Man, I hate this frickin’ recession, but I love me dem Asian films!
Grady Hendrix and his gang of movie connoisseurs sent out word of their selections for this year’s New York Asian Film Fest (June 19-July 5), and like every year, it’s a goldmine.
Feng Xiaogang’s If You Are the One will be screening. Feng directed last year’s THE ASSEMBLY, a Hollywood-esque rendition of the Chinese civil war that was compared to Saving Private Ryan. In If You Are the One, Feng has his Korean fight choreographers take a break, and instead, builds a romantic comedy around none other than B-movie starlet, Shu Qi (China’s own Angelina Joeli, full lips and all). Apparently, Qi – who the American audience will remember from the very first Transporter movie – has been hiding her talent behind that pretty face. As a rabid fan of THE ASSEMBLY, and the cinematography and blockbuster elements behind A World Without Thieves, I’m gonna put my chips down on If You Are the One. I love Feng Xiaogang, and I’ve been waiting to see Shu Qi in a good movie.
And since Grady and his team are dedicated and consistent professionals, they’ve included the live-action feature length movie adaptation of Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, parts 1 and 2. This came out in Japan just last summer, with part 3 of the movie trilogy is coming out in Japan in August. Grady’s doing his best to put together a special screening of 20th Century Boys after it’s released in Japan – how spoiled are we! The 20th Century Boys manga by Naoki Urasawa was released by Viz in February this year.
On a more somber note, the Japanese movie shot in Thailand, Children of the Dark, will also be screening for those of you with a strong stomach for the real-life sick and grotesque exploitation of Thai children, both for the sex industry and for black market organ sales. I already know that I won’t be able to stomach this although I’m tempted to try – and terrified that I’ll force myself to sit through it. Grady’s encouragement when I shared this sentiment with him was this:
“Don’t let Children of the Dark scare you. It’s a VERY intense movie, but it’s so committed to its POV and so adamant about its points that it never comes across as hollow or exploitative. Unlike a lot of movies, the horror has a point. For once.”
For those of you who’d rather be entertained by brutal, fictitious fist fights, the Korean movie Rough Cut has your name(s) on it.
Rough Cut is set on a movie set where a primadonna pretty-boy actor plays a gangster across from his co-star – who really is a gangster. Somehow, in the process of shooting the movie, the diva becomes a gangster and the gangster becomes…a diva. It sounds like it should be a comedy, but it’s not.
And if you’re ready to cycle back to something more romantic, Kim Ki Duk’s Dream starring Odagiri Jo will also be playing. Kim Ki Duk directed 2003’s Spring Summer Fall Winter…and Spring among other art-house flicks. Dream is about dreams, it’s a sad romance, but most importantly it’s starring Odagiri Jo. I’m only interested in this movie and blogging about it because it stars Odagiri Jo.
There are a good dozen or more movies that will be featured during the festival, and in fact, Team Grady still have 10 to choose to add to the line-up. You can find out more at his blog, or at the website, www.subwaycinema.com.