With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2019

"Relentless Invention: New Korean Cinema, 1996–2003" playing at Lincoln Center Nov 22 - Dec 4

Film at Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema
In collaboration with the Korean Cultural Center New York
Relentless Invention: New Korean Cinema, 1996–2003
When: November 22 - December 4, 2019
Where: Walter Reade Theater
165 W 65th Street, NYC

The South Korean film industry has been in the midst of a remarkable, decades-long creative explosion, with Bong Joon Ho, Hong Sang-soo, and Park Chan-wook jolting new life into art-house and genre cinema alike. With the end of the nation’s military rule and the relaxing of government censorship, Korean film experienced the kind of renaissance that hadn’t been seen since its golden age in the 1950s. This new generation of filmmakers took more than political and social issues as their inspiration: they re-energized national cinema in the late 1990s and early 2000s with homegrown blockbusters that imbued the pleasures of pop cinema with a subversive, gleefully inventive approach to genre and a sharp sociopolitical edge. From heart-rending romances to supernatural shockers, ultra-stylish thrillers to offbeat comedies, this survey celebrates a vital movement that’s as audaciously innovative as it is unabashedly entertaining.

Early films by recent Palme d’Or–winner Bong Joon Ho (Parasite, now playing at FLC) will be showcased in the series, including his debut feature Barking Dogs Never Bite and a 4K restoration of Memories of Murder, a gonzo police procedural based on the recently solved true story of South Korea’s first serial killer, as well as work from master Park Chan-wook, including the Rashomon-esque murder mystery Joint Security Area and the first two entries in Park’s Vengeance Trilogy, the blood-splattered Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and a new 4K restoration of Oldboy. Additional 4K restorations featured in the series include the North American premiere of the restoration of Ryoo Seung-wan’s debut Die Bad; Lee Myung-se’s hallucinatory thriller Nowhere to Hide, visually influenced by film noir, silent cinema, slapstick comedy, and Hong Kong action cinema; Kwak Jae-yong’s irresistible romantic comedy My Sassy Girl; Song Neung-han’s subversive, wildly inventive crime drama satire No. 3; and Save the Green Planet!, a genre-bending, whiplash-inducing mash-up of sci-fi, horror, and psychological drama from director Jang Joon-hwan.

Other highlights include The Day a Pig Fell into the Well, the debut feature from frequent NYFF filmmaker Hong Sang-soo; Jeong Jae-eun’s Take Care of My Cat, a coming-of-age portrait of five young millennial women that explores issues of friendship, alienation, and economic anxiety; Kang Je-gyu’s strangely poignant The Gingko Bed, a surreal tale of obsessive love that became one of the first homegrown blockbuster hits produced by the modern Korean film industry; Kim Jee-woon’s jet-black comic thriller The Quiet Family; Hur Jin-ho’s modern Korean classic Christmas in August, an effective tear-jerker about the romance between a traffic cop and a terminally ill photographer; Resurrection of the Little Match Girl, which finds director Jang Sung-woo blurring the lines between cinema, virtual reality, and choose-your-own-adventure thrill ride; Park Jong-won’s rarely seen gem Rainbow Trout, a compelling genre take on backwoods horror; and E J-yong’s Untold Scandal, which transposes the French classic Les Liaisons dangereuses to late 18th-century Korea in a deliciously entertaining study of cruelty and pleasure.

The series, which runs  November 22 - December 04, 2019, was organized by Goran Topalovic, Dennis Lim, and Tyler Wilson.

Tickets are $ 15 General Public, $ 12 Students, Seniors, and Persons with Disabilities, and $ 10 Members. A 3+ Film Package and an All-Access Pass are also available.

For full information about the films, the schedule, and to buy ticket, click here.

ABSURD ACCIDENT will be coming to DVD on November 20, 2019

Cheng Cheng Films
Absurd Accident
Directed by Yuhe Li
Starring: Xixu Chen, Ye Gao, Suxi Ren, Bo Dong, Yunfei Lou
China, 2016,  97 minutes

Bouncing with nail-biting suspense and ingenious humor, young Chinese filmmaker Li Yuhe's feature debut portrays a puzzling crime happened in a rural small town, where greed, lust and wit battle it out in one night. It all starts from a sexually impotent motel owner hiring a pro to murder his cheating wife. Everything goes exactly as planned, until two blind daters, a robber, a policeman and a strange dead body unexpectedly arrive.

Absurd Accident was an official selection at the New York Asian American International Film Festival, a nominee for Best Screenplay at the Shanghai International Film Festival New Asian Talent, and an official selection at the St. Louis International Film Festival.

Absurd Accident will be available on DVD on November 20, 2019.

Here's a link for those interested in purchasing it from Amazon.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

New York City South Asian Film Festival set for November 15-17

Toyota Motor North America
New York City South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF)
When: November 15th - 17th, 2019

After the roaring success of the 5th annual Dallas-Fort Worth South Asian Film Festival (DFW SAFF), Toyota Motor North America presents its second film festival in the United States, the New York City South Asian Film Festival (NYC SAFF), gearing up to make its debut in mid-November at various venues around Chelsea in Manhattan.

"Cultural diversity is something we celebrate every day at Toyota,” said Vinay Shahani, vice president, integrated marketing operations, Toyota Motor North America. “After the success of our partnership with DFW SAFF, we look forward to continuing the celebration of storytelling at the first-ever NYC SAFF, and we hope that festival-goers are inspired by the films."

Produced by JINGO Media, a NYC and Dallas-based events and public relations company, the inaugural, three-day festival boasts world, U.S. and New York City premieres of more than 25 shorts, documentaries and feature films focused on the unique stories of the South Asian Diaspora and those of our brothers and sisters back home. JINGO Media is also the parent company of DFW SAFF, which was conceptualized and created in 2015.

"We are so proud to create yet ANOTHER platform for world-class independent cinema from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan and the Maldives," said Jitin Hingorani, CEO/Principal of JINGO Media, a public relations company that launched in New York City in 2010. "We're coming full circle with this festival because Manhattan is where it all began for us almost 10 years ago. We are certain that the community-at-large will embrace us and celebrate our joyous homecoming."

NYC SAFF has also partnered with The India Center Foundation (ICF), a New York City-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the study of the Indian subcontinent, the promotion of its cultural life and the unique relationship between India and the United States. "To partner with NYC SAFF means that ICF is reaching the audience we wish to serve: contemporary, aware, woke desis and lovers of Indian and Diasporic creativity and storytelling. As a filmmaker whose film was so lovingly received at DFW SAFF, I know we are working with a staff who is dedicated and eager to give New Yorkers the film experience they deserve when it comes to screening South Asian cinema. We are looking forward to partnering on great conversations and panels around the films we see together," said Priya Giri Desai, Founding Director of ICF.

NYC SAFF's exclusive music partner is JioSaavn (founded in 2007 as Saavn), the online music streaming service and a digital distributor of Bollywood, English and other regional Indian music across the world.

“Music has always been an integral part of South Asian culture. We have all experienced a range of it in classical Indian cinema to contemporary Bollywood to regional films to completely new and independent genres. We look forward to the next generation of visual arts conceived in the South Asian Diaspora, and that's why JioSaavn is proud to partner with NYC SAFF and ICF to help create more awareness of their artists' creative work and engaging stories," said Vinodh Bhat, Co-Founder, President and Chief Strategy Officer.

The inaugural NYC SAFF will take place from November 15 to 17, 2019. The opening night film, red carpet and VIP party will be held the Altman Building (135 W 18th, between 6th and 7th). The film screenings on Saturday and Sunday will be at the AMC 34th Street (between 8th and 9th). Centerpiece party will be held at Tailor Public House (505 8th Avenue), and the closing night festivities and awards ceremony take place at the brand new Rumi Event Space (229 W 28th, between 8th and 9th). The entire festival lineup and schedule can be found at www.nycsaff.com.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

TORA-SAN'S RUNAWAY to screen at Japan Society NYC on November 1st

Japan Society NYC
© Shochiku Co., Ltd
Tora-san's Runaway
Directed by Yoji Yamada
With Kiyoshi Atsumi, Chieko Baisho, Aiko Nagayama
Japan, 1970, 88 minutes
DCP, color, in Japanese with English subtitles

When: Friday, November 1st at 7:00 PM
Where: Japan Society NYC
333 East 47th Street
Tickets: $14/$11 seniors, students & persons with disabilities, $5 members

Tora-san travels to Hokkaido to visit a former oyabun (yakuza boss) whose deathbed wish is to meet his estranged son, a train stoker in the city of Otaru whom he abandoned at birth. Affected by the situation, Tora-san renounces the yakuza lifestyle and seeks to earn an honest living as a laborer in Shibamata. He ends up downriver working at a tofu shop where he falls in love with the shop owner’s daughter Setsuko (Aiko Nagayama) and loses track of his original noble intentions. New 4K restoration.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Multinational Film Series "Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination" at Japan Society NYC

Japan Society NYC
Family Romance, LLC © Film Constellation
Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination
When: November 8–December 7 at Japan Society
Where: Japan Society NYC
333 East 47th Street, NYC

From the bustle of neon-lit Shinjuku and its ultramodern skyscrapers to the traditional scenery of Mt. Fuji, cherry blossoms, and Shinto shrines, Tokyo has served as a source of creative inspiration for generations of international filmmakers. Anticipating the 2020 Summer Games, when the eyes of the world will once again fall upon Japan’s dynamic capital, Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination considers the ways Japan—and the elusive concept of “Japaneseness” —is rendered and interpreted outside its borders with a revealing selection of Tokyo-set films by foreign directors, including Japanese co-productions, Hollywood blockbusters, and European arthouse favorites.

The series kicks off November 8th with Werner Herzog’s latest film Family Romance, LLC, a quasi-documentary narrative feature concerning the function of role-playing in matters of love and business, screening in New York for the first time since it debuted at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. Herzog is one of several non-Japanese filmmakers in the series—along with Abbas Kiarostami, Michel Gondry, and Bong Joon-ho—with films featuring all-Japanese casts, offering outsider perspectives in the guise of native speakers.

The majority of the series, however, is made up of films that make cultural difference and discovery their central subjects: poetic essay films chronicling first encounters (Wim Wenders’s Tokyo-Ga and Chris Markers’s Sans Soleil); Western narratives of self-discovery through a figurative embrace of the Japanese “other” (Dorris Dorrie’s Cherry Blossoms and Justin Lin’s The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift); and works focused on the alienating limits of cross-cultural understanding (Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation and Alain Corneau’s Fear and Trembling).

The rarest screening in the lineup is a 35mm presentation of Tokyo Pop (1988), a largely forgotten and overlooked gem of American independent cinema co-written and directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). The film follows a young New York singer (Carrie Hamilton) who moves to Tokyo and soon finds herself romantically and professionally involved with a Japanese rock ‘n’ roller (Yutaka Tadokoro aka Diamond Yukai) who enlists her as his band’s frontwoman. Unavailable on DVD or streaming, Japan Society’s November 22nd showing likely marks the first time Tokyo Pop will screen in New York since its 1988 theatrical run.

“Taken together, the films in this series offer fascinating insights into outside perceptions of Japanese values, customs, and scenery through the specific site of Tokyo, both as a constellation of symbols signifying ‘otherness’ and an actual geographic location,” says K. F. Watanabe, series curator and Deputy Director of Film at Japan Society. “From intimate familiarity and affection to degrees of exoticization and borderline xenophobia, the wide-ranging responses to foreign encounters with Japan embedded in these films also present an opportunity to consider the assumptions we bring to our own engagement with Japanese art and culture, whether as a Japanese, outsider, or someone in-between.”

Tokyo Stories: Japan in the Global Imagination is part of Japan Society’s year-long, institution-wide Passing the Torch series and is organized in conjunction with the exhibition Made in Tokyo: Architecture and Living, 1964/2020, on view through Jan. 26.

Tickets: $14; $11 seniors, students & persons with disabilities; $10 members.
3-Film Pass: Purchase tickets to at least three films in
the same transaction and save $2 off each ticket.
All-Access Pass: $77.