Head East

Dallas is lucky to have the Asian Film Festival. Your average moviegoer still thinks of Asian films exclusively in terms of kung-fu and samurai flicks. Don't worry--there will be plenty of the latest and best of those genres represented, but there is a entire movie industry chugging away in the East, and many would be surprised at some of the gems being produced. Take for example the opening-night feature, Ping Pong Playa. This quirky comedy is a hilarious portrait of a suburban Chinese kid, C-Dub, who walks and talks all hip-hop and dreams only of becoming an NBA superstar. Unfortunately, he ain't got the chops and has to settle for the family sport, Ping-Pong. It is a wry parody of the samurai film, as C-Dub eventually has to battle to defend his family's Ping-Pong dynasty. This type of film could only work coming from China itself. Just look at America's retarded attempt, Balls of Fury, and my point becomes crystal clear. This is just one example of the plethora of challenging, entertaining and unique films that populate the AFF this year. Broaden your horizons and make yourself an "Eastern promise" to check out the Asian Film Festival at The Magnolia Theatre in West Village through August 21. Visit affd.org for details.
Aug. 14-21, 2008
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John Freeman

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