Friday, April 29, 2011

to Helldriver and back part 1: NYAFF films revealed

The screening of Helldriver at Japan Society Thursday night was a highly concentrated sugar rush of eye and ear candy, turning the Japan Society’s respectable halls into a sensory overload of delights. There was so much going on, it will take a few posts to do the event justice. This is the first.

Part 1: The announcements
The future of the New York Asian Film Festival (and Japan Cuts)…is now! Before Nishimura Yoshihiro and Eihi Shiina took the stage to present Helldriver, Mark from Subway Cinema gave a rundown of some definite and very likely goings-ons to look forward to at this year’s fest in July.

From China, two big recent films, Reign of Assasins and Shaolin, are being shown. There will also be a special focus on Wuxia cinema, a classic genre of martial arts adventures, and guest Tsui Hark will be there to present some of his films. A 30 mm print of Blade was named as a possibility, and it’s hard to imagine him coming all the way to New York without a screening of his Tribeca-rockin’ lastest film Detective Dee and the Phantom Flame.

2010 film, The Unjust, by Korean director Ryoo Seung-Wan (who directed a previous NYAFF festival favorite, City of Violence) and he is scheduled to be in attendance. Other films include Machete Maidens (a documentary on exploitation cinema from the Philippines), Kung Fu Cannibals (a lost classic described as this year’s L.A. Streetfighter), and Bangkok Knockout, a Thai martial arts flick.
From Japan, we’ll see Sushi Typhoon produced films Karate Robo-Zaborgar (by Robo Geisha and Machine Girl director Noboru Iguchi) and Yakuza Weapon. The latter will be shown over the July 9 – 10 weekend at Japan Society, and will feature an appearance by director Tak Sakaguchi. On the seedier side comes Horny House of Horror, a low budget pinku violent production with visual effects by Yoshihiro Nishimura. The popular live action remake of classic anime Battleship Yamato is still being pursued, but not yet confirmed.

A few words were also spoken about Japan Cuts which will overlap with the NYAFF and continue on in late July. Guests and a range of genres were promised, although no specifics were mentioned. The promotional cards in the lobby, however, promised the 2011 film Byakuyako, an adaptation of a very popular Japanese mystery novel, which stars Kengo Kora (Fish Story).

Wow! Loads to look forward to. ‘all for now. More on the screening in a bit.

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