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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.

December 2 - December 9, 2004


December 3 is the North American kick off date for Zhang Yimou's HOUSE OF THE FLYING DAGGERS. High off his success with Hero, Zhang indulges himself again in this gorgeous wuxia starring Zhang Ziyi, Andy Lau and Takashi Kaneshiro. Fun for anyone with a pair of eyeballs.

December 10 has DOLLS opening - another Takashi Kitano film opening in NY on the heels of his Zatoichi.

December 17 sees the release of the stunning Korean horror movie, A TALE OF TWO SISTERS. A big hit when it was released, this film is getting raves all over the internet as one of the smartest most stylish "horror" films ever. It is nice to see a horror film where there is no gore - just an ever increasing chill factor and you have to really think it through. After a free screening last week, much of the audience stayed afterwards to talk about it.

December 17 also sees a 7:30PM screening of WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH, the Chinese martial arts John Ford-esque epic, at the American Museum of the Moving Image.

January 12 will bring the 2003 Hong Kong film, MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK to Cinema Village. A sex comedy send-up of US and Hong Kong action (victims include INFERNAL AFFAIRS and SE7EN) this local comedy is really good, but I can't believe anyone is actually distributing it in the US. More power to them.

There are also a few more days of the South Asian International Film Festival at Clearview Chelsea. Check out there site at:


THE GRUDGE is playing at the Loew's 42nd Street Ewalk and this is your last chance to see it in the theater. 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.

Broadway Theater (Broadway and 53rd)
Ticket info:212-239-6200

China Institute
More gorgeous and rare silent films from China.

SMALL TOYS (China, 1933, 114 minutes)
Friday, December 3 @ 6:30PM
Chinese screen legend Ruan Ling-yu (Maggie Cheung played her in the glimmering biopic CENTERSTAGE) and Li Lili (another silent film diva) play a mother and daughter who flee economic exploitation by moving to Shanghai.
$5 for members/$7 for non-members

SONG OF CHINA (China, 1935, 75 minutes)
Friday, December 10 @ 6:30PM
A family patriarch moves his clan to the countryside to save them from the corrupting forces of modernity. One of the only Chinese silent films to be distributed in the US.
$5 for members/$7 for non-members

THE GODDESS (China, 1934, 75 minutes)
Ruan Ling-yu's most famous film, THE GODDESS finds her playing a prostitute who uses her earnings to support her son and make sure he gets a good education. If you want to taste the heady potion that is the dazzling aura of Ruan Ling-yu, this is where you go to drink. The print has been newly restored with a new soundtrack.
$5 for members/$7 for non-members

Cinema Village
Le You's follow-up to SUZHOU RIVER (his VERTIGO remix) is this twisted tale of resistance fighters in WWII China. Zhang Ziyi (without make-up and looking so plain) stars as a revolutionary, and various men and women cross her path, most getting turned into bloody targets. Action setpieces and melodrama mix it up with a narrative that's much more oblique and hard-to-follow than it needs to be. It could have been a beautiful masterpiece, instead it's a fascinating lost opportunity.
read reviews:
more info:

HUNTER AND THE HUNTED (2004, Japan, 110 minutes)
opens December 8
Directorial debut by Izuru Narushima is a slow, funny, Ozu-paced cops and robbers flick. A small town cop (Koji Yakusho, DOPPLEGANGER) and a cat burglar match wits. Variety calls it "lovingly and leisurely observed" and "haunting". I'll stop now before I sound like a publicity shill.
more info:

DOLLS (2002, Japan, 113 minutes)
opens December 10
Takeshi Kitano's movie before ZATOICHI is virtually unseen in the West. A puppet-friendly flick (bunraku puppets provide the prologue) this famously fractitious collaboration with fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto is bafflingly, weird, beautiful and very, very odd. If Kitano is channeling the spirit of Shintaro Katsu to do his ZATOICHI remake, then he's channeling some of the strange flamboyance of Suzuki Seijun in DOLLS.
read reviews:

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:

Yes, it's a Godzilla Symposium. Does life get any better?
Saturday, December 4 from 9:30AM - 5:00PM
Lectures have titles like: "Post-Godzilla Monsterology", "The Heirs of King Kong", "Godzilla versus the Colonial Thing", "H-Man and the Anxiety of Prosperity" and a lunch break! More details:

Film Forum
The movie has been held over due to popular demand. Keep going! Keep buying tickets! You can do it! The print is fabulous and it is almost like seeing it for the first time.

read a review:

ImaginAsian Theater
(239 East 59th Street, btwn 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
VEER ZAARA (India, 2004)
It is one of those big overblown Bollywood love stories that completely sucks you in even if you know you should be made of tougher stuff - lots of fun and music.

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?

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.

starts November 18
Basil Twist (the puppeteer responsible for the underwater puppet show "Symphony Fantastisque") and samisen composer, Yumiko Tanaka, collaborate on this play that incorporates bunraku puppets to commemorate the signing of the first US-Japan treaty (signed by Commodore Perry) 150 years ago. It's not as esoteric or as boring as it sounds.
call for tickets:

Loew's 42 St. E Walk
This latest film from Zhang Yimou is receiving raves from all over. It is spectacularly gorgeous with a few breathtaking action set pieces and enough melodramatic angst to sink a battleship. His previous film HERO did well here at the box office and Sony is betting that this one can do even better with its themes of romance, sacrifice and treachery. It is an eyeful - whether it emotionally connects is debatable but when a film looks this good who cares? Starring the current "It Girl" from China, Zhang Ziyi, as a blind freedom fighter who can also dance up a storm along with Takeshi Kaneshiro (Chungking Express) and Andy Lau (Running on Karma).

It is also playing at:
Lincoln Plaza, Loews 72, Chelsea Cinemas and Union Square

Loew's State
VEER ZAARA (India, 2004)

HULCHUL (India, 2004)
This Bollywood remake of the Malayalam hit, THE GODFATHER, is a flat-out, unrepentant comedy about two feuding families. Starring Ashaye Khanna, Jackie Shroff, Amrish Puri and Kareena Kapoor it's being alternately blasted and praised. Here's some hating: "Every actor's mouth is subjected to scatological humour repeatedly. Jokes about nature's calls, unclean bums and spittle litter the narrative..." Unclean bums?!? Yikes! Read more reviews, then you can be the judge. Do you like unclean bums?
This movie has unclean bums:
But I like this movie:

Museum of Modern Art
They're back! MOMA has come back from Australia (or was it Queens?) and they're now in Manhattan, in a beautiful new building, and charging about $5000 per ticket to get in their front doors. Oh well - that's the way life is: the pretty people always get more money. To celebrate their new HQ, Team MOMA - World Art Police, are showing a bunch of movies. Here's what's coming:

UNIFORM (China, 2004, 92 minutes)
Thursday, December 2 @ 8:30PM
An unemployed Chinese guy finds that life is better when he's wearing a police uniform he found. Okay, okay, there's a Canadian movie with the same plot and the same title, but this version is from China, so it's different.

HIGH HILL (Korea, 2003, 103 minutes)
I do not understand this movie. Has anyone heard of it? Here's the write-up from MOMA's website:
"Directed by Choiha Dongha. In 2002 a Turkish teenage girls's soccer team achieved fame at the World Cup championships for competing in their everyday baggy pants and rubber shoes. South Korean filmmakers visit their village, where unemployed men sit in cafes and girls pick beans, gather wood, and find time for soccer practice." Documentary? Drama?

CHASED BY DREAMS (India, 2004, 93 minutes)
This Indian film is not a Bollywood musical. Instead, it's about two projectionists (of educational documentaries) who take their portable cinema on the road where they befriend a Muslim woman whose husband was killed in a riot. Variety raves about it, and it's gotten a lot of critical attention. I was less unenthusiastic after seeing it.

Walter Reade Theater (at Lincoln Center)
November 12-December 7
This is almost over - a last weekend to catch some classic Korean films.
More info:

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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