Monday, June 04, 2007

Subway to Asia

Subway Cinema has announced the lineup of this year's New York Asian Film Festival, which runs June 22-July 8. Splitting the event between the IFC Center and the 100-year-old Japan Society, which is co-presenting this year, is a good idea. Its former home, Anthology Film Archives, is something of a barn, which makes underperformers (and there are some each year) look really puny. And this is shaping up as the biggest fest yet, with outdoor screenings and other special programming on the menu.

Of the selections, I've only seen Johnnie To's Exiled, a virtuoso piece of gangster filmmaking, though Korea's City of Violence seems like it could top it for sheer bad-assedness. Park Chanwook's I'm A Cyborg, But That's Okay, starring local pop sensation Rain, has gotten a mixed response for its "sweet, loopy romance" yet represents a new vein for the OldBoy director to tap into. I've heard good things about at least one of the two Death Note horror pictures from Japan, which you can sort out as a two-fer, and the country also offers an eight-years-in-the-making anime that sounds a little like the number two version of Urinetown. The Banquet, a period Chinese Hamlet, is promising, and who cannot love the write-up for Thailand's Dynamite Warrior, the kind of off-the-wall fun this festival excels in?

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