The New York Asian Film Festival is back this year, and its brought with it perhaps the most eclectic lineup yet. If you’re going to be in or near New York City between now and July 1st make an effort to catch some of these recommended screenings:
Ski Jumping Pairs: The Road to Torino (Japan) – The next level in Olympic sports has arrived, this documentary tells us, and it’s paired ski jumping. Invented by a physicist, this new sport has two athletes strapped onto one pair of skis. If it sounds too weird to be true, that’s because it is, even for the Japanese. Ski Jumping Pairs: The Road to Torino is a mockumentary done so straight it’s confused audiences globally. The film was so successful that the producers made a short sequel, Ski Jumping Pairs: Flight Test, which is playing with Cromartie High School and Oh! My Zombie Mermaid.
A Bittersweet Life (Korea) – Perhaps the coolest tough guy film since Melville put Alain Delon in a trenchcoat, A Bittersweet Life is a blood soaked revenge film that’s also a commentary on blood soaked revenge films. I don’t know what it is about Korea, but they just keep hitting it right out of the park. This is the New York premiere of the film, by the way.
Oh! My Zombie Mermaid (Japan) – I haven’t had a chance to see this one yet, so I will give you the official synopsis, which makes my eyes impatient: “Like a musical production of SPLASH performed by the World Wrestling Federation OH! MY ZOMBIE MERMAID works as an over-the-edge action film and an over-the-top send-up of disease-of-the-week Lifetime movies. Sprinkle a bit of Bruce Lee’s GAME OF DEATH on top and you’ve got a super-slamming cinematic sundae that seeks out your pleasure centers like a sugar rush.”
Gangster (Malaysia) – Forget Fast and the Furious 3 – the real illegal street racing action is happening in this totally fucking nuts Malaysian film that was number one in its home country last year. It’s a nutty, crystal meth-paced films about impossibly fast street races, pimps, assassins and more. You have to see this one in a packed theater.
Peacock (China) – When you’ve calmed down from Gangster’s sugar rush, check out the quiet and lovely Peacock, about a family picking up the pieces after China’s Cultural Revolution. It’s a moving, haunting movie that never gets dull. It’s also, in many ways, one of the more uplifting movies in recent years.
The Great Yokai War (Japan) – It’s Miike! What else do I have to say? It would help to say that while this isn’t a boundary pushing dive into horror – it’s a fantasy kids movie! – The Great Yokai War is still mostly insane and packed with more ideas per minute than most films manage to get into their whole running time. And best of all it’s filled with monsters, and they’re all practical. It’s as if Nightbreed crossed over with Lidsville.
The Art of the Devil 2 (Thailand) – You don’t have to even know there is an Art of the Devil 1 to enjoy this sick black magic revenge film. Directed by a literal team of people, The Art of the Devil 2 has a group of school kids play a nasty prank on their teacher. Many years, and many demon summonings, later, she gets her revenge in a gloriously bloody way that is not for the faint of heart.
Those are just some of the recommended films this year. For the full list of movies, and to buy tickets, hit Subway Cinema’s NYAFF page by clicking here. Film fans, support this fest and these guys!