The 15th edition of the New York Asian Film Festival will feature a full plate of unhinged, genre-bending films, brisk and intelligent entertainment, and uncompromising art-house gems that will satiate all appetites, wholesome and otherwise.
Happening now through July 9, the festival will tantalize, shock, and excite with a handpicked crop of disquieting noir, gonzo gangster action, dark romance, and sharp political works that showcase the vibrant range of talent from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia. The NYAFF will also celebrate its coming-of-age with special retrospective screenings of some of the founders’ and programmers’ favorite works.
The Bacchus Lady: Poles apart from the Korean obsession with youth and beauty that reign over both screen culture and society’s everyday dealings, E J-yong’s new film tells a tale of shame and disgrace that feels as fresh as an open wound. And yet, The Bacchus Lady is as funny and elegant and as it is devastating. The incomparable Youn Yuh-jung, one of Korea’s most revered actresses, gives another masterful performance as a sixty-something prostitute who spends her days in public parks, offering bottles of Bacchus (a brand-name energy drink) to old men as a code for sexual favors. But when a touch of gonorrhea leaves her unable to ply her trade, she is forced to find other services to offer her clients and soon turns to a darker business. In the hands of another director, this setup could have been the grounds for a low-brow comedy or crass exploitation, but E (Actresses) eschews satire for a light-hearted yet incisive examination of several taboo topics, including the U.S. military’s use of prostitutes, Korean men who refuse to acknowledge their children with women from Southeast Asian countries, and, most importantly, the shameful neglect of the elderly in contemporary Korea. Presented with the support of Korean Cultural Center New York.
The Tag-Along: Inspired by an eerie video that became an Internet sensation, The Tag-Along emerged out of nowhere to become one of the most popular horror films in Taiwanese history. In the viral video, a ghostly young girl in red can be seen following a group of hikers up a mountain path, shortly before the hikers meet with disaster. Is this a sighting of a mo-sien, a mountain demon who preys on fear? Cheng Wei-hao’s feature debut lulls the audience with a setup taken straight from the rom-com playbook: Wei is a young real-estate broker who works too much and can’t convince his quirky girlfriend to get married. But things take a dark turn when Wei’s grandmother disappears, and the only evidence is the girl in red who mysteriously appears on the surveillance footage. The Tag-Along jolts your heart with the requisite frights and starts, but it also taps into your head by revealing the devastating regret that can result from taking loved ones for granted. Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York.
15th Annual Surprise Screening: We can’t tell you what we’re showing, but trust us: you want to see it on the big screen with an audience! This one has special meaning to our founders, and to celebrate we’re hosting a reception for ticket holders before the show… Beer and a Secret Screening: what better way to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the best film festival in New York City!?