From South Korea, a patient film straddling the line between drama and black comedy centered around a young woman who has ditched her current living quarters in order to get by. Miso is a great character; her justifications for giving up what common sense would dictate to be basic necessities is amusing and endearing. She is both strong-willed and woefully vulnerable.
The film follows her as she seeks temporary room and board from former bandmates whom she once made music with in her younger years. She visits each one in turn, with varying results, but each time the interaction reveals some societal problem or highlights a kind of ‘Us VS Them’ difference in values. Often these are associated with aging, raising conflict within Miso, who has no desire to change. Even as the film slyly digs beneath the surface at some darker themes, it is funny throughout, even hilarious at times. With a poignant conclusion, MICROHABITAT evokes a range of emotions and is a great candidate to win this year’s Tiger Uncaged competition.
MICROHABITAT is being shown on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:30 pm as part of the 2018 New York Asian Film Festival, and will be screened with an appearance and Q & A by with director Teon Go-woon and actor Ahn Jae-hong. Visit the NYAFF homepage for tickets and information.
On June 29th, The New York Asian Film Festival will return, reliably, to the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center to thrill, dazzle, and vex adventurous movie-goers. Its unique cinematic offerings, are culled mostly from the realm this and the previous year’s theater releases of Asian countries being represented, along with a handful of premieres. One can look forward to 2 – 3 screenings each evening (more on the weekends) until things slide downtown to the SVA theater from the 13th – 15thfor a stacked conclusion.
Some things will be familiar to long-time attendees. An award for astounding action cinematography in the name of founding festival organizer Daniel Craft will once again be given, this time to Hong Kong cinema stalwart Dante Lam. As well as a lifetime achievement award to a veteran figure of Asian cinema, here being Japan’s Harada Masato, and a Rising Star award recognizing vibrant new talent.
Some recently launched innovations, such as a gallery exhibition, this year’s theme being “Safe Imagination is Boring” and a jury competition for best film, reserved for new directorial voices and now called the Tiger Uncaged Award, continue to take root. Ever changing, the festival will unveil some new features, such an HBO sponsored Free Talks series. Taking place at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center’s Amphitheater, across the street from the Walter Reade, offering a chance for audiences to engage in lengthier dialogues with directors and performers in the movies being shown.
As for the films themselves, they again represent a significant range of countries both with film industries recognized globally, such as China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, and those with less (or somewhat less) worldwide exposure: Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand. The Philippines has taken on a steadily stronger presence, and this year really has a foothold in the proceedings with the number and quality of films being shown, as well as guests on hand. Deeming this year it’s “Savage Seventeenth” and touting an unofficial slogan of “not (being) your average fucking festival, ” the mostly young crew is staying steadfast in bringing a challenging selection of films, downright confrontational at times, and often with something significant to say.
There is no way I could dream of taking it all in. So here I present a sampling of films I’ve been able to preview that made an impression. Numerous other films round out the fest, so be sure to visit the NYAFF homepage as you make your plan of attack.