This year’s New York Asian Film Festival has officially wrapped, and with the the award winners have been announced. Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius won the Best Feature Award with honorable mentions going to Yoshiyuki Kishi‘s A Double Life and Le Binh Giang‘s Kfc. Naoko
Methodical in its formal approach and more twisted than the salacious details of the crimes it combs over, Kei Ishikawa's Traces of Sin probes ingenuously into the various connecting threads of a murder case, not for the sake of pointing fingers, but more for a want of a full picture.
The concern over the utter aimlessness and disaffection of Japan's youth has proven to be a topic of abundance for the country's transgressive cinema. Whether we are talking the carefree Sun Tribe films of 1950s, the politically charged student activist films of ’60s and ’70s, or the nihilistic films that followed the burst of the economic bubble in the late ’80s, the nation's cinema was always worried about its future working force maturing in the wrong ways.
Aside from its goofy title and uniquely strange villain, Alan Lo’s Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight plays out like numerous other zombie comedies that we’ve seen over the last decade or so, making for a slightly enjoyable, yet familiar, experience despite some of the ideas on display.
Combining tropes from classic Hong Kong vampire comedies of decades past with more contemporary vampire tales, Sin-Hang Chiu and Pak-Wing Yan’s Vampire Cleanup Department is a fun concept but lacks any real lasting power, falling short of laughs and plot.
Mixing animation with live-action photography is a consistently compelling tactic in contemporary filmmaking. Whether it’s in comedies like Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Space Jam or in action films like Kill Bill Vol. 1, the additional work required to mix the two modes demands an artistic intention that makes the animation mean something more than what could be done with either mode on its own.
Derek Tsang's Soul Mate is an interesting, if never fully compelling, romantic drama about the love and friendship shared by Ansheng (Zhou Dongyu) and Qiyue (Sandra Ma), two Chinese women who meet at age 13 and grow up, apart and back together.
Maybe it’s nothing more than a nod to Noboru Tanaka’s 1972 film, The Night of the Felines. Perhaps, something was lost in translation or there is a cultural disconnect but as it stands to me now, in the present, Dawn of the Felines contains an absolute dearth of redeeming qualities.
Kfc had me from the get-go. It opens with four separate and repetitive title cards adamantly announcing and insisting that this film bears no resemblance to past events or people. And you can understand why writer/director Le Binh Giang had to do this, as the script kept him from graduating film school due to it being deemed too violent by the Vietnamese Council of Examiners.
In his fourth feature (and first contemporary-set film), fireman-turned-director Yang Shupeng takes us down a winding path of cat-and-mouse intrigue with Blood of Youth. Full of surprise revelations, twists, turns and shocking moments, the film aims to keep viewers on the edges of their seats in this high-stakes crime thriller about a hacker playing a dangerous game with both the police and a criminal organization.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema has released a new trailer to get us hyped for the upcoming New York Asian Film Festival, which is set to run June 30th – July 13th in NYC.
The 16th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) is set to kick off June 30th through July 16th, and today the full lineup of films has been announced. This year’s festival will include 57 feature films, with 3 International Premieres,