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Christopher Webster [Film Festival 06.02.11] movie news

The New York Asian Film Festival is ten years old! And they have presents for you Asian film buffs! A Takashi Miike World Premiere? Yup. The long-awaited animated epic based on Osamu Tezuka’s life of Buddha? You know it. The International Premiere of the new movie from Johnnie To, rare Filipino exploitation and an avalanche of retro screenings to celebrate our tenth birthday? Hoo-rah!

Special guests at this year's special tenth anniversary include Tsui Hark, Ryoo Seung-Wan, Su Chao-pin, Takayuki Yamada, Tak Sakaguchi and many more!

The New York Asian Film Festival is presented in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Japan Society's Japan Cuts: Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema.

You can keep up with the latest festival news at

Full line-up after the break.

Official Opening Night Film:
MILOCRORZE: A LOVE STORY (Japan, 2011, North American Premiere, 90 minutes)
Truly trippy, this bizarro musical/variety/samurai/love story from Japan is
one solid slab of psychedelia from Yoshimasa Ishibashi, the mad genius
behind the Fuccon Family.

Centerpiece Presentation
SHAOLIN (Hong Kong, 2011, North American Premiere, 131 minutes)
It doesn’t get any bigger than this. Superstar Andy Lau, Nic Tse and Jackie
Chan all star in this swank, blockbuster retelling of the primal martial
arts story: the destruction of Shaolin Temple, which is the birthplace of
martial arts. It’s a movie that’s been made many times (hence the alternate
title NEW SHAOLIN TEMPLE) but never before has it been this massive, this
lavish and this chock full o’action.

Centerpiece Presentation
NINJA KIDS!!! (Japan, 2011, World Premiere, 100 minutes) – Takashi Miike has
been impressing critics with 13 ASSASSINS and his 3D remake of HARA KIRI
that just played Cannes. Whatever. We’ve got the World Premiere of his
insane new kid’s flick about feuding ninja schools. People wonder where all
the craziness went from Miike’s two new films? He put it all in here. Your
jaw will drop like an elevator with a snapped cable. We love you, Takashi

Official Closing Night Film
THE YELLOW SEA (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 156 minutes) – from the
director of THE CHASER, and fresh out of Cannes, this is the Korean action
movie in excelsis. A North Korean immigrant is sent to Seoul to perform a
hit. Soon the Chinese mafia, the Korean mafia and the cops, are after him
and hatchets are deployed, trucks are flipped and all hell breaks loose.

Special focuses:

Presented with the support of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New
York of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, this special
focus is on Hong Kong’s wu xia (literally “martial arts”) films. It’s a
genre that’s unique to Hong Kong and while it’s all about showcasing the
Chinese martial arts tradition it’s come to refer specifically to that
brain-expanding genre of Hong Kong movies that use the cutting edge of
cinematography and the best special effects of the time to paint a world
full of flying swordsmen, deadly female warriors, legendary blades and more
than a touch of fantasy.

minutes) – Tsui Hark’s return to greatness is a Holmes-ian fantasia about
spontaneous combustion and kung fu deer. An exiled detective is returned to
favor in the Imperial court to solve a series of mysterious deaths that
delay the inauguration of the Empress Wu, played by Carina Lau, who won
“Best Actress” at the Hong Kong Film Awards 2011 for her performance.

THE BLADE (Hong Kong, 1995, 100 minutes) – a rare screening of Tsui Hark’s
martial masterpiece, this is one of the towering achievements of Chinese

DUEL TO THE DEATH (Hong Kong, 1983, 83 minutes) – Ching Siu-tung’s
directorial debut deploys ninjas, poisoned blades and some of the world’s
most innovative choreography to create a movie that’s one part martial arts
film, one part exploitation shocker and one part ballet. Screening on a rare
35mm print!

DRAGON INN (Hong Kong, 1992, 109 minutes) – two of Hong Kong’s greatest
actresses, Maggie Cheung and Brigitte Lin, take on Donnie Yen’s bloodless
eunuch in this Tsui Hark-produced swordplay romance. Directed by Raymond
Lee, it’s a remake of King Hu’s 1967 masterpiece. A brand new print of this
classic film, struck specially for the New York Asian Film Festival.

ZU: WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN (Hong Kong, 1983, 94 minutes) – the
movie that launched a thousand wu xia, Tsui Hark’s surreal phantasmagoria
will blow your mind. Recruiting Hollywood special effects technicians just
off Star Wars and Star Trek the Motion Picture, Tsui Hark’s film reinvented
a genre and kickstarted Hong Kong’s entire special effects industry.

Korean revenge thriller
THE YELLOW SEA (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 156 minutes) – Na Hong-Jin
reunites with his stars from THE CHASER to make this big, relentless
follow-up. We’ve got it fresh from its Cannes screening as part of Un
Certain Regard ***The movie’s director, Na Hong-Jin, will be at the screening

THE UNJUST (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 119 minutes) – longtime festival
favorite, action director Ryoo Seung-Wan, turns in this epic, sprawling
corruption saga that recalls Sidney Lumet back in his PRINCE OF THE CITY

BEDEVILLED (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 115 minutes) – this time, the
ladies are doing it. An all-female version of DELIVERANCE, where a city
slicker goes to an insular rural community where she’s not wanted. Possibly
the greatest women vs. men movie ever made, lead actress Seo Young-Hee took
home six “Best Actress” awards for her performance here.

THE CHASER (Korea, 2008, 125 minutes) – the thriller that saved the Korean
film industry, this mega-hit is what you’d get if you cross-bred Alfred
Hitchcock with a pit bull.

HAUNTERS (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 114 minutes) – 50% superhero
movie, 50% horror movie and 100% Korean thriller, this bigtime commercial
hit is about a troubled kid who can control minds and the simple guy, immune
to his ability, who’s out to stop him.

THE MAN FROM NOWHERE (Korea, 2010, 119 minutes) – one part Batman, one part
Bourne, Korean mega-star, Won Bin, revamped his image as a hard man of
action with this movie about a spy coming out of retirement to take on a
ring of organ harvesters. The number one movie at the Korean box office in
2010 (beating INCEPTION and IRON MAN 2), it took home SIXTEEN film awards!

TROUBLESHOOTER (Korea, 2010, New York Premiere, 99 minutes) – produced by
Ryoo Seung-Wan, this is a classic “wrong man” movie, only this time the
wrong man is a hardcore ex-cop (Sol Kyung-Gu from the highly successful
PUBLIC ENEMY series) and it’s got the black, bleak sense of absurdist humor
most thrillers lack.

REIGN OF ASSASSINS (Hong Kong/Taiwan/China, 2010, 117 minutes, New York
Premiere) – co-directed with John Woo, starring Michelle Yeoh and Korean
star Jung Woo-Sung, this massive martial arts hit gives the genre a beating,
bleeding, romantic heart.

THE CABBIE (Taiwan, 2000, 94 minutes) – Su’s first movie set new trends in
Taiwan for actually being entertaining. He wrote this flick based on his
experiences driving a cab, and it’s a fast-paced black comedy about a cabbie
in love with a traffic cop.

BTS: BETTER THAN SEX (Taiwan, 2002, 92 minutes) – one of the most
hyperactive, funniest movies about sex you’ll ever see. Pity this poor
teenage porn-addict who just wants to find a real girl. Way ahead of its
time, this movie manages to be all about sex without feeling pervy.

See the full lineup at

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