The New York Asian Film Festival has announced that its tenth anniversary edition will open on July 1 with the North American premiere of Yoshimasa Ishibashi's Milocrorze: A Love Story ("one solid slab of psychedelia," promises the festival; image above) and close on July 14 with the New York premiere of Na Hong-Jin's The Yellow Sea (aka The Murderer), which has just screened at Cannes in Un Certain Regard (see the roundup).
There'll be two Centerpiece Presentations, Benny Chan's Shaolin, with Andy Lau, Nic Tse and Jackie Chan, and Takashi Miike's Ninja Kids!!! — which, you may remember Danny Kasman caught in Cannes, and got quite a nice kick out of it, too. The festival will also be screening Miike's "director's cut" of 13 Assassins.
There'll be three special focuses. First off...
WU XIA: HONG KONG'S FLYING SWORDSMEN
Tsui Hark's Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame (2010), which premiered in Venice last fall (roundup) and has since picked up a healthy batch of Hong Kong Film Awards. The director will be on hand to receive the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award. Tsui Hark will also be in attendance for a screening of a rare 35mm print of his 1975 film, The Blade, and his Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain (1983).
Ching Siu-tung's 1983 directorial debut, Duel to the Death "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," as the festival puts it.
SEA OF REVENGE: NEW KOREAN THRILLERS
Along with The Yellow Sea, Na Hong-Jin's The Chaser (2008), which launched "a wave of twisty thrillers focused on intense action and ace performances. "
Ryoo Seung-Wan's The Unjust (2010), an "epic, sprawling corruption saga that recalls Sidney Lumet back in his Prince of the City days." The festival's also screening the director's City of Violence (2006).
Jang Cheol-so's Bedevilled (2010). NYAFF: "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."
Min-suk Kim's Haunters (2010), "50% superhero movie, 50% horror movie and 100% Korean thriller."
Lee Jeong-beom's The Man from Nowhere. "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!"
Kwok Hyeok-Jae's The Troubleshooter (2010), with Sol Kyung-Gu and 'the black, bleak sense of absurdist humor most thrillers lack."
SU CHAO-PIN: TAIWAN'S KING OF ENTERTAINMENT
Su Chao-pin is "one of the few Taiwanese directors who makes blockbuster hits that actual real live people go to see," and the festival will be screening Reign of Assassins (2010), co-directed with John Woo (see the Venice roundup), The Cabbie (2000) and BTS: Better Than Sex (2002).
Xue Xiao Lu's Ocean Heaven (2010). Jet Li teams up "with cinematographer Christopher Doyle and composer Joe Hisaishi to make a restrained, heartbreaking movie about a dad (Jet Li) trying to teach his autistic son how to live on his own."
Law Wing-cheong's Punished (2011), produced by Johnnie To and featuring Anthony Wong "as a real estate billonaire whose wild child daughter has been kidnapped. Bullet-to-the-head action the way Hong Kong used to do it."
Lam Ngai Kai's Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (1991), "the classic Hong Kong midnight action movie about prison privatization and monsters who strangle you with their guts. Rarely seen on the big screen, this is a full-on, ridiculously crazy mind-melter full of crucifixion, flaying, classic kung fu combat and prison wardens who keep breath mints in their glass eyeballs."
Shinsuke Sato's Gantz and Gantz: Perfect Answer (2011), "the uncut, subtitled, live action movies based on Japan's existential sci fi action manga."
Jun Tsugita's Horny House of Horror (2010), featuring "butt-walls, wiener-eating and demon hookers."
Noboru Iguchi's Karate-Robo Zaborgar (2011), "based on an obscure TV show from the 70s about a young, bright-eyed police officer and his karate robot (who transforms into a motorcycle) fighting crime. But in Iguchi's version, the two split up and have to reunite years later after middle-age has taken its toll."
Eiji Uchida's The Last Days of the World (2011), "a return to the trippy, socially-engaged, blackly comic, ridiculously violent revolutionary movies of Japan's 60s."
Hisayasu Sato's Love & Loathing & Lulu & Ayano (2010). "Based on a book of interviews with porn film dayworkers, this exuberant, anime-influenced movie about life on the bottom rungs of the adult film business treats life in the porno business as a chance for some actors to escape their humdrum, everyday existences."
Yasuomi Ishitô's Osamu Tezuka's Buddha: The Great Departure (2011), "the much-anticipated animated epic based on Osamu Tezuka's landmark life of the Buddha."
Yu Irie's Ringing in Their Ears (2011), an "ambitious flick about an upcoming concert by a reclusive rock group and the managers, obsessed fans, shut-ins, single moms and kindergarten teachers who are affected by it."
Lee Joon-Ik's Battlefield Heroes (2011) — "like a Terry Gilliam movie gone Korean as a farmer too poor to even have a name gets drafted into one of medieval Korea's eternal wars."
Hae-yeong Lee's Foxy Festival (2010), "like a Robert Altman film about fetishes."
Anna Lee's The Recipe (2010), in which "a serial killer escapes from prison but is recaptured when he stops to eat a bowl of stew that's so good he loses track of time."
Edward D Murphy's Raw Force (1982), a "rarely-screened exploitation fever dream."
Panna Rittikrai's Bangkok Knockout (2010). "This exploitation stunt-tacular features all his best stuntmen and women unleashing muay thai, capoeira, dirt bike fu, shovel beatdowns, fights on fire, fights in the water, fights under trucks, fights in mid-air, and two back-to-back climactic smackdowns that have to be seen to be believed."