With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

ACF 1491: INTO THE NEW WORLD

Into the New World
Directed by Haruhito Naka
USA, 2011, 25 minutes
Japanese with English Subtitles
Japan CineFest: Short Film Program
When: Friday, June 8, 2012, 6:30 PM
Where: Asia Society and Museum
725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NYC
Map here

It's 2011, ten years after the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were destroyed, with massive loss of innocent life. A long haired Asian youth stands on the edge of a roof-top, then falls forward.
 
Only this didn't really happen. It's a dream that Mariko (Yukiko Yamamoto), who is in Japan, has about her boyfriend Tetsuji (Tet Wada). He is an artist living in New York.
 
Concerned that he's succumbing to an "I wanna die" mania, she flies to New York, then takes a subway to the Upper East Side where Tetsuji lives. (Mariko has a sheet of paper with his address on it. Savvy New Yorkers will quickly recognize that there's no "846 93rd Street" in Manhattan, and that there's no 12001 ZIP code. Also, she gets off at the 110th Street and Lexington stop of the subway, whereas if she was actually going to East 93rd Street she'd get off at the 96th Street stop, even allowing for her being an out-of-towner. And it's worth noting for narrative purposes that Tetsuji's apartment number is 911.)

Tetsuji (Tet Wada), left, and Mariko (Yukiko Yamamoto)

After her exit from the subway, her journey becomes quite strange, even somewhat hallucinatory. She finds Tetsuji playing a video game with a figure he identifies as God. The odd thing is that the TV is not on, making their game-play somewhat problematic. Oh, and God just happens to be wearing a full head-piece African mask and a serape.

Into the New World is another fine short in this terrific program coming to Asia Society on Friday. Strange and unsettling in ways, it's ultimately an affirmation of the resilience of the life force around us. And, not to diminish the film itself in any way, I must comment that I found the design of the end titles, something that rarely is given any consideration beyond providing credit information, to be absolutely lovely and delightful.

Click here for information about Into the New World and the other films in the Japan CineFest: Short Film Program, a co-presentation of Asia Society and Mar Creation, Inc.

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