Monday, April 12, 2010

New York Asian Film festival-an appreciation

Okay, its time to fess up. If you haven’t deduced it, I have a big passion for Asian films. I love all movies but over the last few years I’ve been leaning toward Asian films simply because they don’t follow the typical Hollywood formula, and even if they do, somewhere along the line the odds are very good they will go off the beaten track.

It’s a small wonder that I like the New York Asian Film Festival. Then again their programming mirrors my video collection (I think I have almost all of the films they’ve run in the past 6 years and I have a good chunk of the rest of the films from the previous years) but even allowing for that the festival is probably the best showcase for Asian films of any sort in the New York Metro area, possibly the country.

What I like is that they show a wide variety of films from a all genres. They don’t get pigeon holed with just action or horror or drama. They mix it up. I find that many of the screenings at places like the Asia Society or the Korea Society seem to be safe, tending to walk the same safe paths. NYAFF doesn’t, if it’s “good” they’ll run it. They will play Climber’s High a drama about a newspaper covering a plane crash and they will play Hard Revenge Millie a bloody scifi action film, or they'll play Vampire Girl Vs Frankenstein Girl, then come back and run All Around Us a family drama. And since they have partnered with the Japan Society and their Japan Cuts series their depth of programming has grown wider, there are even less films that could be considered "typically Asian", ie action or horror.

I find attending the festival is pleasurable. The people are nice (for the most part) and great to talk to. My biggest complaint is that the people from the festival tend to push some films a bit too much. Last year they pushed a couple of films at other screenings way too much with the result that when I saw them I didn’t think they were as great as they said. (I’m very much against their saying what film is leading in the audience polling, especially since the films they were pushing ended up not winning the audience awards.)

Since the organizers have just announced the dates for this years Festival, June 25 to July 8, I’m going to start a retrospect of some of the best films from last years festival. I saw four of this weeks films at festival screenings. I enjoyed the films to varying degrees and I think all of them are worth seeing. The rest of the films this week, as well as the films I’ll be talking about in two weeks I saw on DVD. The original plan was just to do a single week of films but there were simply too many good films worth mentioning that I had to do two weeks. Actually last year there were so many good films that I’ve already raided the festival program (Equations of Love and Death from March), and there will be later entries of other films(I’ll be posting reviews of the PTU series and the 20th Century Boys Trilogy soon). If you want to see just how often they get it right click on the NYAFF tag in the sidebar and you’ll see just how many good films they’ve screened.

If you live in the New York City area I highly recommend you give this years festival a shot since odds are I'll be posting a good number of reviews here.

And with out further adieu on to the first film of the week, my favorite of last years festival, and my favorite film that I saw last year K-20.

As further proof of how good the festival is look at the festial posts for 2010.

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