Monday, July 8, 2013

The return of Mondocurry and Double Xposure at the New York Asian Film Festival

Proof that there is something outside of the Walter Reade

The big news from the festival tonight is the return of Mondocurry to New York. The festival hasn't been the same since he flew off for parts unknown and missing the opening of the New York Asian Film Festival. Normally he misses the last couple of nights and Japan Cuts, but this year he mixed it up and missed the start and is going full bore to the end of NYAFF and right on into Japan Cuts.

Actually he drove head long into the festival when after flying all night he went straight to the festival and started seeing films like a drowning man gasping for air. Not only did he dive into FOREVER LOVE, he stayed straight on for DOUBLE XPOSURE and Miike's LESSON OF EVIL. (I was supposed to see Lesson tonight but I miscalculated trains getting home so I skipped it.)

My sole film today was Li Yu's DOUBLE EXPOSURE.

I really don't know what to say about the film other than it will hold you interest. Samuel called the film schizophrenic and it is. The film starts out one way, changes course into something else and flips again at the end into something else as well.

It starts out as a nominal thriller, kind of sort of, maybe, and then becomes...yea like I'm going to tell you. I mean I could tell you but you wouldn't believe me (no it doesn't involve alien abduction). If I told you it wouldn't kill the film as such but saying more than it starts out when a woman finds her boyfriend cheating on her and kills his mistress, would require unknotting too much (trust me there is too much going on to explain simply- or rather I can't do it simply without being completely dismissive).

The film stars Fan Bingbing. She is a knock out and she ain't a bad actress either. For the most part she is amazing in a role that requires her to do more than just be one note. She's got a full orchestral score and she manages to play all the parts pretty well.

Say what you will about the WTF script, the film is a always a treat for the eyes from start to finish. Also a treat is the magnificent score that carries chunks of the film and is the sort of thing I'm going to search out when I finish writing this up. I should also mention the wicked sound design that moves the sounds all around you. I was impressed with how the sound wasn't your typical left right and center with some stuff in the back. Here the sound actually shifts around so that dialog recedes or is off to the right or left while trivial sounds come up front. Its was good enough that I was happy to hear the film in a theater since I will never see it that way again.

And what of the film as a complete entity?

I have no idea. The bits that surround the spine of the plot are super, but that plot, which is at best described as loopy, is a mess. I have no idea if anyone heard me but I kept muttering WTF over and over during it. I also was stifling laughter at a couple of truly bizarre moments. The film is certainly an experience and the film is compulsively watchable, but for me I have no idea what to make of the film. It's a film you will watch to the end, but beyond that who the hell knows.


Actually to be honest I want to tell you to see the film even though I'm radically mixed on it for two reasons- First no matter what you think of the film you will in the end know you've seen something. Secondly you should see the film because rarely has any train wreck ever looked or sounded this good.

After the film I headed home. Mondo went off to get some food for the next film and I hopped a subway.

At this point I have five more NYAFF films left to see, while Mondo has, semi- kidding aside- everything that's playing every day to the end of Japan Cuts. This means that you should keep coming back because we've still got a ton of stuff to report.

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