With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Saturday, June 30, 2012

ACF 1523: Opening Night at NYAFF

Scene from Pang Ho-cheung's Vulgaria

Last night I attended the 2012 New York Asian Film Festival's opening night screening of Vulgaria.

It was the most joyous film night of my life.

Just before 6 pm I left my apartment in Riverdale, a section of the Bronx near the Hudson River. Walked east several blocks, then up the three flights of stairs to the Number 1 train for the ride down to Lincoln Center, which takes a bit under an hour.

Grabbed a chili-dog from a street vendor after I got out at the 66th Street subway stop and ate it on the short walk to the Walter Reade Theater of the Film Society of Lincoln Center, which is on 65th Street just east of Broadway.

The terrific 2012 NYAFF T-shirt

I had some time before my scheduled interview with Pang Ho-cheung, director of Vulgaria, at 7:15, so I got my 2012 NYAFF t-shirt which features terrific graphics from Oldboy, which will be shown at 1 pm today (Saturday) and King Boxer, a.k.a. Five Fingers of Death, which is playing at 5:30 today. I also grabbed a copy of the gorgeous,, full color NYAFF festival brochure and some other materials about NYAFF and the upcoming Japan Cuts festival, which will run July 12-28, 2012.

When the time came, I was led up, around and down various stairways and hallways to one of the "Green Rooms" where I had my 15 minute interview with director Pang. (I made this trek a couple of times for interviews at the 2011 NYAFF and have almost gotten the hang of it. But I still think I might get lost if I had to do it on my own.) Pang's English was very good, and the available interpreter was only needed briefly a very few times. Hope to get the interview online very soon.

With director Pang after our interview

I then hooked up with Colleen Wanglund; she writes for the VCinema blog, to which I also post as well as serving as a co-host on the VCinema podcast. I was glad to have the presence of mind to introduce her to the members of Subway Cinema who were passing by from time to time.

Then it was time for the 8:30 screening of Vulgaria. After the prime movers of Subway Cinema were introduced, Grady Hendrix, one of the original founders of Subway Cinema gave his usual energetic and rousing, P.T. Barnum-like address to the audience, which pretty much packed the theater. Pang spoke briefly, then the film began.

And it was a rousing success. This was the first time that I'd attended the opening night screening at NYAFF, and it was just as I expected. The film (which I've reviewed here at ACF) was a perfect choice. The audience roared with laughter, over-and-over-and-over again, and there were empathetic responses to some of the touching scenes involving the main character's young daughter, scenes that serve as beautifully measured counterpoints to the raunchy vulgarity that dominates the film.

I wasn't able to stay for Pang's Q&A after the film or for the free beer provided by festival sponsor Kirin. Wish I could have.

But it still was as perfect an evening as I could've dared hoped for. And I think that probably was that way for just about everyone else who attended.

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