NYAFF 2013 Announces Jay Chou's THE ROOFTOP Plus 22 More Titles

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NYAFF 2013 Announces Jay Chou's THE ROOFTOP Plus 22 More Titles

The annual celebration of cinematic goodness that is the New York Asian Film Festival has announced that Jay Chou's The Rooftop will serve as the closing night presentation. They've also announced a raft of premieres and salutes.

Here's more from the festival's prepared statement.

The 12th edition of The New York Asian Film Festival will take place June 28 - July 15, with screenings at The Film Society of Lincoln Center (June 28 - July 11), Japan Society (July 11 - 14) and Asia Society (July 15).

Chou's THE ROOFTOP will make its North American Premiere as the Closing Night selection for NYAFF. Shot on location in Taiwan, Beijing and Shanghai, Cho's second film behind the camera, following SECRET (2007) is a romance combining elements of martial arts and special effects in a musical extravaganza. The film stars Chou with 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, 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. Chou has described the film as the first in a new genre, "A musical action movie, (where) love is the main axis, combining fantasy, romance, dancing, action, special effects and many other elements, so that there will be romantic scenes and classical taste." Chou also wrote ten songs for the film's soundtrack.

Highlights include the North American premieres of Sion Sono's and Tokyo GAGAGA's long awaited sci-fi gang war epic, BAD FILM, Hideo Nakata's chilling descent into a much darker family drama with THE COMPLEX, Nattawat Poonpiriya's COUNTDOWN, about a deadly New Year's Eve outing, Takashi Miike's return to blood and guts with LESSON TO THE EVIL, and the latest entry in the popular Ip Man series, IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT, with director Herman Yau in attendance. Mika Ninagawa's HELTER SKELTER, a horror film dealing with celebrities and plastic surgery, will make its New York debut, and Andrew Lau will be on hand to present the first two films from his YOUNG AND DANGEROUS series.

NYAFF has also announced three planned focuses for this year's edition of the popular festival: Hong Kong Cinema Now & Beyond!; Taiwan Pulp! - Tales of Gangsters, Female Avengers and Ninjas!; and a spotlight on distributor Well Go USA.

HONG KONG CINEMA NOW & BEYOND! - in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in New York (HKETONY)
The standard-bearer for Hong Kong in New York City, and a longtime friend and supporter of the New York Asian Film Festival, HKETONY has helped make it possible for NYAFF to bring film legends and icons like Sammo Hung, Tsui Hark, Donnie Yen, Jackie Chan and many more to New York, year after year. Therefore, on the occasion of HKETONY's 30th anniversary, the festival will present new and exciting Hong Kong produced titles including: THE BULLET VANISHES, COLD WAR, DRUG WAR, HARDCORE COMEDY, IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT, THE LAST TYCOON, and THE LEGEND IS BORN: IP MAN

Presented with the support of the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York, this special section takes as its focus Taiwan's Black Movies - exploitation films that flooded the market from 1979 to 1983. Dealing with serious social issues for the first time, this geyser of 117 movies was notable for its sexual explicitness and extreme violence. Largely forgotten, only a relative handful of these movies survive. NYAFF will present a line-up including: CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA, THE LADY AVENGER, A LIFE OF NINJA, NEVER TOO LATE TOO REPENT, WOMAN REVENGER and the documentary TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES.

Well respected within the industry and by connoisseurs of Asian movies, Well Go USA transformed itself from a video company specializing in exercise videos into, arguably, the finest distributor of Asian cinema in America. Titles from this Texas-based, family-owned company can be found throughout NYAFF (including the Closing Night selection THE ROOFTOP, DRUG WAR, IP MAN: THE FINAL FIGHT and THE LAST TYCOON. Additional titles from Well Go USA's seemingly never-ending collection of great and entertaining films will include: CONFESSION OF MURDER and AN INACCURATE MEMOIR.

Tickets for the New York Asian Film Festival will go on sale to Film Society Members on Tuesday, June 4 and to the general public on Thursday, June 13. Single screening tickets are $13; $9 for students and seniors (62+); and $8 for Film Society members. A three-film package is $30; $24 for students and seniors (62+); and $21 for Film Society members. Discount prices apply with the purchase of tickets to three films or more. Visit www.FilmLinc.com for complete film festival information.

Screenings will be held at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater (located at 165 West 65th Street, between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway) , Japan Society (333 East 47th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenues), and Asia Society (725 Park Avenue, at 70th Street).

Film Descriptions of the initial selections for the 2013 NYAFF lineup

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

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 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 exacting revenge?

Director: Lee Tso-Nam
Country: Taiwan
This martial arts sexploitation film is about Lovely Lady Ninja Wong Siu Wai (Elsa Yeung) who has been training in Japan in the art of the ninjitsu. Able to fly, vanish in seconds, split into double-exposed duplicates, and create explosions of multicolored smoke, Siu-Wai dazzles her opponents by spinning out of her clothes and even fighting in her pink bikini. She returns to China due to the death of her father, and discovers that her fiancée Lee Tung (Chen Kuan-Tai) is to blame and has betrayed her. 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 an operation to rescue officers who have been taken hostage.

North American Premiere
THE COMPLEX (2013) 106min
Director: Hideo Nakata
Country: Japan
Director Hideo Nakata (who basically kicked off J-horror with THE RING) breathes new life into the genre with what starts out as a bright and cheerful family drama before soon putrifying 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
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 supplies a psychological game involving violence and torture as the clock counts down to the New Year.

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 bosses in order to intercept major drug and money transactions and arrest those involved, the crime lord sets about betraying his former accomplices one by one.

World Premiere
HARDCORE COMEDY (2013) 92min
Directors: Henri Wong, Chong Siu Wing, Alan Lo
Country: Hong Kong
Hong Kong's local comedic tradition continues in this quirky post-VULGARIA three-part omnibus.
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
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
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 will attend the screening.

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.

North American Premiere
THE LAST TYCOON (2012) 119min
Director: Wong Jing
Countries: Hong Kong/China
THE LAST TYCOON stars Chow Yun-fat as real-life criminal Du Yuesheng (whose history has been officially banned as a source 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.

North American 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 horror 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 using 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.

Director: Tsai Yang-Ming
Country: Taiwan
When Tsai Yang-ming released this crime thriller in 1979 it became a surprise hit at the Taiwanese box office, which was at the time dominated by period martial arts flicks and sentimental romances. It launched Taiwan's Black Movies trend, which saw 117 hard-hitting exploitation movies hit screens between 1979 and 1983, and this stark, true crime film is the proud parent to them all.
Director Tsai Yang-ming will attend the screening.

North American Premiere
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 behind the camera, 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.

Director: Hou Chi-Jan
Country: Taiwan
A long lost era of filmmaking was preserved and rediscovered 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

WOMAN REVENGER (1981) 80min
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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