New York Asian Film Festival Features Takashi Miike World Premiere


BEIJING – A Takashi Miike world premiere and appearances by directors Tsui Hark, Benny Chan and Su Chao-pin will grace the 10th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival July 1-14 at Lincoln Center and the Japan Society, organizers said Wednesday.

The festival’s Centerpiece Presentation of the World Premiere of Japanese director Miike’s Ninja Kids will cause filmgoers jaws to “drop like an elevator with a snapped cable,” NYAFF organizers said.

“Miike has been impressing critics with 13 Assassins and 3D remake of Hara Kiri that just played Cannes. Whatever. We’ve got the world premiere of his insane new kid’s flick about feuding ninja schools,” they said in a statement. “People wonder where all the craziness went from Miike’s two new films? He put it all in here.”

The festival’s official opening night film, the bizarre musical samurai romance Milocrorze: A Love Story, will be introduced in its North American premiere by Japanese director Yoshimasa Ishibashi and actor Takayuki Yamada.

Yamada will attend to receive the Star Asia Rising Star Award for having gone from TV heartthrob to his breakthrough role in Train Man to one of director Miike’s 13 Assassins, making him “Japan’s most versatile young actor,” NYAFF organizers said.

Another festival centerpiece will see Hong Kong director Benny Chan on hand to unveil the North American premiere of Shaolin, starring superstars Jackie Chan, Andy Lau and Nicholas Tse in a blockbuster retelling of the genre’s primal tale, of the destruction of the birthplace of martial arts, the Shaolin Temple.

Also visiting from Hong Kong, director Tsui will be in New York to screen a new print of Raymond Lee’s 1992 version of the wu xia classic Dragon Inn and, hopefully, to take questions from film fans about the new wave of Chinese cinema.

Tsui will be given the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award, a fitting prize for a man whose classics, when shown in retrospective back in 2001, helped the NYAFF first attract a critical mass of North American fans of Asian films.

“We figured it was time to bring him to the festival and recognize his extraordinary, lifelong contributions to Hong Kong cinema, especially after his latest film, Detective Dee And The Mystery Of The Phantom Flame, was a huge box office hit and won Best Director at the Hong Kong Film Awards 2011,” NYAFF said.

Tsui and his work will feature as the core of one of the NYAFF’s three special sections this year. Called "Wu Xia: Hong Kong’s Flying Swordsmen," the section will screen Detective Dee in addition to titles such as Tsui’s 1995 classic The Blade and Ching Siu-tung’s 1983 directorial debut Duel to the Death.

A second NYAFF special focus is called "Sea of Revenge: New Korean Thrillers." It will feature titles such as action director Ryoo Seung-Wan’s 2010 epic corruption saga The Unjust in its New York premiere and the New York premiere of Bedeviled, an all-female Korean version of Deliverance featuring actress Seo Young-Hee.

The NYAFF’s third special focus in 2011 will shine a light on Taiwan director Su Chao-pin, whose Reign of Assassins, starring Michelle Yeoh and Korean actor Jung Woo-Sung was a massive hit across Asia in 2010. Director and writer Su will be at the screening.

Su and NYAFF also will screen his 2000 film debut The Cabbie and his 2002 BTS: Better Than Sex, a groundbreaking film about a poor teenage porn-addict who just wants to find a real girl.

Also featured in the festival are a section of rare Filipino exploitation film, the North American premiere of Li Yu’s Buddha Mountain, the New York premiere of Ocean Heaven (featuring Jet Li’s first non-fighting acting role), and the international premiere of Johnnie To-produced hardcore revenge drama Punished.

The New York Asian Film Festival is presented in association with the Film Society of Lincoln Center and Japan Society's "Japan Cuts: Festival of New Japanese Film." Organizer Grady Hendrix said the NYAFF organizers also are “deeply grateful for the support” of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office New York, the Korean Cultural Service New York and the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York.

The festival will close July 14 with South Korean director Na Hong-jin unveiling the New York premiere of his 2011 Cannes entry The Yellow Sea, an action-packed film about a North Korean-Chinese immigrant sent on a contract killing to Seoul where he tangles with the Chinese and Korean mafias and the cops until all hell breaks loose.

The latest festival and screening news can be followed at the NYAFF web site, www.subwaycinemanews.com.

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