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Archive for the ‘Film Festivals’ Category

NYAFF 2011 Tsui Hark Edition - Coverage by Michael Wells

Welcome to the third and final installment of Michael Wells’ coverage of the 2011 New York Asian Film Festival here on Damn You, Kozo. Michael writes for the Everybody Likes Movies blog, and it’s a place for, well, everybody who likes movies. This time out, Michael talks about director Tsui Hark, plus some guy named Tsui Hark and maybe a little something about Hark (first name) Tsui (last name). They’re all fascinating people. He also talks about two other films he saw at the NYAFF. After this entry, Michael will ride the Information Superhighway back to his regular haunt on Everybody Likes Movies. We thank him for his time and his copious way with words. His cheap per-word rates are helpful too.

NYAFF

By Michael Wells

Grady Hendrix, co-founder, co-programmer and official publicity whore for the New York Asian Film Festival, took the words right out of my mouth when he stood up before the screening of DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME and gushed, misty-eyed, about how Tsui Hark had changed his life and that of the other members of the Subway Cinema group (Daniel Craft, Goran Topalavic and Marc Walkow, as well as retired founding members Brian Naas, Paul Kazee and Nat Olson). I, too, can credit or blame this single individual, more than any other, for an addiction to Hong Kong film that would lead me to orally pleasure strangers in back alleys, like some desperate crackhead at rock bottom, if that was what it took to get my eyeballs on these movies.

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NYAFF 2011 Coverage by Michael Wells - PART 2

If you haven’t been paying attention, have simply had better things to do, longtime Asian Cinema fan Michael Wells of the Everyone Likes Movies blog is contributing coverage of the 2011 New York Asian Film Festival here on Damn You, Kozo. This is Part Two of his three-part effort - Part One can be found right here, while Part Three is likely to drop sometime in the next few days. Also, be sure to visit Everyone Likes Movies for more of Michael’s movie musings.

NYAFF

By Michael Wells

The NYAFF programmers say they’ve been wanting for a few years to show Yeo Joon-han’s SELL OUT! (Malaysia, 2008), a low-budget indie musical comedy satirizing corporate capitalism in general and Malaysia’s ethnically-Chinese, “Manglish”-speaking yuppie elite in particular. I would bet they made that decision as soon as they saw the opening: a filmmaker who has just won the Kryzhindangzhongbushaus Village Far Eastern Film Festival Young Oversea-Chinese Women New Director’s Honorary Mention Award is interviewed for TV, proves as pompously impenetrable as the drying-paint minimalist drama he directed, lambastes popular genre cinema and all who make it, and then is killed along with most of the other people in the room when a post-robbery shootout spills through the door. It’s virtually a one-scene manifesto - and a very funny one - for the festival’s sloppy, smoochy embrace of pulp movies and their bored distaste for stereotypical festival art cinema.

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NYAFF 2011 Coverage by Michael Wells - PART 1

Michael Wells of the Everyone Likes Movies blog has graciously offered to cover the 2011 edition of the New York Asian Film Festival (Called NYAFF by friends and intimate acquaintances) for LoveHKFilm.com, and we’re posting his text here on Damn You, Kozo! This is only Part One of his mult-chapter, super verbose look at the fest and its movies, so check back in the coming days for more on this week-long fest. Also, be sure to visit Everyone Likes Movies for more of Michael’s movie musings.

 NYAFF

By Michael Wells

It’s a sign that you’ve arrived when the press gives you your own set of cliches. So, in celebration of this year’s bigger-than-ever 10th annual edition of the New York Asian Film Festival, here goes: Kung fu monks and giant robots and violence and sex and body fluids. Cheeky defiance of the staid art-cinema norm of film festivals. Scrappy four-man team makes it all happen. They’re not culture big shots, they’re just regular fans like their audience. They charge it all to their credit cards! Don’t they know how hard it is to get credit these days? Crazy! And that guy with the red hair and the loud suits who shouts a lot before the movies? Crazy! Also there are three other guys. And they’re not even Asian! But now they’re almost respectable (they get actual Asians who make movies to fly over for the festival and they show movies at the Lincoln Center Film Society right across the street from the Metropolitan Opera and NY Philharmonic) but not quite, because they still raffle off prizes to the audience and still kung fu monks and giant robots and blood and slime and only in New York!

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What happens in Udine - pics and notes from FEFF12

It’s been nearly a month since I attended the 12th Udine Far East Film Festival, but I have yet to post more than one or two photos detailing the trip. In past years, I’ve usually written quickly about the experience, but this year? It didn’t happen. Besides a podcast I did over at Paul Fox and Kevin Ma’s KongCast, all I did was put up one photo of LGM and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Here’s a photo of me taking that photo:

Me taking photo
That’s GALLANTS co-director Clement Cheng in the background,
wondering why I’m interrupting an interview to take toy photos.

Obviously, I act in a completely professional manner while I’m over there.

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Arnold meets LGM

Enjoying myself here in Udine at the Far East Film Festial, but have neglected a lot at the website and blog. I don’t think I ever published my Top 20 Hong Kong movies of the 90s, so that ancient poll still isn’t done. I also have laundry to do so life is full of troubles.

The evil ash cloud has prevented many a filmmaker from attending, but a host of people have shown up, including Chapman To, directors Derek Kwok and Clement Cheng, Pang Ho-Cheung, and also Patrick Lung Kong, the focus of the main retrospective. Saw a lot, and may write some, but it’ll have to be after I clear my main backlog of reviews.

Anyway, met Derek Kwok and he’s a big fan of Hong Kong action figure manufacturer HOT TOYS. He even brought along the new TERMINATOR 2  Movie Masterpiece 1/6th scale action figure and is snapping photos. I added my own toy and we got a crossover going:

Arnold LGM
LGM enjoys the feel of Ah-nuld’s hair beneath his toes

I’m doing work here for YesAsia plus LoveHKFilm, but the Udine Far East Film Festival is also largely a holiday for me. No real pressure, I can talk to directors or actors during lunches or while lounging around, and the staff is always exceptionally helpful. I sincerely doubt I would ever enjoy Cannes or other high pressure film fests. Hell, the HKIFF always threatens to make me sick. In Udine, I can just be and you can’t really put a price on that.

See you in a few.

On vacation, plus one last concert

It’s vacation time for LoveHKFilm.com - or at least, the person who runs it - so that means another 2 or 3 weeks of hand-wringing as we wonder if the site will ever get updated again. I’ll break the suspense by revealing that it will, indeed, get an update someday. After all, where else will I publish my review of KING OF SPY 2008?

King of Spy
This movie could be playing on You Tube right now

Also, Kevin Ma plans on reviewing Super Duper Communist Movie THE FOUNDING OF A REPUBLIC, which details the rise of Communism in the great country of China. I will not be around to see the movie, or I would review it myself. As has been noted on fine Internet publications, everyone who works at this site loves China. *whistles innocently*

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From Italy with Mild Affection

Hi from Udine.

Lobby of the Teatro Nuovo
The lobby of Udine’s Teatro Nuovo

Nearly through the Far East Film Festival and today was the most important day thus far: laundry day. In an effort to make everyone else’s stay here far more pleasurable, I’m washing my clothes. This is proof that I’m always thinking about other people.

 Wash and dry
When I did this I could have been watching RULE NUMBER ONE again

The 11th Far East Film Festival is now over half over and unfortunately, the number of new Asian films I’ve seen thus far is rather low. Some highlights:

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2008 Wrap-up delayed indefinitely

Completely minor announcement: there will be no “End of 2008″ post on this blog anytime soon, and barring another self-serving edition of Kozo’s Mailbag, I’ll probably be stepping away from this blog for a few more weeks.

Someone is already unhappy about the news:

I’m so unhappy
“Whaddya mean no ‘End of 2008′ post?
What am I supposed to do now?”

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Five abandoned blog entries

NOTE: For this edition of Damn You Kozo, I’m combining a number of topics I was planning on writing separate blog entries about. Due to various reasons it’s been difficult getting anything off the ground, so I figured it was everything or nothing. Sadly, I have too many ideas to list everything, so why don’t we go with just five? Sounds like a plan.

Anyway, let’s get this over with.

Abandoned Blog Entry #1
OBAMA WINS, I CONSIDER MOVING BACK TO THE UNITED STATES

This is kind of cool:

Obama

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Bye-bye, HKAFF

Aaaaaaaad, we’re back. These toys in my living room say “Hi”:

Chopper and Friends
Clearly, my toy collection kicks ass

Anyway, the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival is now over. During that 17-day period I consumed 18 movies, 5 short films, 2 regular theatrical releases and plenty of bad food. Amazingly, I did not get sick, though I do recall nodding off during my screening of 881.

 Sleeping kitty
Hokkien musicals put this cat to sleep, too

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