Monday, July 8, 2024

Surprise! A brief NYAFF 2024 Curtain Raiser has appeared!



Here is a brief curtain raise for the New York Asian Film Festival.

I know it sound weird because there has been a curtain raiser for the last 15 years, however this year  things seemed to be conspiring to keep it from happening. Then things freed up at the end of last week and I've been in the bunker doing little except watching films and snatching a few minutes of sleep here and there.

This year there are 90 films playing. They are a selection of films from across Asia and they cover everything from family films, to crime to horror to comedy. There are several films about the game go, a bunch about runaways, several involving time travel and too many involving dating apps and all sorts of bang bang shoot'em ups and crazy ass action. Basically, there is something for everyone.

Buy tickets and go.

As this posts I've seen around 30 films, I'm planning on seeing  around another 35 so belt in a lot of coverage is coming.

I have tickets to several of the big events, so there were reports, and pictures

One word of warning, this year the festival is spread out over four locations  which means there is a good chance that you may have trouble getting from venue to venue if aren't cabbing/ubering (more teleporting) it. I mention this because there were a couple of times when I was buying tickets I had to make a choice of what and who I wanted to see more(Josie Ho or Nicholas Tse?) making the decision as to what film isn't getting covered. I wouldn't complain, but the festival has programmed some must see events/films against each other and I am unhappy I've had to choose which limb I'm going to cut off. 

My TED talk having ended I will say the festival has programmed some bangers so if something appeals to you buy a ticket.

While there are a lot of great films, based on what I've seen there has been a lot of niche programming. A number of films are going to be great for, say, the art house crowd but not the general movie going audience. Other films are great for those who like slasher films but not those who want a romance. My initial hesitancy to do a curtain raiser was that of the first 15 films I saw,  only one was not a niche film. I didn't want to do a recommend list that was all qualifiers.

Now that I've seen another dozen plus I can honestly do a recommend list, small though it is where I think the films will play well for most film fans:

FOR ALICE - A world premiere film about two lost souls will rock your world. It's all about the two lead performances where Tai Bo and Kuku so knock it out of the park.
CITY OF WIND - fantastic coming of age film about a young shaman who collides with a young woman who changes his world.
PATTAYA HEAT- one of the best films of 2024 is a multi-character wide ranging tale of crime and corruption that is mixed with the right amount of humor. You must see this.
CAREFREE DAYS may not be the best of the fest but it heralds the arrival of director Liang Ming who crafts sequence after sequence and image after image that will make you sit up and go WHOA.
BREAKING AND RE-ENTERING is a reverse caper film that gets better as the plot really kicks in an we get to know the characters.

I've also covered ESCAPE which just opened in theaters and is playing the festival next weekend. My review is here.

Addendum: on a more serious note please be warned the WOMEN FROM ROTE ISLAND contains several sequences of sexual violence. I mention this because I know people who will have problems with the film.

As I continue to watch goodies from the fest go check the website and buy tickets (I bought tickets for 6 films and looking to get more)

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