The New York Asian Film Festival’s Winter Showcase Puts Asia’s Best Films in the Spotlight

The New York Asian Film Festival’s Winter Showcase Puts Asia’s Best Films in the Spotlight
Khier Casino
February 13, 2019
2018 was a big year for Asian-American films such as “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Searching,” but the New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF) aimed to spotlight other movies coming out of Asia.
The first night of the festival’s inaugural winter showcase at SVA Theatre in the New York City neighborhood of Chelsea on Feb. 1 featured South Korean actress Han Ji-min, who was named the first NYAFF ambassador.
Ji-min was also on hand to introduce the opening film of the winter showcase, “Miss Baek,” in which she plays “a tough convict, swearing, spitting and smoking on a grubby street corner.”
“‘Miss Baek’ deals with the social issue of child abuse, it will be difficult to watch, however I hope it will become a start for change for a better world for change for children,” the actress said.
“Miss Baek” Photo: Little Big Pictures
Ji-min’s breakthrough performance in “Miss Baek” won her a Best Actress award at the 2018 Blue Dragon awards, South Korea’s version of the Oscars.
Other films shown during the first weekend from Feb. 1-3 included “Fly By Night” (Malaysia, 2018), “Mee Pok Man” (Singapore, 1995), “Have a Nice Day” (China, 2017), “After This Our Exile” (Hong Kong, 2006), “Crying Fist” (South Korea, 2005) and “Breathless” (South Korea, 2008).
“Fly By Night”
The winter showcase continued its run from Feb. 8-10 with “100 Yen Love” (Japan, 2014), “7 Grandmasters” (Taiwan, 1978), “Mystery of Chessboxing” (Taiwan and Hong Kong, 1979), “Swordsman of All Swordsmen” (Taiwan, 1968), “King of Beggars” (Hong Kong, 1992), “Merantau” (Indonesia, 2009) and “The Raid: Redemption” (Indonesia, 2011).
“Swordsman of All Swordsmen”
The second Saturday of NYAFF offered a “Secret Screening,” a festival tradition intended to shock audiences to the core.
The surprise film turned out to be “The Killing of Satan,” a 1983 Filipino fantasy/adventure directed by Efren C. Piñon.
NYAFF described “The Killing of Satan” as “a rare must-see batsh*t crazy trip of a movie about good and evil.”
Satan dressed up like Dracula for some reason.
The movie reminded me of Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic “The Room,” a film so famously bad that it’s good.
It stars Elizabeth Oropesa as Lagring San Miguel and her husband Lando San Miguel, played by Ramon Revilla, whose daughter is abducted by Satan to be his bride.
Elizabeth Oropesa as Lagring San Miguel; Ramon Revilla as Lando San Miguel
A review by summed up the campy film in one sentence: “Made in the Philippines and barely dubbed into English (one guy has a southern drawl?!), it’s a cool, funny, good v evil, low budget face-off with squibs, candles, magic sounds, wife punching, naked gals (in a cage), snake knotting, wrestling, blood, brief chunky gore and a character called ‘Uncle Ben.’”
The version showcased at NYAFF on Saturday was also subtitled in Spanish while the characters spoke in English, adding to the hilarity.
But the fun does not stop there. NYAFF will hold its main summer festival for its 18th year from June 28 to July 14 at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and SVA Theatre.
All Images Courtesy of NYAFF
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