenon to which perhaps the story wants to call attention. As the film switches back and forth between the three guys we try to guess, and we're teased up till the end, and aren't given information we could use to figure it out, really. An effective, cleverly edited film, but I felt manipulated. Based on a Shuichi Yoshida novel like director Lee's 2010 Villain.


  15. #15
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    TRACES OF SIN (Kei Ishikawa 2016)

    This directorial debut explores the dynamics of social cliques and the dark side of the Japanese elites through a crime mystery story. Tanaka (Satoshi Tsumbuki), an investigative journalist reporting on a year-old unsolved murder case also leads to revelations about his family. From a screenplay adapted by Ksuke Mukai from a novel by Tkuro Nukui, this features a Polish dp; Ishikawa studied filmmaking in Poland. Debuted at the Venice Film Festival in the Horizons section. Complicated but engrossing.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-11-2017 at 08:34 AM.

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