From the humblest of origins, the boys at Subway Cinema have become known to native cinephiles as the purveyors of the city's favorite underdog film festival. Now entering its ninth year, the New York Asian Film Festival is being hosted partially at the Film Society at Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater. The move is a big step up in the festival's profile and possibly the highest rung Subway Cinema could climb in terms of upscale venues (in this city, at least). The L Magazine sat down with Daniel Craft and Grady Hendrix to talk about some of their favorite movies at this year's festival, from each of the different countries represented.
Daniel Craft: 8000 Miles is something I didn't think I'd like after reading the synopsis. Ten minutes into it, I said, "I have no desire to show this." Twenty minutes in: "This is great." It's affecting, it's genuinely funny, it feels real. That'll be a fun one to watch, especially with a crowd. It moved from feeling amateurish to feeling true.
Grady Hendrix: For me, it's Symbol. Some people in Subway really hate it, really did not want us to show it at all. It's sort of the 2001: A Space Odyssey of J-Quirk, that kind of cinema that's like The Taste of Tea or Funky Forest: The First Contact or Survive Style 5+. It just starts out with parallel plotlines that you have no idea how they're going to come together. One of them is the dude, Hitoshi Matsumoto, trapped in a room with no windows or doors; the other plotline is a kitchen-sink realist story about a masked Mexican wrestler going to fight in the ring and he's too old. You have no idea how they're going to come together.
Parts of the beginning are a little boring, like in 2001, and you have no idea where it's going and then there's the big psychedelic thing at the end. It's 5,000 children's penises, masked Mexican wrestlers and a cameo from President Obama. It's pretty mind-blowing. And it's 90 minutes. Too many movies are too long these days. 90 minutes. It's the meaning of life in 90 minutes. If they can do the meaning of life in 90 minutes, they should've let him do The Karate Kid in 90 minutes.