New York Asian Film Festival To Hold First-Ever Winter Showcase

2018 was a seminal year for Asian American cinema with the wild success of “Crazy Rich Asians” that depicted a fantasy of Asian American life. New York Asian Film Foundation, however, wants to explore the flip-side of the story.

This year, NYAFF will be holding its first-ever winter showcase through two weekends, from Feb. 1-3 to Feb. 8-10, and centered around the theme of “crazy broke Asians.” NYAFF also hosts a summer festival, now in its 18th year. 

The showcase will feature a mix of both contemporary and classic movies from East, South and Southeast Asia, including quintessential kung fu thrillers, comedies and “Miss Baek,” starring the showcase’s ambassador for the year, Korean actress Han Ji-min.

The lineup includes the 2018 film “Miss Baek,” its headlining title. After tirelessly working odd jobs to escape her family’s clutches, Miss Baek (Han Ji-min) meets a young girl whose story scarily mirrors her own. She sets out on a quest to liberate the child from her parents, but is continually thwarted by the girl’s mother. Dealing with dark themes of childhood trauma and the cycle of familial abuse, it’s a surprisingly bleak movie for Han, a well-known K-drama star. Her role in “Miss Baek” won Han the Best Actress honor at South Korea’s 2018 Blue Dragon Awards.

"100 Yen Love" (Spotted Productions)
“100 Yen Love” (Spotted Productions)

Others include “Have a Nice Day,” the 2017 animated dark comedy from Chinese director Liu Jian that follows the story of a young getaway driver after he steals 100 million yuan meant to fund a Korean plastic surgery procedure for his cutthroat boss’s girlfriend. The movie has received praise for Liu’s unique animation style and gritty storylines. “Have a Nice Day” won Best Animation Feature at the 54th Golden Horse Awards.

“The Mystery of Chess Boxing” is a kung fu staple released in 1987 featuring the genius of Taiwanese martial arts director Joseph Kuo. In this movie, a young kung fu novice (Lee Yi Min) sets out on a quest to avenge his father’s death and to defeat the mysterious Ghost-Faced Killer (Mark Long). The film will be shown in its original 35mm format.

The 2014 film “100 Yen Love” is about 32-year-old slacker Ichiko (Sakura Ando), who leads an uninspired life living at home with her parents. After getting into a huge argument with her sister who was forced to move back home after a messy divorce, Ichiko runs away and begins working at the Japanese equivalent of a dollar store. Every day on her way home, she passes a boxing gym and slowly becomes enamored with one of the fighters who encourages her to take up boxing. “100 Yen Love” is a knockout film about the power of love and the importance of self-respect. Ando won the Best Actress award for her role as Ichiko at Japan’s 57th Blue Ribbon Awards.