2012 marks the 11th annual NEW YORK ASIAN FILM FESTIVAL, and this was my second time in attendance...although this year I was there on opening night, where a screening of a new comedy from Hong Kong had the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center laughing out loud for it's entire 90 minute running time.
Director Pang Ho Cheung was in attendance to field questions (with the help of a translator) after the screening, and beforehand I met several gents who run the NYAFF as well as a host of excited fans. The Walter Reade Theatre features a HUGE screen and a large auditorium, which was sold out for VULGARIA's debut American screening (the film only played one other time in Hong Kong...and the director informed us the AMC theater chain has picked it up for limited distribution across the USA). There was also free Japanese beer handed out after the film (a NYAFF tradition) and plenty of SWAG was to be had.
poster one for VULGARIA
VULGARIA tells the story of Hong Kong movie producer To Wai Cheung (played in hysterical sincerity by Chapman To) who explains to a crowded film class the adventures he went through in order to have some of his films financed. One of the funniest sequences finds To Wai attempting to get funds from a gangster (known as Brother Tyrannosaur) over a most unusual dinner, ending with To Wai and his buddy Lui forced to make love with two mules (or do they? Stick around for the end credits to find out!). The dialogue is rapid and hysterical, as are the facial expressions of everyone at the dinner table.
There's a side-plot dealing with To Wai's ex-wife trying to get full custody of their young daughter, but despite the brief seriousness the film never loses its raunchy and hilarious tone. Most amazing is just HOW raunchy this film is without once showing nudity; there's a few heavily suggestive sex scenes involving the beautiful Dada Chen (as "Popping Candy") that are so over-the-top outrageous even Kevin Smith would be envious, and there's more profanity than GOODFELLAS, but otherwise the talk alone will make some gringe but others crack-up.
VULGARIA is a hysterical comment on the state of Hong Kong filmmaking, and is one of the funniest films I've seen in years. Hopefully American audiences will accept the subtitles and enjoy the ride.
Director Pang Hu Cheung (center) answers questions from an enthusiastic crowd
poster two for VULGARIA
If you thought the mule gag in CLERKS 2 was funny, wait till you see this!
The 11th annual NYAFF runs from June 29th-Jully 15th at the Japan Society and Walter Reade Theatre. If you're in the NYC area check out the schedule RIGHT HERE. Some other titles that sound interesting include DEAD BITE, DOOMSDAY BOOK (a scifi anthology) and ZOMBIE ASS: TOILET OF THE DEAD. You've been warned!