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Subway Cinema Coming Attractions:
NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL - Asian Films Are Go!!! (June 16 - July 1)

Visit our archive for previous editions of the NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL:
and 2005.

November 4 - November 11, 2004
Well, people from our mailing list turned up in droves at the Oct. 28 ONG BAK screening at the American Museum of the Moving Image. In fact, almost every single one of the 25 people at the screening were from our list. Yay, us!

Lot's of "Coming Soon" info so let's ignore the tide of violence that's threatening to drown the world and dive right in!

November 12-December 7 sees "The Newest Tiger: 60 Years of South Korean Cinema" kick off at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. It features things like Im Kwon-Taek's latest film LOW LIFE (his 99th movie), Lee Myung-Se's NOWHERE TO HIDE (the most beautiful action movie ever made), Lee Myung-Se's FIRST LOVE (a much-loved Korean romance), Kim Ki-Young's twisted and sick 1960 THE HOUSEMAID and a ton of others. Geez, it's like Lincoln Center is on Asian steroids these days.

Nov. 12 sees VEER-ZAARA open at the Imaginasian theater and the Loew's State. It's Bollywood's big New Year's (Diwali if you want to be a poser) movie and it's from Yash Raj productions, and we all know that means big, glossy, empty-headed thrills. You know how Bollywood movies usually portray Pakistan as a country that's located IN HELL? And how Bollywood usually depicts Pakistanis as SCREAMING DEMONS FROM HELL? Apparently, this movie wants to fix that by portraying the sensitive love story between a pilot (played by Shah Rukh Khan) and a Pakistani human rights worker (played, it seems, by Preity Zinta). Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee are also in the movie. If you like fun, you'll like this movie. And it's good for you.

Nov. 17 will see author Chang-Rae Lee do a reading at Symphony Space.

November 18 brings puppets to the Japan Society as Basil Twist (who's New York's best puppeteer) stages Dogugaeshi, a puppet theater play inspired by Japan's puppet traditions. Twist's last show, SYMPHONY FANTASTIQUE, is still running in NYC and is an abstract puppet show that takes place entirely underwater.

Nov. 19 brings us PING PONG screening at the Asia Society. We had two sold-out screenings of this amazing movie back at the 2003 New York Asian Film Festival and you can read a review here:

It's amazing to me that no one in the US has picked this movie up for distribution. Oh, wait, it's not violent, has no action scenes, and isn't a boring art movie that exoticizes Asian culture. Sorry, I must have lost my mind for a minute. Of course no one has picked it up for a US release.

Friday, Nov. 26th sees a screening of last year's Korean epic limb-hacker, SWORD IN THE MOON at the American Museum of the Moving Image. It was at Cannes, and while it's not the greatest movie ever made, it's a pretty darn effective period swordplay movie with lots of spookiness and great carnage.
There'll also be some more Ozu movies at the AMMI in November.

December 3rd sees a wide release of Zhang Yimou's HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS. This isn't as good as HERO, but it's worth watching. By any other director it would be a miracle, but it's a bit of a let-down from Zhang Yimou.

December 4th (Saturday) from 9:30AM - 5:30PM there's a Godzilla Symposium at the Altschul Auditorium in the International Affairs Building at Columbia U (that's 118th St. and Amsterdam Avenue). A Godzilla symposium? I can die happy!

Early December sees the release of the stunning Korean horror movie, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS. A big hit when it was released, there's going to be a number of free screenings before it comes out and you're going to get into some of them. Keep your eyes pinned to this blog.

HERO is still playing at AMC Empire 25 and Village East (see below).

THE GRUDGE is playing all over town. Don't miss it. This is the Hollywood remake of Japan's creepfest, JU-ON, and it's directed by the original director, it stars both of the original's creepiest stars, and it's set in the same scary Japanese house in the same scary Japan! Plus, it features the poster from THE RING. And it's actually very faithful to the original and very, very good.

AMC Empire 25 (42nd Street and 8th Avenue)
HERO (2002, China, 98 minutes)
Also playing at:
UA Union Square 14

Asia Society
THE CHESS PLAYERS (1977, India, 113 minutes)
Nov. 11 @ 7PM
Satyajit Ray's film about Lucknow during the 1856 Indian Mutiny and two nobles who are lost in an obsessive chess game, oblivious to the political crisis raging around them. The Asia Society says it's "rarely shown" and "a classic." And it's even got Sir Richard Attenborough in it!
Read more:

Broadway Theater (Broadway and 53rd)
The hit British musical, BOMBAY DREAMS is chuffing along. But even a score by A.R. Rahman (including "Chaiya Chaiya" from DIL SE, and "Shakalaka Baby" from NAYAK), a role for Madhur Jaffrey, the biggest Indian cookbook writer in the West, and inflatable Ganesh statues (plus a big fountain) haven't saved it from almost unanimous critical slams. Yikes! I liked it, but I like Bollywood, and if you don't know Bollywood you probably won't like it, and who in the US knows much about Bollywood? Bolly-bummer.
Ticket info:212-239-6200

China Institute
SONG OF CHINA (1935, China, 75 minutes)
Friday, November 5 @ 6:30PM
It's coming up on the 100th anniversary of film in China and you can take in these almost-lost Chinese silent movies and think about lots of deep things. SONG OF CHINA is a family melodrama about a man who moves his family to the countryside in an attempt to save them from corrupting modernism( kind of like Mosquito Coast without the insanity). One of the only Chinese silent movies to play the US circuit back in the 30's.

Cinema Village
Daily at 1:45, 3:45, 7:45
A Mainland Chinese movie about, well, postmen. And their routes are in, well, the mountains. It's all about a postman taking a kid on his three day route through the mountains with lots of bonding on the side. If you're a sucker for father/son movies, this one will get you. Bring hankies.
Read a review:

Columbia University
GODZILLA CONQUERS THE GLOBE: Japanese Movie Monsters in International Film Art
C.V. Starr East Asian Library
Through December 2004
It's back!!! We had no idea this was running through December, but you can see it now.
A big exhibition of GODZILLA film materials from around the globe. For exhibit times and how to get to the library and find the exhibit please go to the website listed below. Check out the website anyways, because if you can ignore the goofy picture of Godzilla (who looks more like the Loch Ness Monster here) you can also see a map and a case by case listing of every single object in the exhibit. And, apparently, the exhibit is BYOED (Bring Your Own Exhibit Descriptions) so make sure you print out the website as there's almost no signage at the library.
The exhibit extends through three rooms on two different floors; part of it is in the Main Reading Room of the Starr Library, which is open all day during the academic term, but the other two rooms are open only M-F 9AM - 1PM. Curated by Prof. Gregory M. Pflugfelder, who deserves a Nobel prize for his Godzilla scholarship, it'll run through May 15, and the good Prof. Pflugfelder (is that a made-up name?) is organizing a Godzilla symposium on December 4th. A Godzilla symposium?!? Could we possibly live in a better world?
more info:

Film Forum
A documentary about rice farmers in Northeastern India. These guys live in virtual isolation, practicing agricultural traditions that are thousands of years old, and don't you just want to fall asleep at this description? However, despite some critical carping about a lack of "social political and economic peril" (from the Village Voice, natch) everyone's saying that this is a surprisingly frank antidote to the "Kumbaya" portrait of indigenous people usually painted by documentarians. Sexually frank, gossipy as an episode of THE OC, and just as socially sophisticated as those of us who have computers and watch DVDs, the inhabitants of Meghalaya come across as real people, not brown-skinned avatars of wonderful nature.
And Mira Nair (she produced it) and director Dinaz Stafford will be present at the Friday, Nov. 5, 8:20 show.
Read reviews:
(wait a minute, why the New York Times? Because it has a great review of this movie. And you can avoid the whole, pesky "Free Registration" at the Times by going to - if the first password they give you doesn't work, try again)

ImaginAsian Theater
(239 East 59th Street, btwn 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
Benefit screenings for the Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange
Tuesday, Nov. 9 @ 6PM
Documentaries and speakers talk about the effects of Agent Orange on Vietnam. Money goes to a good cause, and you're not going to catch me cracking any jokes about this one.

MAGNIFICO (Philippines, 2004, 122 minutes)
Friday is the last day for this Philippino melodrama.
Read a review:

Friday Nov. 5 @ 7PM, additional shows Nov. 6 and 7th
US director Adario Strange (the ad proclaims that he's the director of "THE NYU SUICIDES" - did he orchestrate them? I thought it was just a sad case of some kids killing themselves, not a performance piece) shot this movie in Tokyo and the actors are Japanese. It's all about shut-ins who are called hikikomori's and how one of them targets a pretty girl and she is "swept up into a web of fear and crime...that could ultimately destroy her." That happened to me last week and it's not as bad as it sounds. Some info and the trailer here:

Japan Society
October 15 - December 17
Curated by brainiac, Susan Sontag, this series of hand-picked (like cherries and apples) Japanese classics features some stand-out films and some of the same-old same-old. The last time she did this it was successful. Will it be a winner again?

REPAST (Japan, 1951, 97 minutes)
Monday, November 8 @ 6:30PM
Mikio Naruse directs this movie with two of the biggest stars of the 40's and 50's, Setsuko Hara and Ken Uehara. A domestic drama.

FIRES ON THE PLANE (Japan, 1959, 105 minutes)
Monday, November 29 @ 6:30PM
Kon Ichikawa directs this grueling flick about a starved and exhausted soldier in the Philippines.

WHEN A WOMAN ASCENDS THE STAIRS (Japan, 1960, 86 minutes)
Wednesday, December 1 @ 6:30PM
A childless widow works as a madam in Ginza trying to be moral while everything around her is steeped in sin.

PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS (Japan, 1961, 108 minutes)
Monday, December 6 @ 6:30PM
The great Shohei Imamura directs this black comedy about a group of gangsters that controls a town dependent on the local US military base.

HIGH AND LOW (Japan, 1963, 144 minutes)
Tuesday, December 14 @ 6:30PM
Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune together again. Kidnappers get the kid of the chauffeur not of his boss, and the boss has to make a moral choice. I just woke up. If you like BAYSIDE SHAKEDOWN you'll recognize the ending of HIGH AND LOW as the source of the final scene.

Symphony Space
SPIRITED AWAY (2001, Japan, 125 minutes)
Saturday, Nov. 6 @ 11AM and 2PM
Hayao Miyazaki's gorgeous animated film about a little girl trapped in a bath house for the gods (no, it's not porno - don't be disgusting!) is beautiful, and it even won an Oscar. It's worth seeing again, and I would imagine that in this bleak winter weather it'll seem even warmer and more emotionally compelling.
Buy tickets:

Village East
INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002, Hong Kong, 101 minutes)
Whammy! American independent crime movies don't aspire to anything more ambitious than remaking PULP FICTION and Hollywood crime films have become special effects-clogged action flicks that can be sold on the international marketplace. So who's making good crime movies these days? Everyone else. INFERNAL AFFAIRS is the most gripping and ambitious gangster flick to hit movie screens since...well, since a long time. Head down to Chinatown to check out INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2, and 3 after you've watched IA 1. It rivals the three GODFATHER flicks in terms of epic scope (and, true to form, Kelly Chen is the "in over her head" equivalent of Sofia Coppola, and part 3 is a bit of a disappointment). Action flicks don't get any smarter than this.
Read a review:

JU-ON (2003, Japan, 92 minutes)
Japanese horror hit, JUON, unfurls once more at the Village East. It's the movie that was remade as THE GRUDGE (currently doing boffo box office biz) but I personally prefer the original. Don't miss it!
read a review:

New York Independent Film and Video Festival
THE NEIGHBOUR (Japan, 30 mins)
Friday, Nov. 12th @ 2:10PM
A digital video short from Japan, starring stage actress Makiko Tomimoto in her screen debut, this is a romantic alienation movie from Tokyo that's gotten some good reviews from the likes of the folks over at and from Mark Schilling. Unfortunately, you can read more about the movie over at the festival's website which gets an award from me for being incredibly difficult to navigate.
Read more:

Special Notes!!!
There's a special series at Columbia University of lectures on aspects of Japanese art and literature. They’re the Donald Keene Center Special Lecture series and you can find updates at:

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