New York Asian Film Festival 2009- Information and Schedule
Source: Subway Cinema press releases
Special Thanks to Toyah Attwell and Grady Hendrix
NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL 2009
JUNE 19 – JULY 5 at the IFC Center and Japan Society
This year the New York Asian Film Festival says “fiddle dee dee” to the economic apocalypse and we’re singing in the rain of fire and brimstone that heralds the end of the world. It’s our biggest, most ridiculous festival ever!
Also, we’ll be presenting a number of movies in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film at Japan Society, June 30 – July 12.
Finally, before we get into the movies, we would like to give a huge, heartfelt thanks to our official airline sponsor, American Airlines, and our official hotel sponsor, the Kitano Hotel, both of whom have made it possible for us to bring over the massive number of guests coming to this year’s festival (many more to be announced).
DACHIMAWA LEE and MISS, PLEASE BE PATIENT
Director Ryu Seung-Wan (CITY OF VIOLENCE) is here with his new movie, DACHIMAWA LEE (see below) but he will also host and introduce a screening of the very rare Korean movie, the exuberantly punch drunk Hong Kong style action comedy MISS, PLEASE BE PATIENT (Korea, 1981, Lee Hyung-Pyo). The film stars Kim Tai-Jeong, famous as a Bruce Lee double in GAME OF DEATH under the name Tong Lung. He would later play Bruce Lee in a string of Bruce-ploitation movies in Hong Kong, and he appeared in a number of Korean action films like MISS, PLEASE BE PATIENT. This film has never appeared on video or DVD anywhere in the world and will screen for one night only.
PINK POWER: PINK EIGA PRESENTS JAPAN’S UNKNOWN FILM INDUSTRY
Japanese pink films are the last bastion of analog filmmaking in a digital world: softcore, sixty-minute sex films shot on film, edited on flatbeds and released theatrically. They’ve been around since the 60’s and not only have many mainstream directors gotten their start shooting pink films (including Kiyoshi Kurosawa), but 2009’s Academy Award winning director, Yojiro Takita (DEPARTURES), has a long string of pink films on his resume, and we’re showing two of them. We’ll be screening two double features in association with US-based pink film distributor Pink Eiga, who have begun releasing
these treasures on DVD in the US this year.
Program One will be Yojiro Takita’s ridiculous MOLESTER TRAIN: SEARCH FOR THE BLACK PEARL and the comedy/drama BLIND LOVE. Program Two will consist of Yojiro Takita’s MOLESTER TRAIN: WEDDING CAPRICCIO and hilariously bawdy send-up of Pier Paolo Pasolini’s TEOREMA, JAPANESE WIFE NEXT DOOR, PART 1. Daisuke Goto, the director of BLIND LOVE and Masahide Iioka, the cinematographer of BLIND LOVE, are expected to attend the festival and introduce the screenings.
TOKYO GORE NIGHT
One of the most insane new voices in cinema is the screaming howl of Yoshihiro Nishimura, director of TOKYO GORE POLICE, and special effects genius (who also did the effects for LOVE EXPOSURE and SAMURAI PRINCESS, screening in this year’s festival). He couldn’t join us for the premiere of TOKYO GORE POLICE last year so for one weekend only we’ll be hosting him at the New York Asian Film Festival and holding a special TOKYO GORE NIGHT event.
First up will be screenings of several completely nuts short films from Nishimura and his cabal of lunatics all set in the TOKYO GORE POLICE and MACHINE GIRL universe. Then there will be a special onstage presentation by these madmen followed by a screening of TOKYO GORE POLICE during which we’ll record a live audio commentary for the movie’s upcoming special edition DVD. Accompanying Nishimura will be Noboru Iguchi, the director of MACHINE GIRL and the maniac responsible for the short film SHYNESS MACHINE GIRL which we’ll also be screening that night. Also coming will be Tsuyoshi Kazuno, a visual effects supervisor on SAMURAI PRINCESS, MACHINE GIRL and many others. More surprises are in store, so make sure you wear something that you don’t mind getting soaked with blood.
BE A MAN THE TAK SAKAGUCHI WAY
Also at this year’s festival is a small focus on Japanese stuntman, director and action choreographer, Tak Sakaguchi (VERSUS, AZUMI, GODZILLA: FINAL WARS). He’ll be presenting his films YOROI SAMURAI ZOMBIE and BE A MAN! SAMURAI SCHOOL. He also did the action for LOVE EXPOSURE. He’ll be accompanied by stuntman and action choreographer Isao Karasawa (who worked on the Hong Kong film, FLASHPOINT, and who holds two world records for being hit by cars, and is hard at work on a third) and the two of them are apparently going to be doing some onstage stunts before the screenings.
MSFF KOREAN SHORT FILMS
For the third year in a row, selections from Korea’s most popular genre short film festival are hitting the New York Asian Film Festival in two programs. But this time there’s more animation than ever before, and some of the funniest movies we’ve ever screened. Line-ups include the animated gems LOVE IS A PROTEIN (about a world of fried chicken restaurants haunted by half-human, half-chicken mutants) and A COFFEE VENDING MACHINE AND ITS SWORD (about a martial arts master reincarnated as a coffee vending machine). Also, the nastiest send-up of local TV news, SHAGGY-DOG STORY, as well as the usual line-up of elderly gay lovers, vindictive butchers, angry cats, dead moms and riot cops on the rampage.
Presentation of MSFF Korean Short Films at the NYAFF 2009 is made possible through the generous support of the Korean Cultural Service in New York.
(Japan, 2008, Sion Sono, New York Premiere)
The director of EXTE and NORIKO’S DINNER TABLE returns with one of the most amazing cinematic achievements of the year. A four-hour epic about pornography, Catholicism, families, fathers, true love, cross-dressing, kung fu, cults and mental illness, this movie will cleanse you of your sins and leave you horny as hell. This is your only chance to see it, and if you ever loved movies you cannot afford to miss it.
Director Sion Sono will be present to bless the audience at the screening. (Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
THE EQUATION OF LOVE AND DEATH
(China, 2008, Cao Baoping, New York Premiere)
A twisty Chinese thriller anchored by an award-winning performance from Zhou Xun as a chain-smoking, obsessive-compulsive cab driver desperate to find her missing boyfriend. It’s one of those movies that jumps backwards and forwards through time with the narrative folding over and over on itself until finally it vanishes in a puff of smoke, but Zhou Xun’s turn as a cab driver is one of the best acting jobs of 2008 – the kind of thing that sticks with you long after the movie has inverted itself out of existence.
IF YOU ARE THE ONE
(China, 2008, Feng Xiaogang, North American Premiere)
This is the romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies: a gorgeous, heartfelt, sharply-written romance between Shu Qi and Ge You, directed by China’s master of the blockbuster, Feng Xiaogang (ASSEMBLY). The second-highest grossing movie EVER released in China, it’s like something from MGM in the 1930’s, a throwback to a time when romances made you wish you could get up out of your seat and walk through the screen and into a better, funnier and far more passionate world. For all the talk in America of Chen Kaige, Zhang Yimou and John Woo, no one is a more reliable hitmaker in China than Feng Xiaogang who directed THE BANQUET (historical action), ASSEMBLY (amazing war picture), BIG SHOT’S FUNERAL (anti-capitalism movie starring Donald Sutherland), WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES (a romantic “thieves on a train” movie) and a bunch more. He’s the first Chinese director whose films have grossed over 1 billion RMB.
(China, 2007, Gao Qunshu, North American Premiere)
Written by and starring actual Chinese cops and bomb squad officers, this movie belongs to real life ex-cop and non-actor Ma Guowei, who plays the titular Old Fish in this gripping, ultra-realistic look at China’s bomb disposal procedures, which apparently include putting a ticking explosive device in your bicycle basket and pedaling like hell for the river.
AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS
(Hong Kong, 2008, Ching Siu-tung, North American Premiere)
Ching Siu-tung is a visionary, directing movies like SWORDSMAN 2 and A CHINESE GHOST STORY, and delivering the delirious gravity-defying action in movies like HERO and HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. Characters in his movies are lighter than air, flying over lakes, floating above treetops and leaping over walls with their feet barely touching the ground. In his hands, AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS becomes a period martial arts epic so light it could be filled with helium.
A vehicle for three of Hong Kong’s stars – pop idol, Kelly Chen; boy crooner, Leon Lai; and action stud Donnie Yen – it starts out in Ancient China. Kelly Chen’s dad is going to war because that’s what you did back then: wear crazy armor and kill people. His son is peeved because dad favors Donnie Yen instead of himself to be the heir to the throne but then Dad gets killed in battle and Kelly Chen becomes the king. But she’s a girl! Everyone’s pretty upset, but stalwart Donnie backs her and people are scared he’ll kick them in the face if they disagree. So they go behind his back and hire assassins! Kelly escapes and winds up in…Leon Lai’s treehouse. Lai is an inventor and he’s invented a hot air balloon, wacky devices for cooking and a pop song montage wherein Kelly discovers the joys of being a simple girl living in her treehouse with a pop star. But eventually Kelly has to return and reclaim her rightful place on the throne, and the acting gets so ridiculously grand and over the top that it practically puts on a top hat and twirls its cane. Massive battles erupt, people poke each other with spears and Donnie Yen freaks and goes all Mr. Stabbity on an army of evil soldiers.
(Hong Kong, 2007, Pang Ho-cheung, New York Premiere)
This movie is a classic case of man panic, as Simon Yam plays a cop up against the toughest perp of them all: women. The sixth movie from Hong Kong’s funniest young director, Pang Ho-cheung, EXODUS begins with the arrest of Kwan (Nick Cheung, ELECTION) a loser who was peeping in the women’s bathroom. While being questioned by straight-laced cop Yip (Simon Yam) he reveals that he’s no ordinary peeper, he’s the only guy who knows the truth about women: they’re out to kill all men. Yip ignores the nutjob, but a few days later the peeper returns and gives a second statement, claiming that he is actually only a dirty pervert and that no one, at no time and for any reason, should listen to his first statement. Smelling a rat, the tediously scrupulous Yip checks the log and sees that the change-of-heart immediately followed a visit from his colleague Fong (Maggie Siu) and, unable to let go of something that doesn’t feel right, he starts to investigate. Frankly, everyone wishes he would drop it and maybe spend some of that investigation time on his wife, Ann (Annie Liu), who is withering from a lack of attention.
EYE IN THE SKY
(Hong Kong, 2007, Yau Nai-hoi, New York Premiere)
Focusing on the Hong Kong Police Department’s SU (Surveillance Unit) EYE IN THE SKY opens with a long, wordless sequence in which newcomer Kate Tsui (a wildly popular television actress) is tailing her boss, Simon Yam, as part of her audition to join the SU. They briefly cross paths with Tony Leung Kar-fai, a thief who’s staking out a jewelry store for a heist. These two groups – Yam’s SU and Tony’s bunch of bumbling thugs – spend the rest of the movie crossing paths, missing each other by seconds and tracking one another down. And occasionally, God will show up to interrupt the proceedings and reshuffle the deck, loading it with outrageous coincidences and savage strokes of bad luck.
FIVE DEADLY VENOMS
(Hong Kong, 1978, Chang Cheh)
A retrospective screening of the iconic old school Shaw Brothers martial arts flick that introduced the world to the onscreen dream team of martial artists supreme, the Five Venoms. If you decide to see one old school kung fu movie before you die, make it this one. The Five Venoms are like angels in the form of shirtless, charismatic young men who punch you in the face.
(Hong Kong, 2008, Wilson Yip, US premiere)
But just to prove that Hong Kong action isn’t dead, Sammo Hung choreographs this astounding kung fu flick starring Donnie Yen (AN EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS) and directed by Wilson Yip (SPL, FLASHPOINT). Based on the life of Ip Man, who was Bruce Lee’s martial arts master in real life, it’s a throwback to the glory days when Hong Kong action movies made the screen catch on fire.
Foshan, 1935: Ip Man lives in a nice house with his wife and kid, occasionally resorting to a little polite kung fu to teach folks what’s what. Enter Fan Siu-wong (STORY OF RICKY) playing Master Jin, a redneck kung fu killer looking to set up shop on Dojo Street after tearing through the local martial artists like they’re a bunch of paper napkins. Master Jin’s path of destruction leads him to Donnie’s doorstep and it’s on. Donnie is the chiropractor, giving adjustments and aligning spines with his rock hammer fists. He’s an advocate of wing chun, a softer southern style that was invented by a nun and is considered sissy stuff. But after you taste his fists of fury you’ll be begging for mercy. At the end of each fight, like a pugilistic Dr. Phil, he even lectures his foes on how to fix their personality problems. Then the Japanese arrive. Uh-oh, it’s World War II. Like the real Ip Man, Donnie refuses to teach the Japanese wing chun. Unlike the real Ip Man, his rejection letter is delivered in the form of a massive one-against-twelve beatdown.
(Hong Kong, 2008, Yu Lik-wai, US premiere)
To step into the mildewed day-glo world of PLASTIC CITY is to witness globalization in hemorrhage. Deep in the throbbbing heart of Brazil, the Liberdade district shelters a legion of distaff Asian expatriates, adrift in a never-ending bazaar of cheap counterfeit merchandise. At the top of the landfill sits Yuda (the legendary Anthony Wong, INFERNAL AFFAIRS) and his foster son Kirin (Japanese superstar, Joe Odagiri), robber barons of a crazy-quilt junk kingdom. Yuda and Kirin love each other, yet each is looking to get out and when a Fancy Dan calling himself “Mr. Taiwan” strolls into the district and U.S. law enforcement begins to put pressure on the counterfeit trade, everything the duo has worked for is threatened. Pretty soon, a machete-wielding Yuda is having jungle flashbacks in his own backyard and setting his prize boat ablaze, while Kirin is leading a ragtag army of street kids into a CGI-splashed, Takashi Miike-esque samurai showdown, leading to a tripped-out jungle finale that’s laced with a sprinkle of AGUIRRE-era Werner Herzog and a pinch of APOCALYPSE NOW.
TACTICAL UNIT: COMRADES IN ARMS
(Hong Kong, 2008, Law Wing-cheong, North American premiere)
Produced by Johnnie To, this is one of a recent series of PTU films that use the same characters and actors as the original PTU to tell further stories of these noble flatfoots. (Note: a PTU is a Police Tactical Unit, a team of four beat cops who patrol the mean streets of Hong Kong). Now it’s six years later and Lam Suet, the detective who lost his gun in PTU, has been demoted to a PTU driver. Simon Yam is still Brother Sam, a simmering, occasionally brutal career cop, and he’s got reason to simmer. His one-time subordinate, May (Milkyway regular, Maggie Siu), has been promoted over his head, leading to tension between the two, and their respective subordinates are on the verge of brawling in the streets. When an armored car robbery goes wrong the crooks flee to the heavily wooded Red Flower Peak, and these city cops are dropped into the wilderness to track them down. “Hope we won’t bump into the bad guys,” says May and that sums them up perfectly. These aren’t macho hard cases, but uniformed clock punchers concerned with promotions, death benefits and what’s for lunch.
Filmed by Ching Siu-keung (director of photography on nearly every Milkyway movie all the way back to LOVING YOU in 1995) and written by Yau Nai-hoi (EYE IN THE SKY) this film is stuffed with Milkyway’s stable of character actors, from Simon Yam and Maggie Siu, to Lam Suet, Samuel Pang and many more. And while none of the uniformed working stiffs in this movie find redemption or come to some major life decision, that’s the point. For a beat cop, on some days, just coming home alive is enough.
THE FORBIDDEN DOOR
(Indonesia, 2009, Joko Anwar, North American Premiere)
The director of last year’s festival favorite, KALA, is back and boy is this one twisted. Like a 19th century gothic novel adapted by Alfred Hitchcock and directed by David Lynch, this movie about a sculptor and the horrible things he does to become successful is one of the sickest, kinkiest movies we’ve ever screened. Graceful, gliding, with a Saul Bass-inspired opening credits sequence and a Bernard Herrmann-esque score we feel confident when we say you’ve never seen evil look quite so beautiful.
(Indonesia, 2008, Riri Riza, New York Premiere)
This Indonesian blockbuster gives feel good films a good name. Set in the 70’s, it’s about a small, rural Muslim school that needs ten students to stay open. Ten enroll and the movie follows them over the next five years of their lives as they struggle to cope with what the world throws at them.
20TH CENTURY BOYS
(Japan, 2008, Yukihiko Tsutsumi, New York Premiere)
20TH CENTURY BOYS: CHAPTER TWO – THE LAST HOPE
(Japan, 2009, Yukihiko Tsutsumi, New York Premiere)
As revered as the DEATH NOTE series, 20TH CENTURY BOYS (named after the T. Rex song) is an epic, acclaimed manga series finally realized as three much-anticipated movies, with the third, concluding installment coming out in August 2009. In 1969, a group of kids start a club where they imagine the earth being destroyed by evil and they have to save the day. Decades later, they’re disillusioned adults and when their childhood fantasies of global destruction begin to come true they realize that it’s up to them to…gulp…actually save the world. At times ridiculous, thrilling, silly and profound this is the kind of breakneck narrative that races forward without giving you a chance to catch your breath, capable of inspiring laughs and goosebumps simultaneously. Japan has perfected the art of these massive, multi-part, based-on-a-manga summer blockbusters.
(The 20th Century Boys manga is currently being released in America by Viz. Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
ALL AROUND US
(Japan, 2008, Ryosuke Hashiguchi, New York Premiere)
After a seven-year break, director Ryosuke Hashiguchi is back and the results are shattering. This movie observes eight years of a marriage, marking the passage of time with famous Japanese murder trials covered by the husband who is a courtroom sketch artist. As his wife wrestles with depression and the two of them try to hold on to each other the movie becomes scalding water thrown on all of your emotional weak points. Actress Tae Kimura won “Best Actress” for her performance as the wife at the Japanese Academy Awards and she deserves it. An amazing, sensitive film that speaks quietly but makes everyone sit up and listen.
(Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
BE A MAN! SAMURAI SCHOOL
(Japan, 2008, Tak Sakaguchi, New York Premiere)
An action comedy about a school where real men are formed in a crucible of bare knuckled brawling. Action superstar Tak Sakaguchi unveils his tongue-in-cheek directorial debut with BE A MAN! SAMURAI SCHOOL, a wild journey to the secretive Otoko-juku university, Japan’s only remaining samurai school, where machismo is taught with an iron fist and bullying is required. Pure slapstick martial arts mayhem, the movie starts when Otoko-juku’s latest recruits show up completely unaware of what it takes to make the grade – and soon find themselves in a world of endless pain. With their upperclassmen and teachers forcing the n00bs through a series of humiliating and dangerous punishments straight out of a SAW sequel, the first year freshmen are nearly ready to throw in the towel. All that changes, however, when a power hungry ex-student (BATTLEFIELD BASEBALL’s Hideo Sakaki) shows up with a band of warriors to reclaim the university as his own. Suddenly, the students and staff of SAMURAI SCHOOL find it’s time put aside their differences, band together and…be a man!
Tak Sakaguchi will introduce the movie with his fellow stuntman and action choreographer, Isao Karasawa.
CHILDREN OF THE DARK
(Japan,2008, Junji Sakamoto, North American)
A Japanese movie shot in Thailand about the child trafficking business (both for sex and for their internal organs) sounds awful, but this movie blew us away with its unblinking, hard-nosed howls of outrage. Full of more horrible sights per second than any other movie made this year. Of course, it’s been banned in Thailand.
(Japan, 2008, Masato Harada, North American Premiere)
Masato Harada, director of last year’s SHADOW SPIRIT, gets his Howard Hawks on again with this gripping ensemble drama about a group of newspapermen covering the real-life tragedy of a 1985 plane crash in the mountains of central Japan. Headlined by Shinichi Tsutsumi from the ALWAYS movies, who plays a mountaineer-turned-reporter, the story concentrates less on the disaster and more on the moral responsibility of the men assigned to tell the story of the tragedy, and how the event nearly destroyed their lives and relationships.
THE CLONE RETURNS HOME
(Japan, 2008, Kanji Nakajima, New York Premiere)
It’s been compared to Tarkovsky’s SOLARIS, and they ain’t wrong. Executive produced by Wim Wenders and debuting at the Sundance Film Festiva this quietly shimmering science fiction movie starts as hard sci fi and then morphs into a surreal space opera set on earth. An astronaut dies in an accident while in orbit, but surprise! The Japanese Space Agency cloned him before he went up into space and now his wife gets the traumatized clone as a consolation prize.
(Japan, 2009, Yoshihiro Nakamura, North American Premiere)
If you miss this dense, intricately plotted hymn to the powers of rock and roll, you’ll kick yourself. In 1975, one year before the Sex Pistols debuted, Gekirin was a Japanese punk band that recorded a single song called “Fish Story” and then broke up. Years later, their song saves the world. Literally.
(Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
HARD REVENGE MILLY
(Japan, 2008, Takanori Tsujimoto)
HARD REVENGE MILLY: BLOODY BATTLE
(Japan, 2009, Takanori Tsujimoto, North American Premiere)
Writer/director Takanori Tsujimoto (KIRU) delivers a one-two punch with HARD REVENGE, MILLY and HARD REVENGE, MILLY: BLOODY BATTLE, a killer double feature that turns the revenge film on its head – right before it slices its head off. Set in a near future that’s the NRA’s worst nightmare, gun control laws have been taken off the books and Asia has been overrun by violent criminals. With its cities abandoned and in ruin the country is quickly overrun by marauding gangs straight out of a 70’s Italian exploitation movie. When Milly’s husband and infant child are killed before her eyes by bloodthirsty punks (led by CROMARTIE HIGH’s Mitsuki Koga), she becomes a one-woman killing machine, fueled by a burning need for revenge. And by a bunch of weaponry built into her cybernetic body.
(Japan, 1977, Nobuhiko Obayashi)
A special screening of a restored master of Obayashi’s head-spinning, unbelievably surreal and completely amazing 1977 horror movie. The only horror film you’ve ever seen that was written by a eleven-year-old girl (literally), this is the kind of mind blower that is whispered about but rarely screened. One part glossy teen hijinx, one part horror movie, and one part whacked out whatzit, this long-lost headtrip from Japan can’t be described, it can only be experienced. We’re extremely proud to bring this movie to audiences on the big screen with this restored digital master, featuring a video introduction from the director, the inimitable Nobuhiko Obayashi – or OB as he’s known. OB didn’t follow the traditional route to becoming a filmmaker, choosing to carve his own path, releasing a bevy of mind-bending 8mm movies in the Japanese film underground. By the mid-70’s he’d become a famous director of commercials, shooting the infamous Charles Bronson “Mandom” commercials on the Toho lot. While there, Toho invited him to make a feature film. The industry was crashing so hard that they were willing to give the keys to the studio to just about anyone at the time. Thank god they did, otherwise we wouldn’t have HOUSE.
Introduced by its devoted fans, directors Yoshihiro Nishimura and Noboru Iguchi.
K-20: LEGEND OF THE MASK
(Japan, 2008, Shimako Sato, New York Premiere)
In an alternate history where World War II never happened and Japan is full of airships and antique cars, K-20 is a thief and master of disguise who has Tokyo in the palm of his hand. Then circus acrobat (the apparently ageless Takeshi Kaneshiro from CHUNGKING EXPRESS, ACCURACY OF DEATH, FALLEN ANGELS and more) gets mistaken for the shadowy villain and the chase is on. One of the biggest Japanese productions of recent years, and featuring special effects by the team behind the ALWAYS movies, K-20 is an old-school, running-and jumping, two-fisted, pulpy, steampunk action adventure in the grand tradition of swashbuckling Errol Flynn movies. And, oddly enough for a Japanese film, it’s got a female director at the helm.
(Japan, 2008, Sion Sono, New York Premiere)
The director of EXTE and NORIKO’S DINNER TABLE returns with one of the most amazing cinematic achievements of the year. A four-hour epic about pornography, Catholicism, religion, families, bad fathers, absent moms, kung fu, girl gangs, true love, cross-dressing, kung fu, upskirt photography, incest, sexual identity, cults and mental illness, this movie will cleanse you of your sins and leave you horny as hell. it is by turns hilarious, heart-breaking, insufferable and accomplished. This is the kind of flick where you come out feeling clean, refreshed and horny. There’s just nothing else like it out there, this is your only chance to see it, and if you ever loved movies you cannot afford to miss it.
Director Sion Sono will be present to bless the audience at the screening. (Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
THE MAGIC HOUR
(Japan, 2008, Koki Mitani, New York Premiere)
Koki Mitani (UNIVERSITY OF LAUGHS) has turned in a film that could be a lost screwball comedy classic from Hollywood’s golden age. A low level gangster is caught having an affair with his boss’s mistress. To make amends he agrees to help his boss hire the world’s greatest hitman for an upcoming gang war. Unable to procure said hitman he finds an out-of-work actor to play the part, convincing him that he’s actually making a movie about the world’s greatest hitman. Lavish, unbelievably ridiculous filmmaking at its best.
(Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
MONSTER X STRIKES BACK: ATTACK THE G8 SUMMIT
(Japan, 2008, Minoru Kawasaki, North American Premiere)
GEHARA: THE LONG-HAIRED GIANT MONSTER
(Japan, 2009, Kiyotaka Taguchi, short film)
Guilala and Gehara are the two goofiest giant monsters in Japanese cinema and these two films lovingly recreate and satirize Japanese kaiju movies of the 60’s and 70’s. GEHARA is a lovingly made short film about giant monsters, MONSTER X is from Minoru Kawasaki (CALAMARI WRESTLER and EXECUTIVE KOALA) and it’s a remake/sequel to 1967’s THE X FROM OUTER SPACE featuring the hideous space chicken, Guilala. Here, in a tribute to classic giant monster films, Kawasaki turns the “stupid” dial up to 11 and loads the film with old school special effects as Guilala attacks the G-8 summit and the world’s leaders have to kick its kaiju butt. Also featuring: Takeshi Kitano as “Take-Majin” the savior of Japan. Between these two films you’ll get more monster love than you’ve had all year.
(Japan, 2009, Kengo Kaji, North American Premiere)
Yoshihiro Nishimura produced and is responsible for the outrageously gore-soaked special effects in this movie about a samurai girl who’s actually a cyborg. Her breasts are bombs, her feet contain rockets and she’s up against bad guys with chainsaw arms. As stupid and jaw-dropping as it sounds.
Presented by its producer and special effects director, Yoshihiro Nishimura and visual effects director, Tsuyoshi Kazuno.
SNAKES AND EARRINGS
(Japan, 2008, Yukio Ninagawa, North American Premiere)
Based on the best-selling novel about a woman who decides that her one goal in life is to have her tongue split, this is the sexy body modification opus you’ve been waiting for. Yuriko Yoshitaka gives an incredibly raw, totally exposed performance that’s cleaning up the awards and she’s the anchor for this emotional, erotic, disturbing and seductive movie for anyone who ever looked at a pierced tongue and thought, “Well, maybe…”
(Japan, 2008, Hajime Kadoi, New York Premiere)
A warts-and-all look at the way Japan executes those it sentences to death. It quietly builds to a powerful punch in the guts as a guard volunteers to be the guy who holds down the legs of a condemned prisoner when he’s hung in order to get extra vacation time.
(Presented in association with Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film)
VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL
(2008, Japan, Naoyuki Tomomatsu & Yoshihiro Nishimura, World Premiere)
After welcoming the New Flesh in TOKYO GORE POLICE, special effects genius and director, Yoshihiro Nishimura, goes for something decidedly more slapstick with VAMPIRE GIRL VS. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL, which he co-directs with Naoyuki Tomomatsu of STACY, ZOMBIE SELF DEFENSE FORCE and EAT THE SCHOOLGIRL fame. Based on a manga by Shungiku Uchida, this moving drama tells a tale of two schoolgirls who pine for the same young lad. Young Mizushima is a handsome fellow with floppy locks who cuts a dashing figure in his school uniform. On Valentine’s Day, new student Monami gives him a box of chocolates that represent life, which is often said to resemble them in many ways. But Monami isn’t just a new student, she is also a vampire, and the chocolates contain her blood, which causes Mizushima to trip balls when he eats them. It is at that moment, when Mizushima is freaking out most mightily, that Monami opens her heart: she wants the two of them to live together forever as vampires. Romantic!
But Mizushima already has a girlfriend! Keiko! And she’s pissed! Fortunately she’s got a mad scientist dad, with a secret laboratory on school property, and he turns his daughter into a Franken-Keiko Monster made of bits and pieces chopped from the cooling corpses of her classmates. As we all know, this kind of vampire vs. Frankenstein conflict can only be solved by fighting, beating, stabbing, chewing, clawing and a showdown high atop Tokyo Tower.
Introduced by director Yoshihiro Nishimura, action director Tak Sakaguchi and visual effects supervisor Tsuyoshi Kazuno
YOROI SAMURAI ZOMBIE
(2008, Japan, Tak Sakaguchi, New York Premiere)
What could be more fun that watching a bunch of rotting, samurai zombies rise from the grave and go after a happy little family on their vacation? Throw in some heavily armed crooks on the run and a gaggle of mentally unbalanced cops and garnish with hard-rocking horror action.
Tak Sakaguchi will introduce the movie with his fellow stuntman and action choreographer Isao Karasawa.
WHEN THE FULL MOON RISES
(Malaysia, 2008, Mamat Khalid, North American Premiere)
The best way to describe this movie is Guy Maddin taking on the history of Malaysian cinema. Most of Malaysia’s older movies have been destroyed by the ravages of time, so director Mamat Khalid makes a “lost” black-and-white thriller from the 50’s, that’s part loving homage and part sharp-eyed send-up. Full of secret communist cults, werewolves, were-tigers, ghosts, private eyes, midgets and eerie secrets, it’s so deadpan you don’t know if you should be laughing or crying. An epic homemade achievement of brain-boiling strangeness and charm.
(South Korea, 2008, Min Gyu-Dong, North American Premiere)
One of the surprise hits of 2008, this flick stars four of Korea’s hottest actors and is based on a wildly popular shojo manga series, Antique Bakery by Fumi Yoshinaga. Oh, and it’s a musical about gays of demonic charm, pastry chefs, and child abduction.
(South Korea, 2009, Lee Hwan & Yang Ik-joon, North American Premiere)
Winner of the top award at this year’s Rotterdam Film Festival this movie is a labor of love by Yang Ik-Joon who wrote, directed and stars. Playing one of the most unrepentant thugs ever to grace the silver screen, he’s a debt collector who’s in it purely for the violence. But when he meets a high school girl who’s as unrelenting and tough as he is his world begins to come apart. From its first shouted obscenity to its last bloody beat-down, this is an uncompromising dissection of male violence that’ll leave you completely ravaged and violated.
CRUSH AND BLUSH
(South Korea, 2008, Lee Kyeong-Mi, North American Premiere)
This hysteria-fueled comedy from Korea has already acquired a cult following and it’s easy to see why. Produced by Park Chan-Wook (OLDBOY, and he also has a cameo – as does HOST director Bong Joon-Ho) it’s from first time female director Lee Kyeong-Mi and it stars actress Kong Hyo-Jin as a high school Russian teacher demoted to teaching English, a language she barely understands. Her solution? All-out war with the teacher she views as the source of her misery. The kind of movie that’s very, very funny until it goes too far and starts making the audience very, very uncomfortable.
(South Korea, 2008, Ryu Seung-wan, US Premiere)
Ryu Seung-Wan (CITY OF VIOLENCE) makes this pitch perfect send-up of the (anti-Communist and anti-Japanese) Korean spy and action cinema of the 70’s and 80’s that stands alone as a gut-busting comedy, a breathtaking action flick and a satire of Korea’s motion picture past. You don’t need to know the history to get the endless stream of one-liners, sight gags and surreal jokes… DACHIMAWA LEE is an unholy blend of Stephen Chow, the Zucker Brothers and Jackie Chan full of elaborate set pieces and ridiculous contrivances, including a 15 minute tribute to Tsui Hark’s THE BLADE, random cutaways to two old guys exchanging over-the-top anti-communist invective while standing beside the Han River, dubbed maniacal laughter, completely unhandsome leading men, and more ace martial arts and stunts than you can shake a stick at.
Director Ryu Seung-Wan will introduce the movie.
(South Korea, 2008, Kim Ki-duk, North American Premiere)
From Korea’s number one cinematic transgressor comes this surreal, dark fantasy about two people who find that their dreams are connected. Kim Ki-Duk directs this dark fantasy starring Japan’s Joe Odagiri and Korea’s Lee Na-Young. It’s a return to form by a master director, full of in-your-face physicality and scenes that don’t just go over the line but set the line on fire. Ultimately Kim Ki-Duk is chasing bigger philosophical fish, however, wondering if dreams are a product of reality or if reality is a product of our dreams.
GO GO 70’s
(South Korea, 2008, Ho Choi, North American Premiere)
Do you wanna funk with Korea? After watching this infectious, period-perfect, butt-bumping, hip-grinding flick about the rise of real life 70’s funk band, The Devils, your answer will be: hell yes. These rock n’ roll rebels were a flashpoint for social protest and GO GO 70’s offers up plenty of tacky fashions, groove-a-licious musical numbers and enough politics to set the night on fire.
A slice of real life history, GO GO ’70s pulses with raw funk, refusing to succumb to Hollywood biopic cliche. Choi Ho (BLOODY TIE) keeps the focus on the interpersonal dynamics and the draconian political climate of the time. Jo Seung-Woo provides a courageously stormy picture of Sang-Gyu, whose ego tears the group asunder. Real-life rocker Cha Seung-Woo gives an astonishing freshman turn as simple, music-loving Man-Sik, never putting a foot wrong, and as Mimi, Shin Min-Ah is a giddy revelation, going from unappreciated fangirl to strobe-lit soul sister, freaking out onstage like Tina Turner. In GO GO ’70s, emotion is music and music is politics. When the Devils hijack a government-sponsored folk singer’s B-side, it’s an ecstatic spurt of funk-punk terrorism. You’ll be forgiven for getting a lump in your throat when Sang-Gyu screams, “We are all offenders of decadence!” That’s the power of soul.
(South Korea, 2008, Jang Hun, North American Premiere)
A spoiled, pampered and destructive actor known for playing gangsters winds up starring in his latest movie with a real-life street thug, hired at the last minute. Plenty of fights and action if you’re here for that sort of thing, but of far more interest is the slowly evolving, ever-unfolding nature of the lead actors whose journey from star to wreck and from gangster to diva are chronicled in intense close-up. This is one of those high concept action movies that under-promises and over-delivers to become an intimate, intense dissection of two characters who are both very bad men in very different ways.
CAPE NO. 7
(Taiwan, 2008, Wei Te-sheng, New York Premiere)
The highest grossing movie ever released in Taiwan, CAPE NO. 7 is less of a movie than a phenomenon. Things kick off when a pop star decides to hold a concert in a tiny seaside town and the civic booster mayor vows to form a local band to be the opening act. Think of it as THE FULL MONTY only with Mando-pop instead of stripping and you’ve got the idea. The director mortgaged his house and borrowed money from friends to make this film and it’s so carefully observed, full of weird characters and completely crowd-pleasing that it’s amazing it’s his first film to get a theatrical release.
THE IFC CENTER
323 Sixth Avenue
(between 3rd and 4th Streets)
New York, NY 10014
Box office: 212.924.7771
Take the A, B, C, D, E, F or V
to the West 4th Street/Washington Square stop
or the 1 to Christopher Street/Sheridan Sq.
12:00 EMPRESS AND THE WARRIORS (95)
2:00 EYE IN THE SKY (90)
3:45 GEHARA / MONSTER X (115)
6:30 WARLORDS (110)
9:00 WRITTEN BY (89) with introduction and Q&A with director Wai Ka-fai and star Lau Ching-wan.
11:30 (theater 1) Pink Film double feature – program #1 (126): GROPER TRAIN: BLACK PEARL and JAPANESE WIFE NEXT DOOR.
12:00 (theater 2) YOROI SAMURAI ZOMBIE (90)
11:30 DREAM (97)
1:30 TACTICAL UNIT: COMRADES IN ARMS (91)
3:30 PLASTIC CITY (92)
5:30 LONGEST NITE
8:15 K-20 (138)
11:30 (theater 1) WHEN THE FULL MOON RISES (108)
11:30 (theater 2) SAMURAI PRINCESS (83)
11:30 20th CENTURY BOYS (143)
2:15 20th CENTURY BOYS 2 (141)
5:00 MAGAZINE GAP ROAD (89) with introduction and Q&A with director Nick Chin
11:30 WRITTEN BY (89) with introduction and Q&A with director Wai Ka-fai and star Lau Ching-wan.
9:45 DACHIMAWA LEE (99)
11:00 CAPE No. 7 (129)
1:25 ANTIQUE (112)
3:25 EYE IN THE SKY (90)
5:20 TACTICAL UNIT: COMRADES IN ARMS (91)
7:15 IP MAN (106)
9:30 THE CLONE RETURNS HOME (111)
11:00 OLD FISH (108)
1:05 HIGH NOON (106)
3:10 EQUATION OF LOVE AND DEATH (93)
5:10 QUICK GUN MURUGAN (97)
7:15 WARLORDS (110)
9:30 ROUGH CUT (114) with introduction by star So Ji-sup.
11:10 private screening
1:25 CHILDREN OF THE DARK (138)
4:00 IF YOU ARE THE ONE (125)
6:30 ROUGH CUT (114) – preceded by Rising Star Asia award presentation with actress Kong Hyo-jin and actor So Ji-sup.
9:15 CRUSH AND BLUSH (102) with introduction by star Kong Hyo-jin
11:00 PLASTIC CITY (92)
1:00 OLD FISH (108)
3:10 MAGAZINE GAP ROAD (89)
5:00 CRUSH AND BLUSH (102) with introduction by star Kong Hyo-jin
7:15 BREATHLESS (131)
10:00 HOUSE (88) featuring video message from director Nobuhiko Obayashi and with introduction by Nishimura and Iguchi
11:00 RAINBOW TROOPS (120)
1:15 SNAKES AND EARRINGS (124)
3:40 MSFF Korean Short Films Program #1 (89)
5:30 DACHIMAWA LEE (99) with introduction by star Kong Hyo-jin
7:30 VAMPIRE GIRL vs. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL (85 with introduction by and Q&A with director Nishimura and action director Tak Sakaguchi.
9:45 YOROI SAMURAI ZOMBIE (90) with introduction by and Q&A with director Tak Sakaguchi
11:55 (theater 1) Pink Film Double Feature Program #2 (132): BLIND LOVE AND GROPER TRAIN: WEDDING CAPRICCIO with introduction by director Daisuke Goto.
12:15 (theater 2) HARD REVENGE MILLY (120) with introduction by Nishimura.
11:00 EXODUS (95)
1:00 FISH STORY (113)
3:15 MSFF Korean Short Films Program #2 (95)
5:40 ANTIQUE (112)
8:00 BE A MAN! SAMURAI SCHOOL (111)
11:00 (theater 1) TOKYO GORE NIGHT(170)
12:00 (theater 2) FORBIDDEN DOOR (111)
11:00 GEHARA / MONSTER X (115)
1:15 FIVE DEADLY VENOMS (99)
3:20 PRIDE (127)
5:50 FORBIDDEN DOOR (111)
8:10 RAINBOW TROOPS (120)
10:30 LALAPIPO (119)
11:00 WRITTEN BY (89)
12:50 EXODUS (95)
2:50 IP MAN (106)
5:00 BE A MAN! SAMURAI SCHOOL (111) with introduction by and Q&A with Sakaguchi and Karasawa
7:40 VAMPIRE GIRL vs. FRANKENSTEIN GIRL (85) with introduction by and Q&A with Nishimura and Sakaguchi.
9:40 CHILDREN OF THE DARK (138)
11:30 GO GO 70s (118)
1:45 K-20 (138)
4:30 SAMURAI PRINCESS (83) with introduction by Nishimura
6:30 HARD REVENGE MILLY (120) with introduction by Nishimura
9:15 CLIMBERS HIGH (145)
11:00 THE CLONE RETURNS HOME (111)
1:15 EQUATION OF LOVE AND DEATH (95)
3:15 WHEN THE FULL MOON RISES (108)
5:30 QUICK GUN MURUGAN (97)
7:30 DREAM (97)
9:30 IF YOU ARE THE ONE (125)
11:15 CLIMBERS HIGH (145)
2:00 BREATHLESS (131)
4:30 CAPE No. 7 (129)
7:00 SNAKES AND EARRINGS (124)
9:30 GO GO 70s (118)
333 East 47th Street
(between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
New York, NY 10017
Box Office: (212) 715-1258,
Monday – Friday, 10 am – 4:45 pm
Take the 6 to 51st Street or 42nd Street – Grand Central Station, or the E or V to Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street.
6:30 VACATION (112)
9:00 THE MAGIC HOUR (136)
6:15 FISH STORY (112)
8:45 ALL AROUND US (140)
4:00 VACATION (112)
6:15 LOVE EXPOSURE with introduction by and Q&A with director Sion Sono.
11:45 20th CENTURY BOYS (142)
2:30 20th CENTURY BOYS 2 (139)
12:00 THE MAGIC HOUR (136)
2:45 ALL AROUND US (140)
5:30 PRIDE (126)
8:15 BE SURE TO SHARE (109) with introduction by and Q&A with director Sion Sono