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Thread: New York Asian Film Festival 2019

  1. #16
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    WHITE SNAKE 白蛇:緣起 (Amp Wong, Ji Zhao 2019)

    A big ($12 million, a lot by local standards) Chinese animation of an ancient popular folktale that has been often told and dramatized, even in film. A battle of good and evil forces is sweetened into the tale of a human boy falling in love with a demon girl who turns into a white serpent, and back again. Screen Daily says it has grossed $67 million at home this year ahead of its Annecy premiere.

    Showing at the NYAFF:
    NYAFF showtime:
    Sunday, July 6
    1;30 PM


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-01-2019 at 07:58 PM.

  2. #17
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    DARK FIGURE OF CRIME 암수살인 (Kim Tae-kyun 2018)

    A different Korean police procedural where the cop is not done when the crazy murderer gets convicted of multiple murders. He is concerned to solve the unsolved ones - the "dark figure of crime" - for the sake of the suffering families living with no answers. A prize-winning screenplay and truly excellent performances by the two leads, Kim Yoon-seok as the detective and Ju Ji-hoon as the maniacal, provocative murderer.

    NYAFF Showtimes
    Saturday, July 6
    9:00 PM


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-03-2019 at 12:14 AM.

  3. #18
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    SONG LANG (Leon Le 2018)

    A lead performer of traditional folk opera (opulently represented) and a hardened debt collector, two beautiful, lonely young men, are drawn together in 1980's Saigon in this homage to Wong Kar-wai in a continual sequence of beautifully lighted, richly saturated 3:2 ratio scenes less kinetic but otherwise worthy of Wong's superb cameraman, Christopher Doyle - though the dp, an Aussie like Chris, was free of such influences.

    NYAFF Showtimes:
    Sunday, July 7
    6:30 PM



  4. #19
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    LYING TO MOM 鈴木家の嘘 (Katsumi Nojiri 2018)

    A film about dealing with death, particularly a suicide in your immediate family. The suicide was a hikikomori so this is a particularly Japanese treatment. Lots of topics are covered, but the film would have benefited from some strenuous tightening up.

    In the NYAFF.
    Showtimes
    Wednesday, July 10
    6:00 PM


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-04-2019 at 05:36 PM.

  5. #20
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    MR. LONG ミスター・ロン (Sabu 2017)

    This charismatic Taiwanese hitman so convincingly embodied by Chang Chen (who's worked for Edward Yang, Hou Hsieu-hsien, and Wong Kar-wai), who's so confident he uses only a short knife to wipe out a whole gang of baddies, gets marooned when a single hit goes wrong on the slummy outskirts of Tokyo with an adorable kid and his addict mom. At that unpromising venue, he displays his exceptional culinary skills for a while to satisfied neighbors. The movie is becalmed for a long middle section, and we almost like it. Sabu (Hiroyuki Tanaka) is a Japanese actor turned filmmaker. He has a second film included in the 2019 NYAFF, the omnibus film Jam.

    See it at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center in three days. I'd go. As Mark Shilling of the Japan Times says, "Have fun."
    NYAFF Showtime:
    Monday, July 8
    9:15 PM


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-06-2019 at 12:26 AM.

  6. #21
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    ANOTHER CHILD 미성년 (Kim Yoon-seok 2019)

    The noted Korean actor directs, and costars in, a vivid, sometimes odd, film on adultery, unplanned parenthood, & their effect on daughters of the separate parties. WRT the 11th.

    NYAFF Showtime:
    Thursday, July 11
    8:30 PM


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-09-2019 at 05:24 PM.

  7. #22
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    FIRST FAREWELL 第一次的离 (Wang Lina 2018)

    An award-winning film, with top notch cinematography, editing, and score, about Uyghur people in XinjiangProvince where the filmmaker's own hometown is, and there is an elegiac note signaled in the title. They raise cotton and herd sheep, and the focus is on the children, who're under pressure to learn Mandarin. The film avoids overt political content about China's cultural persecution of this minority, but it's clear through the threat of going away to school. The scenes of young Isa and his best girl friend Kalbinur and their pet lamb are adorable. The mix of ethnography and humanism reminded me of Honeyland (2019 ND/NF).

    NYAFF Showtime:
    Thursday, July 11
    6:00 PM


    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-09-2019 at 05:28 PM.

  8. #23
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  9. #24
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    THE CROSSING 过春天 (Bai Xue 2018)

    In this striking debut, the dangerously driven Peipei, just turned sixteen, is a 'danfei' with remote parents split between Hong Kong and China, and she goes back and forth between the mainland and Hong Kong to school every day in school uniform. This makes her perfect to smuggle new iPhones to China. She becomes the mascot of a wild crew of older boys headed by Mrs Hua, who's like a potentially treacherous den mother overseeing dangerous fun. The key figure to her in this new life becomes Hao, her best gf's bf, who draws her into a bolder maneuver. An original, vivid and intense film of teenage obsession that never lets up.

    It showed in the NYAFF July 12.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-14-2019 at 09:35 AM.

  10. #25
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    MAGGIE 메기 (Yi Ok-seop 2018)

    This Korean debut feature focuses on a nurse and slacker boyfriend and the insidiousness of doubt. Director Yi makes a fetish of arbitrary plot-shifts. Her interest is ideas. Played at aBusan, Rotterdam and Osaka and won some prizes.

    It showed at the NYAFF July 13


  11. #26
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    FIVE MILLION DOLLAR LIFE (Moon Sung-ho 2019

    Picaresque coming-of-ager about a suicidal heart transplant kid that blends saccharine-ness and lively adventures. Ayumu Mochizuki is the indestructible kindness-magnet kid. The young director is from Hiroshima but went to film school in Korea after high school, exploring his roots.

    Five Million Dollar Life 五億円のじんせい ("500 million yen"), 112 mins., releases July 20, 2019 in Japan. It was previewed as part of the NYAFF for this review, where it showed July 11.


  12. #27
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    HUANG YAO IN THE CROSSING

    A word about this year's New York ASian Film Festival.

    You can peruse my recent NYAFF reviews on the Filmleaf Festival Coverage section. A couple I set up there I never completed but there are 19 or 20 reviews.

    I particularly like finding good films outside the usual territories, such as Leon Le's dreamy and beautiful SONG LANG from Vietnam and Wang Lina's A FIRST FAREWELL about the Uyghurs. There were several outstandingly good and strikingly original first films by new directors, the standouts being Bae Xue's THE CROSSING, Lee Geuk-pan's G AFFAIRS. A fine Japanese (first) film was Kei Chicaura's COMPLICITY about a Chinese man working illegally in Japan. The idea of a Japanese director projecting into the experience of an outsider in this sensitive and well observed manner was striking and unusual. I watched some of the actioners of the series too - but they get repetitios, no matter how skillfully executed. Nonetheless, if they're your thing, take a look at

    There may have been more discoveries lurking: I only saw half of the 41 films. For its variety and depth this is a truly remarkable film festival, and I'm glad to have been watching it since 2017 and wish I'd started earlier in its 18-year history.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 07-24-2019 at 12:09 PM.

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