Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Unseen Films recommended films for this Years New York Asian Film Festival.

Every year we at Unseen Films try to put together a list of films you should see at the New York Asian Film Festival. This year Peter, JB and myself have assembled a list of films that may or may not be at the top of your list but which you should absolutely make an effort to see.

NEOMANILA  (July 5) is a withering look at the erosion of humanity in Duterte’s Philippines as occasioned by his war on drugs. Director Mikhail Red, who also co-wrote the script, pulls no punches. But that doesn’t mean NEOMANILA is coldly hardboiled. Instead, Red manages to find a bleak lyricism both in the setting and the characters… which makes the story only more heartbreaking for we can easily imagine “what might have been.” (Peter)

THE SCYTHIAN LAMB (July 5) is so good it makes me want to read the manga upon which it is based—it has that particular feel of a very satisfying novel. We get a large cast of characters, but all are given their due and the film never seems splintered among them. Both straightforward and full of surprises, THE SCYTHIAN LAMB is the kind of movie that makes me grateful for NYAFF as I’m not sure I would have discovered it otherwise. (Peter)

THE LOOMING STORM (July 9) is simply a superb film noir, with everything that entails. Prepare to be thrilled, to have your aesthetic sense stimulated, and your heart possibly broken. At times Dong Yue’s film recalls BLACK COAL, THIN ICE, which I consider something of a contemporary masterpiece, but this is not to say that the NYAFF film is not original. Yes, you will see archetypal elements from countless noirs, but THE LOOMING STORM helps remind you why they’re so archetypal in the first place. (Peter)
In most movies the set-up occurs in Act 1 and the core of the story takes place in Act 2. Not so in Shinichiro Ueda’s ingenious ONE CUT OF THE DEAD (July 13), in which Act 2 sets up the zombie movie you just saw in Act 1. Then Act 3 presents the same zombie movie, kind of, now with the benefit of having seen Act 2 and from a different perspective. Confused yet? You won’t be. Ueda, who wrote, directed, and edited—and all three “hats” are key to the film’s dazzling success—keeps everything both lucid and loose. My favorite film of NYAFF 2018 so far. (Peter)

BEAST STALKER (July 1) is the film that put Dante Lam on the map and it’s easy to see why-it's a killer action film. When a bust ends up going horribly wrong, a good cop descends into hell on a nihilistic mission to get the drug dealer he holds responsible for the carnage- creating even more carnage in the process. If you’ve never seen this classic of cinema then you have not excuse to. If you have only seen it on TV then you must go too because this film is even better bigger. (Steve)

If you didn’t get a chance to see OPERATION RED SEA (June 30) on the big screen earlier this year here is your chance. If you never saw it on a big screen go see it big. Hell, I saw it during it’s many weeks long run in Times Square and was so blown away I’m going again. Sure it’s a recruiting film for the Chinese army, but it may be one of the greatest action films of the last 20 years. It’s a nerve jangling, balls to the wall action delight as the Chinese army beat up terrorists. Yea, it makes little sense in retrospect but it moves like the wind so you won’t notice. (Steve)

You'll want to see OLD BEAST (July 3) for Tu Men's award winning role as an aging tough guy who finds that life has caught up to him. In a performance of quiet intensity and dignity we watch as the tough guy ignores his sick wife, scams everyone including his kids and roars at life only to find that he is increasing on the short end. While you’ve may have seem similar films you haven’t seen anything quite like Men‘s performance. It’s the reason we remain glued to the screen.(Steve)

COUNTERS (July 6), the most vital and certainly the most important film of this year’s NYAFF, is getting dumped at 1020pm which is a god awful sin. While certainly a bit bumpy, this look at the state of free speech in Japan has endless echoes to current America where a racist President is inciting violence and fear. There is no way you can’t not see Trump’s anti-immigrant hate speechs in the ultra-nationalist pleas for the death of all Koreans in Japan. It’s the wrong sort of funny to watch mini skirt wearing girls asking who hates Koreans. A stark reminder that hate is everywhere and that just as the racists in the White House hate the ones “not from here” there are people elsewhere who hate us for the same dumb reason. If your stomach can take it, this is highly recommended.(Steve)
1987: WHEN THE DAY COMES (July 8) is a stunning real life political thriller about what happened when the anti-communist branch of the South Korean Government tortured a student to death and tried to cover it up. It manages to remain small scale even while covering the larger story. A warning to dictators everywhere. Tense and heartbreaking an absolute must. One of the best films at NYAFF and 2018 as well. (Steve)

WRATH OF SILENCE (July 9) A mute miner returns home to try and find his missing son in film that is a combination of amusement park violence and unvarnished social realism, resulting in what could very well be the most violent socially-aware class-conscious film ever produced in the history of cinema. (It has riffs on the hall way fight in OLD BOY) Once you see it will not hard to fathom why a Party apparatchik decided the film was bad for business and had it spiked from domestic distribution. (JB)

THE BOLD. THE CORRUPT, AND THE BEAUTIFUL (July 5) is just your basic sarcastic political melodrama, with a body-count. It is the story the Tang Family, whose matriarch acts a power broker between the rich and powerful. However things begin to go astray when friends are killed and they realize their days maybe numbered. It is a deliciously cynical film that is also kind of trashy, but in the best way possible. (JB)

For tickets to these or any other film playing at NYAFF this year go here

No comments:

Post a Comment