New York Asian Film Festival: The Best and the Strangest

By Mark Jackson, Epoch Times

NEW YORK—The New York Asian Film Festival brings 60 of this year’s best, strangest, and most entertaining Asian feature films to New York, June 27–July 14. 

We start off with the “strange” category topics, since they constitute the bulk of the festival.

We have sex comedies, “compensated dating,” penectomy, dominatrix armies, mutant births, slasher-psychodramas, hopping vampires, and cloning one’s true love from his pinkie finger (which got chopped off by the Yakuza). That’s definitely strange.

For those looking for films with broader appeal, Epoch Times looks forward to the following:

‘Kano’ (2014)

“Kano” is the festival’s centerpiece presentation and the true story of how, in one year, the 1930s pioneering Taiwanese baseball team went from being losers to finalists in Japan’s high school baseball tournament. Three hours of underdog baseball fun. 

Screening June 29 at the Walter Reade Theater.

‘Han Gong-ju’ (2014)

Praised by Martin Scorsese at the Marrakech Festival last year, this film is a portrait of high school girl Han Gong-ju, whose story illustrates South Korea’s blame culture, embedded cronyism, and destructive family ties. 

Screening June 30 at the Walter Reade Theater.

‘Top Star’ (2013)

A look at the fleeting nature of success in the shark-infested waters of the Korean film industry—the rise, the fall, and the rise again, of an actor.

Screening June 28 and 30 at the Walter Reade Theater.

‘Aim High in Creation!’ (2013)

A documentary. A comedy. It’s revolutionary. It’s about deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s 1987 manifesto “The Cinema and Directing.” We will learn how to make a propaganda film. That’s got to be genius.

Screening July 10 at the Walter Reade Theater.

‘Uzumasa Limelight’ (2014)

“Chanbara” is the word for sword-fighting dramas and films, a famous genre in Japan generally covering the time period of 1600–1868. “Uzumasa” is a nostalgic look back.

Screening July 13 at the Japan Society.

‘The Chinese Boxer’ (1970)

The NYAFF lineup includes plenty of throwbacks in Asian cinema, too. “The Chinese Boxer” by Jimmy Wong Yu influenced all martial-arts films since. Including (and especially) Bruce Lee’s. 

Screening July 6 at the Walter Reade Theater. 

Screenings take place at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, the Japan Society, and the Asia Society. Tickets $8–$13.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @FilmCriticEpoch