NYAFF 2011: Critic's Notebook
by Steve Dollar
No moviegoing experience in America can top the New York Asian Film Festival. Behind its rather placid and matter-of-fact name, it is a multiple-personality-disordered cyborg ninja assassin that shoots lightning bolts out of its rotating nipples as it kickboxes to pixel dust the suffocating walls of cinematic conformity. Then it has sex with everybody. Okay, not exactly. Although last year, when the decade-old fest made its debut at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's august Walter Reade Theater, the Japanese action babe (and former pornographic video star) Asami revealed in an audience Q&A that she had enjoyed 1,000 sex partners, but that none of them were animals. She, like everyone else onstage, including the festival organizers, was wearing a fundoshi—the diaper-like garment favored by sumo wrestlers. It was as if a half-century of high-minded genuflection at the celluloid pantheon just got thrown out of a 77th floor window. Have you ever seen Martin Scorsese parade around half-naked through the aisles in a punch-drunk conga line? I think not.