Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Movies Seen at NYAFF 2009 - Part 1

This year the New York Asian Film Festival partnered with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, New York to present ten Hong Kong films. A real cinema treat for me as Hong Kong films are my favorite Asian movies. I watched five of the Hong Kong films. I'll comment on two here and the remaining three plus two Japanese movies in my next few posts.

This was the Festival's opening film and was sold out. Written by. 2009. Hong Kong. World Premiere. Directed by: Wai Ka-fei. Starring: Lau Ching-wan, Kelly Lin & Mia Yan. Lau Ching-wan is killed in a car crash and his wife, son and daughter survive but the daughter is blind. Ten years later his wife is still grieving. The daughter attempts to cheer up her mother by writing a book in which the father survives the accident but the rest of the family dies. The character of the father in the book decides to write a book in which he dies and the family lives. Each family member wants to spend time with their departed loved ones as the story unfolds and unfolds. Another tragic event in the 'real time' story is also reflected in the story the father is writing and so it goes. The story wasn't difficult to follow. However I think the story within a story distracted me so I never felt a connection with the characters as they tried to work through and come to terms with loss and the unfairness of life.

The Longest Nite. 1988. Hong Kong. Directed by: Patrick Yau (Yau shot five scenes which were re-edited with additional footage by Johnnie To and Wai Ka-fei). Starring: Lau Ching-wan & Tony Leung Chiu-wai. Tony Leung plays a corrupt Macau cop trying to deal with troubles between the local triads. Lau Ching-wan, a hitman with shaved head and tattoos, arrives and in his low key manner starts troubles with Tony Leung. I watched a Mandarin dubbed low quality VCD of this movie years ago so was excited to see it 'on the big screen'. I wasn't disappointed. I'd forgotten it was Tony Leung who, in an attempt to stop an assasination, uses a glass ketchup bottle to break a local hitman's hands. Yes, there were gasps from the audience.

This movie isn't available on DVD because of rights issues. After the movie there was a Q & A with Wai Ka-fei. He said after the five scenes Yau shot were re-edited the movie was still ten minutes too short and they were out of money. So he and Johnnie To rented an abandoned warehouse then bought lots of mirrors. Fortunately Lau Ching-wan and Tony Leung were available at the same time so they shot a ten minute shoot out with the mirrors in the warehouse which is the how the movie ends.


A. Nony Mouse said...

Thanks for this blog. Wouldn't it be just marvelous if it were easier to see some of these movies "on the big screen" all year long. It's no fun waiting around for the next festival.

Glenn, kenixfan said...

I have The Longest Nite on DVD -- old Universe version I think.

I didn't realize it was so rare but my copy's cover insert is cropped to fit into a case, unfortunately.

sbk said...

Hi A. Nony Mouse,

Thanks for your comments. It would be wonderful to be able to see these movies at the local movieplex all year long.

sbk said...

Hi Glenn,

I didn't realize the DVD/VCD/movie was considered rare either. I like the movie but like "Too Many Ways to Be Number One" from the same period better. "Period" - it's only 10-12 years ago!!!

Bummer regarding your cover being cropped.