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Grady Hendrix (#110 of 10)

New York Asian Film Festival 2012: Doomsday Book, Monsters Club, Guns N’Roses, & Wu Xia

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New York Asian Film Festival 2012: <em>Doomsday Book</em>, <em>Monsters Club</em>, <em>Guns N’Roses</em>, & <em>Wu Xia</em>
New York Asian Film Festival 2012: <em>Doomsday Book</em>, <em>Monsters Club</em>, <em>Guns N’Roses</em>, & <em>Wu Xia</em>

Since its relatively humble beginnings at Anthology Film Archives (not to mention the long-defunct ImaginAsian), the New York Asian Film Festival has emerged as quite possibly the most sheer fun of all the major New York film festivals. Go to just about any one of its screenings—especially any one introduced by Grady Hendrix, one of its founders and still its official voice—and you’ll immediately be startled by its proudly rowdy spirit, a far cry from the usual buttoned-up “official” nature of most other film festivals. Plus, there are the prizes that Hendrix and his fellow Subway Cinema cohorts often give out at screenings.

Above all, though, it’s the selection of films—with a marked emphasis on genre pictures and other sorts of unabashedly commercial entertainments—that distinguish the NYAFF from other film festivals of its type, especially in New York. In its desire to encompass a wide range of cinema in China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and other Asian countries, the festival is unafraid to juxtapose popular cinema with artier fare. Freed from the shackles of what programmers deem worthy of passing through the festival circuit, the folks at the nonprofit organization Subway Cinema present a more varied and complete view of the kinds of movies being made in these countries. If you thought, for instance, that the only kinds of films coming out of China or Taiwan were the kinds of slow-paced, long-take-saturated dramas by the likes of Hou Hsiao-hsien, Jia Zhang-ke, and others, then one should make a beeline for this year’s Independence Day screening of the complete two-part Taiwanese epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale, a grand spectacle in the mold of executive producer John Woo’s own Red Cliff. Either that, or give Giddens Ko’s highly successful (at the box office, at least) romantic comedy You Are the Apple of My Eye a shot.

Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 6, Episode 1: “The Depressing Episode Where Grady Ran from Reencounter”

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Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 6, Episode 1: “The Depressing Episode Where Grady Ran from Reencounter”
Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 6, Episode 1: “The Depressing Episode Where Grady Ran from Reencounter”

Hello Brooklyn!

This is the sixth(!) season premiere of our glorious little time at my beloved bar that we’re all very sure you’re excited about. We start on Tyler the Creator’s Goblin and then remember to introduce our special guest Grady Hendrix (writer, New York Asian Film Festival co-founder, literally breathless film introducer) who coins “Ka-renge” in case you’ve been lacking titles for an I Saw The Devil/Man From Nowhere think piece (you’re welcome). We delve—i.e. ask Grady and he drops bon mots like “How Sarah Palin believes in Jesus, Korea believes in higher education”—into the emerging world of independent Korean cinema, like the anti-Love Exposure that is Cafe Noir, the nature of Takeshi Kitano’s post-tsunami needs, and Tsui Hark, who is the big focus of this year’s New York Asian Film Festival—full line-up here, from July 1-14.

Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 5, Episode 1, “Ejaculating Sawdust”

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Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 5, Episode 1, “Ejaculating Sawdust”
Lichman and Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Season 5, Episode 1, “Ejaculating Sawdust”

Ohayo Lincoln Center!

The Grassroots Podcast (voted “Best Podcast to Never Be Nominated for a Podcast Award” by Variety, but the paywall means we can’t link to it) returns!

Of course we’ll get into all sorts of things like Sex and the City 2, Cannes being the prime reason for shooting sawdust out of our metaphorical critical phalluses and the single greatest trainwreck of a video interview ever shot. But we’ve got bigger fish to fry today. In fact, you could say we’re going to…nah, I was going to make a yakitori joke. But that would’ve been lame.

So to help us fight lame, we’ve got Grady Hendrix, he of the multi-headed New York Asian Film Festival hydra, to bring us his thoughts on festival concepts and what’s playing at this year’s series, which runs from June 25 through July 8, as well as its sister program, Japan Cuts at the Japan Society.

Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 12a, “In Which We Make No Reference to Sydney Pollack” with Grady Hendrix

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Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 12a, “In Which We Make No Reference to Sydney Pollack” with Grady Hendrix
Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 12a, “In Which We Make No Reference to Sydney Pollack” with Grady Hendrix

Your contacts aren’t fogged over, faithful listeners, this is in fact Part Two of Episode 12! What’s that you say, you had no idea about a part two of episode 12? Neither did we! Until someone (me) made the mistake of saying that we had two episodes sharing the same title. So rather than re-record, we embrace our punk rock ethics and make you think it was all intentional.

‘Cause it was. (Editor’s Note: As was the title changefrom “mention of Sydney Pollack” to “reference to Sydney Pollack”between podcast recording and publishing. ... Really.)

Anyway, Episode 12a is special since it is a two-fer for us at the podcast: it marks our first return guest, Grady Hendrix (who originally joined us back in Episode 4) to help educate us on the 2008 New York Asian Film Festival, which runs June 20th through July 7th at the IFC Center and as part of Japan Cuts at Japan Society.

Grady not only relates to us the particular nuances of the festival—from Korean cinema’s noticeable absence to the pitfalls of financing an entire festival among a few people—but also pontificates on The Strangers, which opened last Friday and which he reviews at Monsterfest, asking the question, “why hasn’t anyone noticed this is a remake of a French film?” And if they don’t, why are the U.S. distributors not caring?

But mainly, we focus on NYAFF and take Grady’s thoughts on what we must see and why we should support one of New York’s best independent film festivals—and yes, this is a very personal opinion.

Of course, if you’re more in tune with international fare, join us next week when our guests include Glenn Kenny and Spout‘s Karina Longworth as we pick their brain about this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Until then, if you see Vadim or me at the bar, buy us a drink. Please. It hurts to be as dry (and witty) as we are. JL

 

Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 4, “Big in Japan!” with Grady Hendrix & Mark Walkow

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Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 4, “Big in Japan!” with Grady Hendrix & Mark Walkow
Lichman & Rizov “Live” at Grassroots Tavern: Episode 4, “Big in Japan!” with Grady Hendrix & Mark Walkow

I admit this is a bit niche considering The House’s tastes, but when you come to consider everyone’s current obsession of The Wire, Westerns and crime stories, discussing the upcoming series at Asia Society (“Gamblers, Gangsters, and Other Anti-Heroes: The Japanese Yakuza Movie”) seems like the obvious choice. We delve into the topics of old-school vs. modern films, notably Jinsei Gekojo (A Tale of Two Yakuza) against Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles Without Honor and Humanity. In order to help Vadim and myself, who would no doubt just argue about Takashi Miike instead, we have special guests (and 2/5ths of Subway Cinema) Grady Hendrix (Kaiju Shakedown, New York Sun) and Mark Walkow (Outcast Cinema) to school us kids on the history and social aspects of “Yak” films. It’s a wonderful life, truly.

Do join us next week when our special guest will be Eric Kohn (The Reeler, New York Press, The Hollywood Daily) as we discuss…well, you’ll find out. Until then if you see Vadim or ME at the bar, buy us a drink. Please. JL