With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


Well Go USA Entertainment
The Divine Fury / Saja
Directed by Joo-hwan Kim
South Korea, 2019, 129 minutes

Korean action-mystery The Divine Fury debuts today on Blu-ray™ Combo, DVD and Digital from Well Go USA Entertainment. Directed by Jason Kim (Midnight Runners), The Divine Fury stars Park Seo-joon (The Chronicles of Evil), Ahn Sung-ki (Unbowed) and Woo Do-hwan (Master), with special appearances by Choi Woo-shik (Train to Busan) and Kim Si-eun (The Beauty Inside).This review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.


After suffering two terrible losses in his youth, Yong-hu (Park Seo-joon) abandons his Christian faith and chooses to only believe in himself. As an adult twenty years later, Yong-hu has become a champion MMA fighter and has everything he has ever wanted, that is until a mysterious wound appears in the palm of his hand. Somewhat reluctantly joining forces with Father Ahn (Ahn Sung-ki), an exorcist, Yong-hu finds himself in the middle of a dangerous fight against otherworldly evil forces seeking to wreak havoc on the human world.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Korean DTS-HDMA 5.1
  -- Korean Stereo
  -- English DTS HDMA 5.1
  -- English Stereo
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Off
-- Bonus
  -- Making Of
    -- Special Effects
    -- Item Commentary
    -- Production Documentary
    -- The World of Evil
    -- Interview with James Jean
-- Previews
    -- Tazza: One Eyed jack
    -- Freaks
    -- The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil

AsianCineFest Review:

It's been over forty-five years since William Friedkin's The Exorcist (based on William Peter Blatty's 1971 novel) scared the bejesus out movie-going audiences with its depiction of the demonic possess of a young girl. The Divine Fury places more emphasis on the fight against "The Dark Bishop's" demons than on the horrific effects on those possessed, though there are some pretty frightful scenes of those afflicted.

For me personally, part of the enjoyment of watching The Divine Fury was due to the starring role of Ahn Sung-ki. Several years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon for him that was sponsored by The Korea Society of New York City. I wasn't that familiar with him at that time, but had read about his career. He was quite pleased when I told him that I had the impression -- if he didn't mind the comparison -- that he was rather like the Tom Hanks of South Korea. One of my day-job co-workers attended the event that evening that Ahn was in town for (I wasn't there) and told me that he repeated what I'd said and had even asked one of his hosts what my name was. Lovely memory for me.

Aside from that, the film is definitely well-worth watching. It puts some different spins on the theme of demonic possession and has some fine special effects.

Finally, let me mention that there's clearly a sequel planned that will focus on Father Choi, a young priest and secondary character in The Divine Fury played by Choi Woo-sik (Parasite, Okja, Train to Busan).

AsianCineFest Rating: 3 out of 4 stars; solidly recommended

The Divine Fury at IMDb (currently has a 6.1 viewer rating)
The Divine Fury at Rotten Tomatoes (currently has a 90% audience score)
The Divine Fury at Metacritic

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.