20 Films you cannot miss at the 18th New York Asian Film Festival

nyaff2019filmsaWe present a list of twenty films you cannot miss at the 18th New York Asian Film Festival which will take place from June 28th until July 14th, in New York City, United States.

5 Million Dollar Life

5 Million Dollar Life by Moon Sung-ho – Japan | 2019 – 112 minutes

Mirai Takatsuki is a seemingly normal teenager, but when he was a child his life was saved from a terrible illness thanks to magnanimous donations from the local community that paid for his medical bills. Ongoing media attention and the pressure to excel have prompted Mirai to have suicidal tendencies. Urged on by mysterious and threatening text messages he sets off on a life changing quest to repay the kindness bestowed on him and find out his life’s true meaning. This unpredictable and innovative film reverses the terminal illness genre into a novel and illuminating coming of age road movie. (NYAFF’s Website)

July 11th | Thursday | SVA Theatre | 6:30 pm (Q&A with Director)

Trailer (No English subtitles):


Another Child

Another Child by Kim Yoon-seok – South Korea | 2018 – 96 minutes

Actor extraordinaire Kim Yoon-seok makes his directorial debut with this riveting film about family dysfunction, amour fou and coming of age in the oddest of circumstances. 17-year-old Joo-ri discovers her father is having an affair with the mother of her hard headed classmate Yoon-ah. While at first the two teens don’t get along they soon team up to try and put the relationship to an end. But when they discover Yoon-ah’s mother is pregnant, the stakes are raised and they become determined to look after the sibling that brought them together in the first place.(NYAFF’s Website)

July 11th | Thursday | Film at Lincoln Center | 8:30 pm (Q&A with Director)




Complicity by Chikaura Kei – Japan | 2018 – 116 mimnutes

Chen Liang, a young Chinese man working illegally in Japan, buys an ID and cell phone on the black market. When he gets a call offering a job he accepts blindly. Chen, now known as Liu, ends up an apprentice in a rural soba shop. As he acclimates to his new life he forms a strong bond with his sagely mentor, while also developing a quiet romance with a local woman. However, the threat of deportation always lurks around the corner. Chikaura Kei’s moving and insightful debut offers a rare inside view of life as a marginalized immigrant in Japan. (NYAFF’s Website)

June 29th | Saturday | Film at Lincoln Center | 1:00 pm



Fly me to the Saitama

Fly me to the Saitama by Hideki Takeuchi – Japan | 2019 – 107 minutes

This riotously irreverent manga adaptation imagines the petty rivalries between Tokyo and neighboring Chiba and Saitama (think Manhattan versus bridge and tunnel) as a seething political struggle. ‘Saitamese’ are downtrodden and even need a visa to enter the big city. Cue a ‘boys love’ plot thread between the feminine-looking Momoi, son of the Tokyo governor (spunky Nikaido Fumi in her cosplay best) and a handsome male transfer student (Gackt) secretly from the other side of the tracks. Before long they are fighting side by side in the resistance as the prejudice-driven feud comes to a frothy head. (NYAFF’s Website)

July 14th | Sunday | SVA Theatre | 1:00 pm



G Affairs

G Affairs by Lee Cheuk-pan – Hong Kong | 2018 – 105 minutes

A brooding cellist plays in his apartment. A policeman meets his prostitute lover next door. A head crashes through a window. Thus begins this myriad of strange stories that satellite around the bad cop’s daughter, pretty and top of her class high school student Yu Ting. She is having an affair with her teacher while the cellist and an easily manipulated autistic man pine after her. As this menagerie of odd souls intertwines, the mystery unravels, reflecting the darker chasms of Hong Kong society. Lee Cheuk-pan’s outrageous debut is the desperate scream of a bold and shocking new cinematic voice. (NYAFF’s Website)

July 9th | Tuesday | Film at Lincoln Center | 6:30 pm (Q&A with Director and Actors)




Hard-core by Yamashita Nobuhiro – Japan | 2018 – 124 minutes

Hirsute sad-sack Ukon (Yamada) and his only friend, Ushiyama (Arakawa), a kindhearted oddball, are hired by an aging nationalist to dig for the Shogun’s buried gold, so he can restore Japan’s Imperial honor. When Ushiyama finds a rusty old robot and Ukon’s tech-savvy younger brother Sakon (Satoh) revives it, they name him Roboo and take him to work. Roboo is a gifted gold miner, but it’s only when his friends are attacked one night that his true talents emerge, in a flash of blinding light. Yamashita’s first sci-fi tinged tale is a mirthful drama about loneliness, male bonding, female lust and doing the right thing. (NYAFF’s Website)

June 29th | Saturday | Film at Lincoln Center | 7:30 pm



If You Are Happy

If You Are Happy by Chen XiaoMing – China | 2018

In China, parents buy homes in certain school districts at outrageous prices just to ensure a good education for their children. Professor Fu is desperate to sell his place in order to get such an apartment to guarantee his daughter’s future. This real-life drama is painted as an existential thriller, following Fu’s dilemma with unseen obstacles at every turn. Bribery, infidelity, broken promises, and strict policy all conspire against Fu’s quest for happiness. Through striking mise en scène and a vitriolic script built on cruel twists of fate, Chen Xiaoming’s film delivers a surprisingly suspenseful critique of modern society. (NYAFF’s Website)

July 3rd | Wednesday | Film at Lincoln Center | 7:30 pm (Q&A with Actress Fu Miao)




Jam by Sabu – Japan | 2018 – 102 minutes

Sabu’s 18th feature is an absurdist dramedy driven by random chance and fateful encounters, as three characters inch closer to crossing paths. Hiroshi (Aoyagi, also in Mr. Long) is a small-time enka singer who dreams of global stardom; Takeru (Machida) is intent on doing good deeds to undo the bad one that put his girlfriend in a coma; and ex-con Tetsuo (Suzuki) is out for revenge against the yakuza gang that sent him to prison. Jam explores themes of fate and faith, guilt and retribution, coincidence and karmic payback before finally erupting into one of the cult director’s trademark foot chases. (NYAFF’s Website)

July 8th | Monday | Film at Lincoln Center | 6:30 pm (Q&A with Director)




Jinpa by Pema Tseden – China | 2018 – 86 minutes

Stoic truck driver Jinpa picks up a silver dagger wearing hitchhiker in the desolate Kekexili plateau. The stranger suddenly reveals he’s going to kill the man who murdered his father. After they part ways, Jinpa starts to reflect and goes looking for him, ostensibly to prevent further bloodshed. Pema Tseden’s sixth feature, produced by Wong Kar-wai, boasts mesmerizing cinematography, striking mise en scene and a deceptively minimalist story for an existential road movie of spiritual transcendence. Dream and reality meld in this stark tale, its Tibetan locales conjuring the feel of a philosophical arthouse western. (NYAFF’s Website)

June 29th | Saturday | Film at Lincoln Center | 3:30 pm




Kokdu: A Story of Guardian Angels by Kim Tae-yong
South Korea | 2018 – 73 minutes

Director Kim Tae-yong (Late Autumn), composer Bang Jun-seok (Along with the Gods), and 20 members of the National Gugak Center’s traditional Korean orchestra bridge art forms in a universal story of loss and redemption, steeped in Korean folklore. Melding fantasy and reality, the film incorporates an elaborate theatrical piece to celebrate Korean myths and traditions. After losing their grandmother’s precious shoes, Su-min and her younger brother Dong-min accidentally fall into the netherworld where they encounter a mischievous band of kokdu, the mysterious guardians of the afterlife. Filled with music, dance and folklore, Kokdu is a once in-a lifetime FILM/CONCERT experience. (NYAFF’s Website)

June 29th | Saturday | Film at Lincoln Center | 7:00 pm (Q&A with composer Bang Jun-seok)



You can read the second part of this list here: PART 2

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