Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NYAFF: A few hints until the reviews start going up

Now that tickets are on sale for the New York Asian Film Festival and now it's time to begin to wade in and make choices.

You maybe wondering what you should see and what you can miss. I've seen over half of the films and the best thing I can say is that it's all good. As with previous years the choices are all really good, and while there are a couple I didn't care for, it's more a matter of taste rather than actual quality.

Right now my cohorts and myself are putting together a week of film reviews of films you may not have thought of which will on the seven days prior to the festival starting (They start June 25). We're still tinkering and watching but with tickets to go on sale at any moment I'm going to give you a few quick words on some of the less obvious choices that we've seen and which you may need a push toward or in the case of the first film, an explanation.

Heaven's Story - I need to talk about this film first because it's almost five hours long and it needs to have a few things explained. Despite it being made by Pink director Takahisa Zeze, this is NOT A PINK FILM. There is no sex. This is a drama about what happens after two murders and how people are changed. It takes place over a decade or two, and requires that you go with it, at it's own pace. Basically this might be considered slow and meandering. There are digressions and things that will make you wonder where it's going. It knows where it's going, but it's going to take five hours to get there so if you don't like long deliberately paced (ie. slow)films, stay away. If you think you can go with it and its pacing try it, since the film is ultimately haunting and it's still hanging with me.

Ocean Heaven is a heartbreaking film (get ready to cry) that has an amazing drama with a stellar performance by Jet Li. Just because there is no action doesn't mean you should miss it.

The Unjust is a wonderful drama about corruption that nails it for most of the running time, and only comes apart when it adds some action and unnecessary twists at the end. For most of it's running time its possibly one of the best films of the festival.

Troubleshooter is my pick of the mindless action film of the festival. I still have a bunch to go but so far this is a great popcorn film that just goes from start to finish (And yes the plot has been done before but when it's this well done who cares?)

Machete Maidens Unleashed- Yes its a documentary. At the same time it's all the best parts from the Filipino exploitation films from the 1970's in one place. It's a great over view of the films with great interviews and damn funny in it's own right. This is a must see (especially in a crowded theater of people) and when it hits DVD a must own.

Another not so obvious statement is that just because you have seen a film on home video doesn't mean you shouldn't not see it at the festival. Trust me the experience is different, especially with some of the classics like Zu, Dragon Inn and especially The Blade. I saw the press screening for The Blade, which Marc said has NEVER had an official home video release (until a recent French release) and it was a vast improvement over anything you may have seen. Basically any DVD you've ever seen has been a bootleg and possibly incomplete; I've seen it several times prior and it was missing as much as 25 minutes every time. (Full disclosure it's not a favorite film of mine but it should be seen big screen if you're going to see it).

Lastly another reminder Unseen has already reviewed Raw Force (which is perfectly paired with Machete Maidens), Detective Dee , 13 Assassins, Reign of Assassins, and Riki-Oh and the reviews can be found here.

Reviews start going up June 25 and coverage will continue every day we're at the festival (which should be most days.) If you want to check the latest coverage just follow the NYAFF 2011 tag.

No comments:

Post a Comment