Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Is Eric Kot one of the funniest people on Earth? A report on the screening of Great War (2013) at the New York Asian Film Festival

Eric Kot of Softhard gets to know one member of the audience
I went to the world premiere of the film GREAT WAR about the concerts in Hong Kong that were billed as a battle between the trio Grasshopper and the duo Softhard in November of last year. It was a great night out for a reason other than the movie

I met Chocko on line. He was subbing for MrC who is out on a secret mission and couldn't be extracted lest the balance of world power be upset. We  talked about the festival and he filled me in a little about the two groups

Inside the theater the crowd was waiting expectantly for the the film and the evenings guests- the films director and members from the two groups highlighted in the film.

After the usual introductions and give-aways by Grady Hendrix, he brought out all of the special guests to say something before the film. I would like to say I remember what was said  but I don't I was simply laughing much too hard.  When the madness ended I turned to Chocko who was recording the intro and asked "did you get that?" he said "yes."

Thank you God for small favors.

After that the film ran... but I'll come back to the film later.

After the film everyone came out again and was interviewed by Grady. Actually Grady asked one question and then Eric Kot from Softhard took over the stage and began to answer every question. He also seized control of the evening and bent things his own way. He had things moving in such a silly way that I was light headed from laughing so hard...and he did it with very little English. Kot was speaking mostly Chinese and destroying the audience, most of whom seemed to speak the language. He was then getting a second round of laughs as his words were translated. The funny thing is I don't speak Chinese and his words and antics had me near blacking out from laughter both in Chinese and in English too.

Are words necessary for understanding? Not when Eric Kot is holding court. I laughed when he was speaking Chinese. I laughed when it was translated and I laughed when he spoke English.

I would be hard pressed to say that this wasn't the best Q&A I've ever attended at a NYAFF and on the top three of all time. This was one of the best nights...

... and Chocko taped it all so assuming the laughter doesn't drown out the answers I'll link to it when he posts it because it has to be seen to be believed....and because it's the only way you'll know what happened, I don't remember much other than just roaring. I'll also post more pictures from tonight.


So how was the movie itself?

Okay there are two answers to that-

First, if you know the groups and you are fans then odds are you will love the film. I know the women around Chocko and me were eating the film up.

I am not in that group. I never heard of either band before the film and knew nothing about them, so the second answer,is for people like me. In that case the film is a disappointment since the film starts assuming you know Hong Kong and the groups. There is little attempt to explain anyone or anything - for example everyone talks about the concert, we see posters that reference 10 concerts but we were told at the Q&A there were 12 concerts and there are bits having to do with Hong Kong politics.

There is very little effort to show any of the full musical numbers. We get bits and pieces of the songs but mostly we are back stage, under the stage, in rehearsals or in offices during interviews.

To me the film is just okay and is watchable thanks to the personalities of the men in the groups, the interviews with the fans (which are great) and the concert sequences when we get more than ten seconds of the spectacle. Had the film actually shown more than two whole numbers and had made an effort to intercut the men, the music and the fans, this could have and would have been one of the great music documentaries. As it is it's for fans only.

That said, I've been told there are videos of the full concert out there and I'm going to try and track them down to see what this film was talking about.

Disappointment in the film aside I had a blast at the screening tonight and I want to thank Subway Cinema for one of the funniest nights of the year.

Eric Kot-Standup

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