With the summer heat on full blast this coming weekend in New York, patrons of the five burroughs may want to consider the cool and also very hip insides of a movie theater for proper retreat and enjoyment. And what better way to do this than attend the latest edition of a true NYC film culture staple: The New York Asian Film Festival! Rising from the depths of cinephillia of the far east, NYAFF roars across the city Friday, June 29 to Friday... July 15!
Opening night rolls out the North American Premiere of Masanori Tominaga's Dynamite Graffiti. Jumping to ol' 15, closing night gives us the World Premiere of Erik Matti's BuyBust, a social realist action film on the drug war in the Phillipennes. Sounds cool. But what to see? What to keep your eye on if elsewhere in the world... well, my old pals Dustin Chang, Christopher Bourne and Peter Guiterrez have you covered with this purview of mini reviews for some of the flicks playing the 2018 New York Asian Film Festival. So read on! And do be sure to check out NYAFF's site for tickets and full schedule.
One Cut of the Dead
With Romero's Night of the Living Dead, the zombie genre has a humble, low-budget indie beginning. Taking the cue from this idea, Ueda Shinichiro's One Cut of the Dead serves a love letter to the indie filmmaking process as much as it works as being an entertaining zom-com.
It starts out with as an impressive 37 minute uncut zombie movie where a frazzled director screams at a young actress, who has just gone through her 42nd take. She needs to look more frightened. That she really needs to fear for life! His wish comes true soon enough, as real zombies run amok in the filming location, a large water treatment plant where the Japanese army conducted human experiment in the days of WW2.
The film rewinds and becomes a making-of documentary where it shows how the uncut movie was made in clever, comical ways. As anyone ever involved in low budget filmmaking would attest, no matter how terrible the end product turn out, there is tons of hard work and on-the-spot problem solving that goes in to each film. An interesting aside to considering: The movie gives the 'crane shot' a new meaning...
One Cut of the Dead is part zombie movie, part making-of documentary and part touching family drama. And it's hugely entertaining. -- Dustin Chang