Saturday, July 11, 2015

The final Friday at NYAFF 2015 including Banglasia, Namewee, and Nowhere Girl

I'm exhausted and the two films tonight left me with little to say so I'm going to get it out of the way and move on.

I do want to say that the highlight of tonight was wandering the Highline with Alec on the way to a restaurant

The first film of the night was Namewee's BANGLASIA,which has been banned in Malaysia for reasons that are both unclear and  bizarre.

The film's  plot involves 48 hours or so on the life af a man from Bangladesh who is in Malaysia and wants to get home so he can  marry his fiance who is being forced to marry someone else. In the process of getting his passport  from his employer he ends up wit amnesia  and trying to fight off an invading army...and something.
Namewee waits to go on stage and introduce the film

Sporadically funny at best since the film has not traveled well. If you don't know Malay or the country many jokes just lie there. Numerous times the Malay ex-pats around me were screaming with laughter at a joke or reference while I just sat there stone faced. There is something there but I think you have to be Malay to get it.
Namwee tries to explain why his film can't be shown

After the film Namewee did a Q&A where he tried to explain how he tried to get his film released but each effort only brought more trouble. A name change (the film is title BANGLAMAN) brought no change. Fighting the first bunch of requested cuts brought dozen more. He's not sure why he's being targeted beyond the hair of one character is arranged to parody the wife on the Malaysian PM except the people in power fear his ability do get people to think for themselves. All of his films have been censored, but never like this. He's so hated, he was thrown in jail for fighting the power company,  that he's moving to Taiwan. I support his fight for free speech I just wish this film was remotely in the same ball park as his earlier  ones.

The final film if the night was the not quite World Premiere of Mamoru Oshii's NOWHERE GIRL (It screened two days ago somewhere else).

I'm a huge fan of Oshii- especially his anime. His live action films for me can be devided in to two categories- those that are unique and good and those that are pretentious clones of one story- one woman who is good at fighting who wanders around for an just over an hour of screen time during which time nothing much happens or is explained. There is inferences that it all is deep, but it reallyisn't then finally in the last 15  or 20 minutes there is a really good action sequence that makes you think the preceeding hour may have been better than it really was. It always ends with the girl revealed to be a fighter going off to fight another  battle.

NOWHERE GIRL is exactly like that.

Its also like AVALON, ASSAULT GIRLS, KILL, and two or three other films.

Here a troubled girl is in a school and goes around suffering from PTSD. She is given free reign to do what she wants. Her art teach wonders why she is getting special treatment. Some of the girls tell him to leave it along. Just over an hour in  I walked out- I knew what was going to happen.

After the film Alec texted me to say that the film got better not long after I left. I texted back to say that the film ended with a really cool battle scene. He asked how did I know, and I replied many of his live action films are like that- you can scan through the first hour and then have a by the numbers last 15 minutes.

Based on what he said I made the right choice- and I go home an hour earlier than I thought.

Okay it's almost 3AM time to get ready for the final day of NYAFF.

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