NYAFF Reveals Full-to-Bursting Lineup of Asian Films


2013 Star Asia Rising Star Award honoree Kim Go-Eun in Eungyo (A Muse).

The wait is over for fans of Asian cinema! Film Society of Lincoln Center and Subway Cinema have announced full details about this year's New York Asian Film Festival, including a full-to-bursting lineup of some of the best new movies from the continent.

The World Premiere of Hong Kong horror omnibus Tales from the Dark Part 1 will open the 2013 edition of the popular fest, which runs June 28 – July 15. Comprising three segments by veterans Fruit Chan and Lee Chi Ngai, as well as actor Simon Yam in his directorial debut, the story focuses on a young girl with mysterious motivations (Dada Chan) who pays an aging mystic (Siu Yam Yam) to curse four villains, leading to their gruesome deaths and a shocking final revelation.

Another World Premiere comes in the form of the Director's Cut of Yan Yan Mak's The Great War, about a concert battle between renowned Cantopo band Grasshopper and hip hop act Softhard. Mak will be in person at the Gala Presentation of her revealing documentary, along with members of both groups. Jang Cheol-Soo’s Secretly Greatly, based on a popular Korean webtoon, will have its International Premiere as NYAFF's Centerpiece Screening.

NYAFF will honor filmmaker Tsai Yang-Ming, a pioneer of Taiwanese genre cinema, with the 2013 Star Asia Lifetime Achievement award in conjunction with the festival's presentation of a selection of Taiwan Black Movies. It will also present the 2013 Star Asian Rising Star Award to young actress Kim Go-Eun, whose performance as a 17-year-old who becomes sexually involved with a 70-year-old man in Jung Ji-Woo's Eungyo (A Muse) launched her to stardom in Korea and won her eight Best New Actress awards.

To balance out all the great new talent on display, the festival will also feature a 40th anniversary screening of Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon along with a panel discussion on the relationship between Kung Fu and Hip Hop with Hong Kong's MC Yan and USA's Fab 5 Freddy. The two have also collaborated on a body of artwork entiteld "Kung-Fu Wild Style" featuring Bruce Lee-inspired paintings, which will be on display in the Furman Gallery throughout NYAFF.

This year's New York Asian Film Festival features five special focuses. Tributes to Taiwan Black Movies, distributor Well Go USA, and the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York were announced with the first batch of films. NYAFF will also fete legendary Korean character actor Ryoo Seung-Beom with a retrospective of four of his films. In Manila Chronicles: The New Filipino Cinema, the festival will highlight the burgeoning but oft-overlooked cinema of the Philippines with six new films including Midnight Movies crossover The Fridge by horror auteur Rico Maria Ilarde.

As if that weren't enough, Film Society and Subway Cinema have revealed the remainder of this year's NYAFF lineup, which totals a whopping 63 films! We would turn blue in the face before we could possibly highlight them all for you, so just scroll down (and down... and down...) to read about each and every one in detail. It's safe to say we're pretty excited about how things came together.

OPENING NIGHT PRESENTATION
World Premiere
TALES FROM THE DARK PART 1 (2013)
Directors: Fruit Chan, Lee Chi Ngai, Simon Yam
Country: Hong Kong
Based on Lilian Lee’s best-selling novel series, TALES FROM THE DARK PART 1 is comprised of three segments directed by Fruit Chan, Lee Chi Ngai, and actor Simon Yam in his directorial debut. One chilly night, veteran villain hitter Chu (Siu Yam Yam) meets an uncommon client, a pretty 20-ish girl (Dada Chan) who pays her to curse four villains without knowing their names. Mysteriously, the performance of each cursing ceremony delivers a gruesome death. The final victim, or villain, reveals a chilling, unbearable secret.

CENTERPIECE PRESENTATION
International Premiere
SECRETLY GREATLY (2013) 123min
Director: Jang Cheol-Soo
Country: South Korea
Based on the webtoon series, “Covertness,” SECRETLY GREATLY stars three of Korea’s hottest young TV stars (Kim Soo-Hyun, Lee Hyun-Woo, Park Ki-Woong) as a trio of elite North Korean sleeper agents who have lived undercover in South Korea for so long that they now believe their own cover stories as an average joe, a wannabe singer and a high school student. Finally they get their first mission: kill each other. If they don’t get the job done, Pyongyang will send a hit team to take care of things.

GALA PRESENTATION
World Premiere
THE GREAT WAR (Director’s Cut) (2013) 97min
Director: Yan Yan Mak
Country: Hong Kong
A surprisingly personal and revealing documentary about the concert battle between  legendary Cantopop band Grasshopper and hip hop duo Softhard. Directed by Yan Yan Mak (BUTTERFLY, MERRY-GO-ROUND) doesn't just fill out the running time with interviews and performance footage, but also shows the concert from the point of view of several audience members (including a Hong Kong legislative council member). With this, Mak takes the show beyond the entertainment industry bubble to show a broader perspective to convey what these pop culture events mean to the audience.
Director Yan Yan Man will attend the screening, along with Grasshopper and Softhard!

CLOSING NIGHT PRESENTATION
North American Premiere
THE ROOFTOP (2013)
Director: Jay Chou
Country: Taiwan
Jay Chou (INITIAL D, Michel Gondry’s GREEN HORNET) is one of the most famous pop stars in Asia. THE ROOFTOP, marking Cho’s second film as director, following SECRET (2007), is a romance combining elements of martial arts and special effects in a musical extravaganza. It stars Chou alongside Eric Tsang, Wand Xueqi and Alan Ko in a story set in a fantasy world comprised of two distinctly contrasting communities and lifestyles. One group lives on rooftops, where they dance and sing every day, passing their days without a care in the world, while below them are the people living under the rooftops, who possess more money and power.

International Premiere
ABERYA (2012) 110min
Director: Christian Linaban
Country: Philippines
A Filipino-American boxer on a pleasure trip, a prostitute on a mission, a local drug dealer experimenting with time travel, and a social climber all cross paths in Cebu, the beautiful Philippine southern island, in this deliriously imagined occult superhero movie.

International Premiere
THE ANIMALS (2012) 80min
Director: Gino M. Santos
Country: Philippines
Set in an ultra-luxe, gated community and marinated in money, this teen party movie is an indictment of the 1% that has the Philippines in a death grip. The film chronicles a day in the life of Jake, Trina, and Alex, who go through the musings that every kid in high school has to deal with. All Jake wants to do is have a good time, Alex just wants to fit in, and Trina simply wants more. A vivid picture of high school life after the final bell rings, as well as the other side of the Philippines class divide, and what its privileged children are up to.

ARAHAN (2004) 114min
Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan
Country: South Korea
A high-flying martial arts action date movie set in modern day Seoul. When a thief driving a motorcycle snatches a purse, the clumsy, naive and honest rookie policeman Sang-hwan runs after him—but martial arts specialist Eui Jin captures the criminal and Sang-hwan is severely injured. She brings him to her home, where the six Masters of Tao heal him and conclude that he has a powerful Qi, the spiritual energy of the universe, with the potential to become a powerful warrior. Sang-hwan begins his training to ascend to a Maruchi. Meanwhile, the evil and ambitious Heuk-woon is accidentally released from his prison and launches an attack on the masters, searching for a key that they protect, which would permit him to become an Arahan and dominate the world. When the masters are defeated, Sang-hwan and Eui-jin are mankind’s last hope.
Ryoo Seung-Beom will attend the screening.

North American Premiere
BAD FILM (2012) 161min
Director: Sion Sono
Country: Japan
Director Sion Sono (SUICIDE CLUB, COLD FISH) shot this art-house film in 1995 over the course of a year and starring members of Tokyo GAGAGA, a performance and activist collective he formed. Shot in Hi-8 format, this massive underground science fiction film focuses on a gang war in Tokyo that erupts when a Chinese gang threatens to take over Koenji Station. Sono shot over 150 hours of footage, but the release was delayed for financial reasons. Now, almost 20 years later, this legendary production has been re-edited to create a stunning work of art.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

U.S. Premiere
BEHIND THE CAMERA: WHY MR. E WENT TO HOLLYWOOD (2012) 85min
Director: E J-Yong
Country: South Korea
E J-Yong’s meta-movie centers on a group of Korea’s best film technicians and actors who have assembled in order to shoot a 10-minute smartphone promo, with some of the actors playing themselves and some playing other actors. Adding another meta-layer, E J-Yong plays himself directing them remotely via Skype.
Preceded by
JURY (2012) 24min
Director: Kim Dong-Ho
Country: South Korea
Following a screening, a festival jury convenes to discuss the film, but find themselves at odds as disagreements arise and passions run high.
Director E J-Yong will attend the screening.

BEIJING BLUES (2012) 115min
Directing: Gao Qunshu
Country: China
Playing an asthmatic, diabetic Beijing street cop dedicated to busting con artists, journalist-turned-actor Zhang Huiling is the heart of this run-and-gun style film that follows him through several cases — from a family who throw their kids in front of cars to extort money from the drivers, to a low level husband and wife money laundering scheme — set on the mean streets of Beijing.

THE BERLIN FILE (2006) 117min
Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan
Country: South Korea
Korea’s action auteur, Ryoo Seung-Wan, injects kinetic kicks into the old school cold war spy story with THE BERLIN FILE, a slam-bang action throw down that exchanges American/Soviet tensions for North Korean/South Korean geopolitical gamesmanship to deliver an espionage flick in the vein of  John Le Carré, only with rather more dead bodies, broken arms, and sniper showdowns. The second-highest-grossing movie of the year in Korea, this box-office blockbuster is like a Korean installment in the Bourne franchise.

BLOODY TIE (2012) 90min
Director: Choi Ho
Country: South Korea
Hard-knuckled crime thriller in which corrupt detective who doesn’t play by the rules teams up with a small time meth dealer who fancies himself as more businessman than criminal in order to bring down the local drug kingpin responsible for the death of the cop’s former partner.
Ryoo Seung-Beom will attend the screening.

THE BULLET VANISHES (2012) 108min
Director: Law Chi-leung
Countries: Hong Kong/China
This stylish, action-packed period thriller starring Hong Kong superstars Nick Tse and Lau Ching-wan pays homage to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson as a 1930s-era detective duo investigate a series of strange murders in which “phantom bullets” seemingly vanish. The murders are committed in a bullet factory ruled by a vicious boss and his henchman, who force a female worker suspected of stealing to play Russian roulette, with tragic results. Could the murders be the work of a vengeful ghost?

International Premiere
CATNIP (2012) 74min
Director: Kevin Dayrit
Country: Philippines
After it won “Best Short Film” at Sundance, Kevin Dayrit expanded his pocket-sized flick into a weirdly intimate, hyperactive, blood-soaked hyperactive friendship flick about two BFFs and the abusive dad who comes between them. Liv is an introvert at home, due to the overbearing and abusive obsessive compulsive behavior of her father, but relaxes and runs free once she is out from under his roof and in the company of Cieca, a quiet but jaded girl who scrutinizes the world around her, she is able to relax and free her personality. That is, until her father intervenes.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA (1982) 91min
Director: Lee Tso-Nam
Country: Taiwan
This martial arts sexploitation film is about Lovely Lady Ninja Wong Siu Wai (Elsa Yeung) who has been in Japan training in the art of the ninjitsu. Able to fly, vanish in the blink of an eye, split into duplicate selves, and cause explosions of multicolored smoke, Siu-Wai dazzles her opponents by spinning out of her clothes and fighting in her pink bikini. Returning to China due to the death of her father, she discovers that her fiancée Lee Tung (Chen Kuan-Tai) is to blame. She gathers a gang of sexy female warriors, and puts them through some rigorous ninjitsu training before leading a rebellion against rock transvestite samurai warriors in miniskirts and go-go boots.

New York Premiere
COLD WAR (2012) 102min
Directors: Longman Leung, Sunny Luk
Country: Hong Kong
COLD WAR was a 2012 box office hit in Asia and swept the Hong Kong Film Awards winning Best Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best New Performer. This cop thriller stars Aaron Kwok as a senior officer and Tony Leung Ka Fai as a deputy police commissioner whose rivalry leads to a struggle over the running of an operation to rescue officers who have been taken hostage.

North American Premiere
THE COMPLEX (2013) 106min
Director: Hideo Nakata
Country: Japan
Hideo Nakata (who kicked off modern J-horror with THE RING) breathes new life into the genre with what starts out as a bright and cheerful family drama before soon putrefying into something much softer, wetter, and darker. Starring Japanese megastar Atsuko Maeda (lead singer of the enormously popular group, AKB48) as a shy high-schooler who moves into a haunted housing complex with her family and slowly becomes tormented by apparitions and visions of her own tragic past.

North American Premiere
THE CONCUBINE (2012) 122min
Director: Kim Dae-Seung
Country: South Korea
Set in the Joseon Dynasty, THE CONCUBINE focuses its steamy story on Hwa-Yeon, a young girl forced to become a concubine to the king who becomes involved in a love triangle between Kwon-yoo, a man torn between love and revenge, and King Seong-won, who has his heart set on Hwa-yeon despite the countless women available to him.

New York Premiere
COMRADE KIM GOES FLYING (2013) 81min
Directors: Kim Gwang-Hun, Nicholas Bonner, Anja Daelemans
Countries: Belgium/U.K./North Korea
Girl power North Korean style! This fun Technicolor tale follows  the exploits of a young female miner who has long held an ambition of becoming an acrobat. When she travels to Pyongyang to work on a construction project, a trip to the circus both reawakens her desire and gives her an opportunity to finally pursue her dream.

North American Premiere
CONFESSION OF MURDER (2012) 119min
Director: Jeong Byeong-Gil
Country: Korea
From the director of the hit NYAFF documentary ACTION BOYS (about the tough lives of stuntmen in the Korean film biz), comes this thriller filled with adrenalizing set pieces in the vein of THE CHASER. A punch-drunk cop has to figure out the truth when a media-ready stud comes forward with a book claiming he murdered 10 women years ago. The catch? He can’t be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired.

North American Premiere
COUNTDOWN (2012) 91min
Director: Nattawat Poonpiriya
Country: Thailand
An acclaimed Thai horror movie about three Thai hipsters in New York City who make a big mistake when they call an evil American drug dealer named Jesus to provide their needs for a New Year’s Eve party. Along with the drugs, Jesus sets up a psychological game involving violence and torture as the clock counts down to the New Year.

North American Premiere
DOUBLE XPOSURE (Director’s Cut) (2012) 105min
Director: Li Yu
Country: China
In their follow up to BUDDHA MOUNTAIN, Li Yu, one of China’s only female directors, and megastar Fan Bingbing team up again with this psychological thriller that turned into one of China’s major blockbusters of 2012. When Song Qi stumbles upon her boyfriend's affair with her best friend, the ensuing confrontation between the two women winds up with her friend killed in an accident. However, when the investigation following her “confession” to the police reveals that all is not as it seems, Song Qi is forced to embark on a twisted journey into her past and the very depths of her own mind.

New York Premiere
DREAMS FOR SALE (2012) 137min
Director: Miwa Nishikawa
Country: Japan
When Satoko and Kanya’s restaurant burns to the ground, the couple decides to start exploiting Satoko’s talent for wooing women and begin promising matrimony to lonely ladies before scamming them out of all their cash. As they work their way through Japan’s lonely-hearts population events begin to take a toll on their marriage and their souls.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

New York Premiere
DRUG WAR (2013) 105min
Director: Johnnie To
Countries: China/Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s master filmmaker Johnnie To has navigated the perilous waters of Chinese film censorship to deliver his first Mainland Chinese crime film. After drug cartel head Ming (Louis Koo) is arrested during a raid, he's persuaded to take part in an undercover operation to take down his own gang in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. Setting up business meetings with his fellow crime bosses in order to intercept major drug and money transactions and arrest those involved, the gangster sets about betraying his former accomplices one by one.

ENTER THE DRAGON (1973) 98min
Director: Robert Clouse
Countries: USA/Hong Kong
The legendary martial arts crossover hit that cemented Bruce Lee as an enduring international cinema icon, Robert Clouse’s ENTER THE DRAGON stars Lee as a martial artist who agrees to attend a kung fu tournament in order to spy on the tournament’s host, a reclusive crime lord with ambitions to expand his operation. Warner Brothers and the New York Asian Film Festival are teaming up to present the screening along with a panel discussion on the relationship between kung fu and hip hop featuring Hong Kong’s MC Yan (LMF) and New York’s own Hip Hop ambassador Fab 5 Freddy, and the North American opening of “Kung Fu Wildstyle”, an art exhibit featuring Bruce Lee-inspired post-graffiti art by MC Yan the two artists.
Fab 5 Freddy and MC Yan will attend the screening.

New York Premiere
FENG SHUI (2012) 117min
Director: Wang Jing
Country: China
One of the most acclaimed movies to come out of China last year, FENG SHUI harnesses the talents of underrated actress Yan Bingyan to deliver this family drama about a woman desperate to ascend to the middle class and willing to pay any price. Powerful and emotionally tense this is a portrait of the hidden side of the great Chinese success story.

North American Premiere
FOREVER LOVE (2013) 124min
Directors: Aozaru Shiao, Kitamura Toyoharu
Country: Taiwan
As light and frothy as a bottle of champagne, FOREVER LOVE is the hit Taiwanese film about the local film industry in the late 60’s when movies were cheap, stars were gods, and spies, giant monsters, and flying swordsmen crossed paths every day during lunch. A giddy, nostalgic, really funny joyride through the history of Taiwanese film.
Director Aozaru Shiao will attend the screening.

North American Premiere
THE FRIDGE (2012) 90min
Director: Rico Maria Ilarde
Country: Philippines
Never before has a haunted appliance had this many tentacles and craved this much human blood. A successor to the iconic horror short, PRIDYIDER that launched the Filipino horror anthology film SHAKE, RATTLE & ROLL (1984), horror director Rico Maria Ilarde offers up a gleeful, gory, sexy horror movie about an evil refrigerator that terrorizes a young woman.

North American Premiere
GANGSTER (2012) 102min
Director: Kongkiat Khomsiri
Country: Thailand
Thailand’s answer to GOODFELLAS, GANGSTER is a fact-based tale with documentary segments in which old-timers are interviewed and talk about the young gangsters of 1950s and ’60s Thailand. The film focuses on Jod, a gangster who has been sent to jail following the military coup, which brings new order to the streets. In their neighborhood, a uniformed officer named Neung rules like a dictator and is a frequent thorn in the side of Jod’s gang. When he emerges from prison, Jod is a changed man, now determined to set things right. But, knowing no other life, he returns to his old gangster ways with his old crew.

World Premiere
HARDCORE COMEDY (2013) 92min
Directors: Henri Wong, Chong Siu Wing, Andy Lo
Country: Hong Kong
There’s something for everyone in this raunchy, over-the-top post-VULGARIA three-part omnibus. It’s the ultimate genre mashup, a heady and hilarious brew of action-packed superhero exploits, obscene erotica, psychedelic narcotics, heart warming romance, cross dressing, mobster vendettas, plus insane car stunts! Turtles! Iced tea! A dance extravaganza! Coming soon!—you get the idea.
Dada Chan will attend the screening.

New York Premiere
HELTER SKELTER (2012) 127min
Director: Mika Ninagawa
Country: Japan
One of Japan’s most popular photographers, Mika Ninagawa, and its most controversial young star, Erika Sawajiri, team up to deliver a plastic surgery horror movie that’ll make your skin crawl. Lilico (Erika Sawajiri) is a monstrous Lady Gaga-esque singer and actress obsessed with her own young body, eating up employees, and existing on a diet of flashbulbs. Constructed almost entirely of plastic surgery, she requires occasional “top ups” but they’re not working anymore and her face and body are slowly turning as black and rotten as bruised fruit.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

North American Premiere
HENTAI KAMEN: FORBIDDEN SUPERHERO (2013) 127min
Director: Yuichi Fukada
Country: Japan
Kyosuke is the star of his high school martial arts club, but when he indulges in his passion for wearing women’s underwear he becomes the panty-masked superhero Hentai Kamen. Based on a wildly popular manga series, Hentai Kamen may not be the hero we deserve, but he’s the hero we need.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

North American Premiere
HOW TO USE GUYS WITH SECRET TIPS (2013) 114min
Director: Lee Won-suk
Country: South Korea
Half romcom, half satire of the Korean film industry, this wacky and charming tale follows an overworked woman's attempt to improve her relationship with men, by relying on a self-help video.
Preceded by
ONE PERFECT DAY (2013) 34min
Director: Kim Jee-woon
Country: South Korea
Fresh off from directing Arnold Schwarzenegger in THE LAST STAND, Kim Jee-woon tries his hand at romantic comedy in this tale of a hapless young man who stumbles through a number of terrible blind dates before finding someone who might be his Mrs. Right.
Director Lee Won-suk will attend the screening.

U.S. Premiere
I’M FLASH (2012) 91min
Director: Toshiaki Toyoda
Country: Japan
Toshiaki Toyoda has been an NYAFF favorite with flicks like his samurai dream, BLOOD OF REBIRTH, and his Unabomber biopic MONSTER”S CLUB, but now he returns to his pulp roots to deliver a sunbaked gangster flick about a cute young cult leader who hides from the press after a car wreck on an isolated island with only his three bodyguards for company.
Director Toshiaki Toyoda will attend the screening.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

North American Premiere
AN INACCURATE MEMOIR (2012) 105min
Director: Leon Yang
Country: China
One part Chinese Western, one part black comedy, and one part war movie, AN INACCURATE MEMOIR is about an anti-Japanese resistance fighter who infiltrates a gang of bandits to enlist their help in assassinating a Japanese prince due in town at any minute. But though the bandits, a mix of horny men and greedy women, may be crack fighters, they’d rather go whoring and stuff themselves with lavish meals than liberate China.

North American Premiere
IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT (2013) 102MIN
Director: Herman Yau
Country: Hong Kong
Director Herman Yau teams up with his favorite actor, Anthony Wong (UNTOLD STORY, EBOLA SYNDROME), to deliver a slyly subversive send-up of the current craze for Ip Man movies. Packed with some of Hong Kong’s best stars of the 80’s and 90’s including Eric Tsang, Ken Lo (DRUNKEN MASTER), and Xiong Xin-xin (THE BLADE, ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 3), this Ip Man movie is not just an action flick but a love letter to Hong Kong’s volatile history of political protest.
Director Herman Yau and screenwriter Erica Li will attend the screening.

North American Premiere
IT'S ME IT'S ME (2013) 123min
Director: Satoshi Miki
Country: Japan
Somewhere between Magritte, Kafka, Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman, Satoshi Miki's (ADRIFT IN TOKYO) surrealist tale of Hitoshi, a young electronics store clerk with a case of multiple personality disorder (played by pop star Kazuya Kamenashi of the band Kat-Tun) boldly goes where no black comedy has gone before. After picking up a cellphone left behind by a customer, he undertakes a popular scam: he calls the person's mother and with the open-sesame magic formula "It's me! It's me!" poses as her son, easily talking the mom into transferring cash to his own depleted bank account.

North American Premiere
JUVENILE OFFENDER (2012) 107min
Director: Kang Yi-Kwan
Country: Korea
16-year-old Jang Ji-Gu takes care of his ill grandfather, while he hangs out with other troubled kids. Abandoned by his parents at an early age, he is sent to a detention center following a run-in with the law—where he hears that his estranged mother Hyo-Seung, who gave him up soon after his birth, has come for him. Can they repair their relationship?
Preceded by
DAY TRIP (2012) 18min
Directors: Park Chan-Wook, Park Chan-Kyung
Country: South Korea
A master and his student visit a mountain to practice pansori (a genre of traditional Korean music) following a music competition that left the student disappointed in his performance.

New York Premiere
THE KIRISHIMA THING (2012) 103min
Director: Daihachi Yoshida
Country: Japan
When high school star athlete and all-around golden boy Kirishima drops out of the volleyball team and disappears, his fellow students try to figure out what his motivations and whereabouts could be, not to mention uncomfortably taking stock of their own place in the school’s social structure. A careful examination of all the power struggles, class warfare, social angst, and drama of an entire high school as seen through the lens of Kirishima’s absence.

THE LADY AVENGER (1981) 91min
Director: Yang Chia-yun
Country: Taiwan
Yang Chia-yun is one of the only female directors of Taiwan’s notorious Black Movies, and so it makes sense that her best film is this intense rape-revenge shocker. When a reporter is gang-raped she decides her only option is an eye for an eye and so, one by one, she kills her rapists by bear trap, by knife, by blowtorch, and by meat hook.

U.S. Premiere
THE LAST SUPPER (2012) 115min
Director: Lu Chuan
Countries: China/Hong Kong/Taiwan
As the first Han Emperor dies in 300 BC, his life flashes before his eyes in a splintered kaleidoscope of battle, betrayal, loves sold out, and romances sold short. Lu Chuan (THE CITY OF LIFE AND DEATH, KEKEXILI) is one of China’s rising star directors and THE LAST SUPPER is his best yet, telling the story of the Han Dynasty in the form of an epic fever dream.

North American Premiere
THE LAST TYCOON (2012) 119min
Director: Wong Jing
Countries: Hong Kong/China
Chow Yun-fat stars as real-life criminal Du Yuesheng (whose history has been officially banned as an object of study by the Chinese government), a criminal godfather who shot like a meteor through Shanghai’s underworld, and was a major financial backer of the Kuomintang in their fight against Mao and his Communist rebels.
Producer and cinematographer Andrew Lau will attend the screening.

THE LEGEND IS BORN: IP MAN (2010) 100min
Director: Herman Yau
Country: Hong Kong
Wilson Yip’s Ip Man movies starring Donnie Yen were such big hits that Herman Yau decided it was time to make one of his own, and to do so he enlisted some of Hong Kong’s greatest martial artists. With action choreography by the mighty Bruce Leung (GALLANTS) and starring Sammo Hung, his opera-school brother Yuen Biao, the first Ip Man movie’s Fan Siu-wong, and Ip Man’s actual son, Ip Chun, this movie will leave you bruised, battered, and begging for more.
Herman Yau will attend the screening.

New York Premiere
LESSON OF THE EVIL (2012) 129min
Director: Takashi Miike
Country: Japan
After making films like samurai epics 13 ASSASSINS and HARA KIRI and the children’s film NINJA KIDS!, Takashi Miike returns to familiar territory with LESSON OF THE EVIL, based on a best-selling horror novel. Clean-cut pop star Hideaki Ito plays Mr. Hasumi, a young, popular, good-looking teacher at an elite high school. While he’s beloved by his students and popular with pretty much everyone, Mr. Hasumi has a dark secret past and homicidal urges that can’t be contained.

A LIFE OF NINJA (1983) 88min
Director: Lee Tso-nam
Country: Taiwan
Someone is employing ninjas in an attempt to kill miserly and womanizing businessman Chan Ming Fu, and there is no shortage of people with a motive—his wife and sister-in-law both detest him, for starters. The police recruit Kendo teacher and former ninja Chow to protect Chan, but easier said than done.

New York Premiere
A MUSE (2012) 129min
Director: Chung Ji-Woo
Country: Korea
A scandalous success based on Park Bum-shin’s novel Eun-gyo, about an aging poet laureate (Park Hae-il) and his assistant and protégé who become romantically involved in a triangle with an enigmatic 17-year-old girl (Kim Go-Eun). Chung’s film earned numerous accolades including Best Film at the Buil Film Awards, as well as eight Best New Actress awards (including the Buil Film Awards, Grand Bell, Busan, KOFRA and the Korean Association of Film Critics Awards) for Kim Go-Eun’s performance.
Director Chung Ji-Woo and Kim Go-Eun will attend the screening.

North American Premiere
MYSTERY (2012) 95min
Director: Lou Ye
Countries: China/France
China’s acclaimed art house director Lou Ye makes a welcome comeback in the Chinese film industry after being banned for almost five years. All about a middle class marriage that implodes in a collision of sex, murder, infidelity, and vehicular mayhem, MYSTERY won Best Film at the Asian Film Awards.

NEVER TOO LATE TO REPENT (aka THE FIRST ERROR STEP) (1979) 96min
Director: Tsai Yang-Ming
Country: Taiwan
A surprise hit at the Taiwanese box office, which was at the time dominated by period martial arts flicks and sentimental romances, Tsai’s film launched Taiwan’s Black Movies trend, which saw innumerable hard-hitting exploitation movies hitting screens between 1979 and 1983. This stark, true crime film is the proud parent to them all.
Director Tsai Yang-ming will attend the screening.

North American Premiere
THE PEACH TREE (2012) 106min
Director: Ku Hye-Sun
Country: Korea
Multi-talented actor, artist, writer, director, and musician Ku Hye-Sun (her Korean nickname is “Ku-onardo DaVinci” due to her wide-ranging interests) has created a romantic, and bloody fairy tale about a guy with two heads, trying to find his place in the world.

International Premiere
RIGODON (2012) 91min
Director: Erik Matti
Country: Philippines
Taking its title from a formal Filipino dance, Erik Matti’s realistically-observed, sympathetically acted, and appropriately raunchy film centers on a love triangle, involving a reality TV star, the girl he falls in love with, and his wife.
Preceded by
VESUVIUS (2012) 10min
Director: Erik Matti
Country: Philippines
A timid man’s mundane life takes a turn when he is visited by a vision of the Virgin Mary.

New York Premiere
RUROUNI KENSHIN (2012) 134min
Director: Keishi Otomo
Country: Japan
Japan’s number one box-office hit of 2012, this live-action adaptation of a manga about a Meiji era assassin who leaves his life behind to become a protector of the common man has sold 55 million copies as a manga, and spawned several wildly popular animated adaptations. And it’s one hell of a sword-fighting movie.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

North American Premiere
A STORY OF YONOSUKE (2013) 160min
Director: Shuichi Okita
Country: Japan
Yonosuke arrives at university in the late 80’s when Japan was booming and the economy was raining cash. Hopelessly naive, and hopelessly self-confident, he comes to the big city and annoys everyone. But slowly he finds a group of friends and then the movie jumps forward 20 years and then…to tell any more would ruin the surprise, but this is a heartfelt movie that sings the song of the seeming loser.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

U.S. Premiere
TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES (2005) 60min
Director: Hou Chi-Jan
Country: Taiwan
A long lost era of filmmaking was rediscovered and preserved by this documentary, the result of a longtime labor of love that began when the director found a stack of discarded VHS tapes in the Taiwan Film Archive.
Director Hou Chi-jan will attend the screening

New York Premiere
THERMAE ROMAE (2012) 108min
Director: Hideki Takeuchi
Country: Japan
“An Epic Bath Extravaganza!” Based on a manga series that’s sold 5 million copies and spawned a TV show, it’s all about an ancient Roman bath designer who time travels to contemporary Japan and finds new inspiration in Japan’s modern day public baths. Five million very clean Japanese people can’t be wrong.
Presented with Japan Cuts: The New York Festival of Contemporary Japanese Cinema

THE UNJUST (2011) 119min
Director: Ryoo Seung-Wan
Country: South Korea
This sprawling corruption epic is the kind of movie Sidney Lumet would have made if he had been Korean. After the rape and murder of five elementary schoolgirls, the police have still failed to apprehend the serial killer. After a suspect is shot dead—with no conclusive proof of his guilt—the country's president intervenes and adds to the pressure on the police to solve the case. Choi Cheol-gi, a brilliant but sidelined detective, is assigned to the investigation and promised a promotion if he can get the police force off the hook by closing the case. Choi enlists the help of crooked businessman Jang Seok-gu to frame another suspects as the killer. However, they are being secretly monitored by Joo Yang, a Seoul District public prosecutor in the pocket of a business rival of Jang’s.
Ryoo Seung-Beom will attend the screening.

International Premiere
VERY ORDINARY COUPLE (2013) 112min
Director: Roh Deok
Country: South Korea
A big Korean box-office hit of 2013, marking the debut of Roh Deok, one of Korea’s few female directors, this precision-tooled romantic comedy focuses on a couple who have tried to keep their relationship a secret at the bank where they work, but declare all out war on each other after they break up.

North American Premiere
THE WARPED FOREST (2011) 82min
Director: Shunichiro Miki
Country: Japan
Six years ago, directors Shunichiro Miki, Katsuhito Ishii, and Hajime Ishimine teamed up to deliver FUNKY FOREST: THE FIRST CONTACT. Now Shunichiro Miki, flying solo this time, is back with the tale of a giant shop-girl who can barely fit in her store, a weird green pod in every bedroom, and terrifying wood nymphs who provide a heartbroken woman with the anatomically correct fruit everyone seems to covet.

New York Premiere
WHEN A WOLF FALLS IN LOVE WITH A SHEEP (2012) 85min
Director: Hou Chi-jan
Country: Taiwan
Kai Ko, the star of one of last year’s audience favorites, YOU ARE THE APPLE OF MY EYE, stars in this live action romance that feels like an animated film, trying to find the girl who dumped him in the wild world of Taiwan’s cram school district. Full of animated inserts, bizarre stylistic flourishes, and a hyperactive camera.
Director Hou Chi-jan will attend the screening.

WOMAN REVENGER (1981) 85min
Director: Tsai Yang-Ming
Country: Taiwan
Another of Taiwan’s mondo revenge movies from the early 80’s, this brutal exploitation shocker features a gentle woman who turns into a bloodthirsty killer, bent on revenge against those who wronged her. A forgotten grindhouse classic, this dirty, pulpy brawler will have you ready to clean off the grime by the time the credits roll.
Director Tsai Yang-ming will attend the screening.

YOUNG & DANGEROUS 1 (1996) & 2 (1997) 90min each
Director: Andrew Lau
Country: Hong Kong
YOUNG AND DANGEROUS isn’t a movie, it’s way of life—a series of 15 films (six movies, four prequels, three spin-offs, and two all-female versions, as well as a parody movie and a reboot) covering the life and times of the Hung Hing criminal triad and the bevy of studly young things who make up its members. The whole thing is the brainchild of Andrew Lau and Wong Jing and the first two movies are the kind of shot-on-the-run flicks that captured lightning in a bottle and became cultural sensations. When the first movie hit it big, director Lau wrote, shot, and released the second in just eight weeks.
Director Andrew Lau will attend the screening.

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