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New York Asian Film Festival 2022: 5 Movies Worth Seeing on the Big Screen at This Year’s Fest

From a Mongolian sex comedy to a blistering Korean social drama and an ice-cold Tibetan whodunnit, NYAFF returns to the big screen in style.

“Shin Ultraman”

While Asian cinema has experienced significant crossover success in the last few years, global phenomena like “Parasite” and “Demon Slayer the Movie: Mugen Train” — in addition to arthouse favorites like “Burning,” “Shoplifters,” and “The Wild Goose Lake” — can’t help but call attention to the absolute bonanza of incredible movies that still haven’t been getting their due outside of China, Japan, or South Korea. And that goes double for countries such as Malaysia, Mongolia, and the Philippines, which are less frequently represented at Cannes, Venice, or any of the other major festivals that serve as the most vital pipeline between Eastern filmmakers and Western audiences.

A bevy of Asian-focused streaming platforms have cropped up to mitigate the problem as best they can (e.g. Crunchyroll, AsianCrush, Hi-YAH!, etc.), but well-curated opportunities to see the best new movies from Bhutan, for example — shoutout to “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom”! — are still few and far between, especially on the big screen. Enter: the New York Asian Film Foundation and Film at Lincoln Center’s annual New York Asian Film Festival, which has now been offering local audiences that very gift for 20 indelible years, and had the wherewithal to stream “Lunana” at the height of the pandemic, more than 18 months before its eventual Oscar nomination.

Perennially one of the most valuable and rewarding events on the New York film calendar, NYAFF is back and better than ever with its first theatrical-only edition since 2019. This year’s fest offers more than 60 new and classic features, many of which will be making their New York, American, or even world premieres. Much-hyped blockbusters like “Shin Ultraman” will screen alongside quirky meta-comedies (the wuxia meta-satire “Legendary in Action!”), queer social dramas (the Singapore-set #LookAtMe, which is set at the intersection of YouTube and surveillance cultures), gonzo supernatural horror freak-outs (Takashi Shimizu’s “Ox-Head Village”), euphoric music docs (the Josie Ho vehicle “Finding Bliss: Fire and Ice”), and a variety of special events that include filmmaker talks and a free outdoor screening of Wong Kar-wai’s “Happy Together.”

 

The whole festival is worth checking out, and our curtain-raiser is truly just the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to click here for detailed information on the entire program. That being said, here are five must-see movies at NYAFF 2022.

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