Next week we announce the opening, closing and centerpiece presentations of the New York Asian Film Festival, as well as special guests. And we’ll be announcing our Hong Kong New Action program. Next week! Can you survive until then?
This week, however, a bunch of movies are screening all over the city. Most importantly, BIG MAN JAPAN (aka DAINIPPONJIN) from last year’s New York Asian Film Festival will be screening through this weekend and into next week. Don’t believe the grumpy review in the Village Voice: this movie is smarter and more fun than a barrel of hyper-evolved monkeys. Starring superstar comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto as a heritage superhero who fights giant monsters, half the fun is the somnolent life he leads when he’s not super-sized. And stick around for the ending which is the funniest, strangest, most anti-American piece of film screening in the city all year! (Read more about it) (More info)
The documentary about the political uprising in Burma back in 2007, BURMA VJ, will finally open at Film Forum (we mistakenly announced it for April 20, not May 20, because we are dum). Pieced together out of footage cobbled together from dozens of video journalists who smuggled their tape out of the country at great risk to their personal safety, the least you can do is buy a ticket. Plus, on May 20 and May 22 at the 8pm shows, there will be a Q&A with the Buddhist monks who “led” the uprising, Venerable U Gawsita and Venerable U Agga Nyana. (More info)
On Friday, May 22 the last installment in the inexplicably super-popular Tora-san film series will screen at Japan Society. Yes, that’s right, it’s time to say sayonara to Tora-san in TORA-SAN, MY UNCLE. From 1989, shot by the cinematic master Yoji Yamada (THE TWILIGHT SAMURAI and dozens of Tora-san movies) and all about Tora-san helping his nephew find love. (More info)
Korea Society is right in the middle of their Films From the North 2 series. Running from May 7 – 28, it features screenings of ultra-rare North Korean movies every Thursday night at 6:30pm. On Thursday, May 21 at 6:30pm it’s WOLMI ISLAND, which gets the following stunning description:
“In this gripping and imaginative war movie a small troop of North Korean soldiers, armed with just four guns between them, defeats General Douglas MacArthur and 50,000 American soldiers at Inchon.”
Damn you, MacArthur! Taste our four guns! (More info)
Also, coming up this May 29th at the Landmark Sunshine and the City Cinemas on 69th and Third Avenue, it’s DEPARTURES. This Japanese movie is a touching, humorous story about a young, out-of-work cellist who becomes a mortician, a job that’s still pretty taboo in Japan. It’s directed by Yojiro Takita who won an Academy Award for his work here, which blew the minds of most Japanese because over there he’s better known as a director of softcore pink films, including dozens of installments in the GROPER TRAIN series. But don’t worry, this summer at the New York Asian Film Festival, we’re teaming up with Pink Eiga to screen two of Takita’s GROPER TRAIN movies, featuring ET spoofs, treasure maps hidden inside female genitals, locked-door murder mysteries, death traps and riffs on CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. (More info on DEPARTURES)