This noted film festival showcases films from the far east and usually includes genre films. This is what included in this piece. Tickets go on sale June 15, with Film Society and Subway Cinema members receiving an early access period beginning June 13. Become a member today! Tickets are $14; $11 for students and seniors (62+); and $9 for Film Society members. See more and save with a 3+ film discount package and All Access Pass.
The New York Asian Film Festival is co-presented by Subway Cinema and the Film Society of Lincoln Center and takes place from June 30 to July 13 at Film Society’s Walter Reade Theater (165 West 65th St), and July 14 to 16 at SVA Theatre (333 West 23rd St).
Battle of Memories – After undergoing a medical procedure to retrieve lost memories, a novelist starts having the recollections of a serial killer. Battle of Memories is a hallucinogenic roller coaster ride built on dream logic, incorporating a stylish visual aesthetic into a tightly woven murder mystery.
Duckweed – After a close encounter with a fast-moving train in 2022, arrogant rally driver Tailang (Deng Cha) is transported back to 1998 and enlisted into the gang led by his own father Zhengtai (Eddie Peng). Boasting a rare 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, multitalented Han Han’s sophomore production accelerated past the billion yuan ($150 million) milestone domestically.
HONG KONG PANORAMA
Vampire Cleanup Department – In this tongue-in-cheek throwback to old-school Hong Kong comedies, the titular governmental department gets a new recruit in a vampire-immune virgin only for him to fall hopelessly in love with a beautiful nightwalker. Now he wants to train her to be human.
Zombiology: Enjoy Yourself Tonight – North American Premiere • Q&A with director Alan Lo and actress Carrie Ng. Produced by Clement Cheng (Gallants, NYAFF 2010), this riotous crowd-pleaser is developed from director Alan Lo’s debut short Zombie Guillotines (2012), a do-it-yourself guide to weaponing up for Z-Day with everyday objects in a hair salon. Fans of The Walking Dead may think they’ve witnessed every trick in the zombie playbook. They’re wrong.
Happiness – Masatoshi Nagase stars as the enigmatic Kanzaki who brings a strange electronic helmet to a somber little town. He allows an elderly shopkeeper to try out the device, which dredges up for her long lost memories of happiness. As the townspeople line up to recover their joy for life, Kanzaki slowly reveals his own dark agenda.
Rage – New York Premiere – One year after a gruesome murder in Tokyo, while a nationwide manhunt is still underway, three young men without a past enter the lives of three very different people. Creeping suspicion that each is the murderer destroys the lives around them. Rage is tragic, epic, and heartfelt.
Survival Family – New York Premiere – This deliciously yet darkly funny postapocalyptic road movie follows an average Tokyo family in the wake of an inexplicable and endless blackout. Determined to maintain normality at first, they slowly realize the direness of their situation and attempt to ride across Japan to their grandfather’s farm on their commuter bikes.
Fabricated City – A champion in the gaming world is framed for the rape and murder of a minor and sentenced to life in prison. After he escapes with the unexpected help of a serial killer, triggering a nationwide manhunt, his former team reunites to help their old video game partner, and soon they uncover an unimaginable conspiracy.
Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned – Um Tae-hwa’s magical second film is both a melancholy fantasy about time and, at a deeper level, an exploration of the world of childhood. Children find a glittering egg in a cave that, according to a local folktale, contains a time-eating monster. When it’s broken, their lives are changed forever.
SOUTH EAST ASIA
Birdshot – This intense, slow-burning, and semi-mystical thriller tells the intertwined stories of two innocent souls and how society tries to corrupt them. One is a cop, investigating his seniors’ political cover-up, the other a farm girl who has committed an irreversible act that she isn’t even aware is a crime.
Saving Sally – New York Premiere – With its stop-and-start production taking more than a decade, the very existence of Saving Sally is a miraculous fairy tale of its own. This wildly creative mix of live action and animation centers on geeky wannabe comic book artist Marty and his hopeless crush on beautiful and spunky inventor Sally.
Town in a Lake – The rape and murder of a schoolgirl brings unwelcome media attention to a quiet fishing village. With her classmate still missing, the forest starts revealing its mysteries, including giant shadow creatures that protect or punish interlopers. Jet Leyco’s second feature is part H.P. Lovecraft, part David Lynch, and wholly original.
Mon Mon Mon Monsters – North American Premiere – A group of alpha-bullies kidnap their very own ghoul-like monster, keeping her alive with a steady stream of vein-fresh blood, only to get buyer’s remorse. Things get gorier from there. The real monsters are the humans in Giddens’s cruel and subversive follow-up to You Are the Apple of My Eye.
The Village of No Return – The relative peace of Desire Village, fraught with domestic squabble, is about to be disturbed by greed in various guises: a group of bandits prepares to besiege the time-forsaken hamlet and a Taoist priest (Wang Qianyuan) shows up with a mysterious device, the “Worry Ridder,” a helmet that can remove memories from people’s minds.