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N.Y. Screen

Navigating the Asian Film Festival.

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What to see at the New York Asian Film Festival? There’s action-man Johnnie To’s pickpocket caper, Sparrow, which is more ballet than blockbuster, despite his reputation; Satoshi Miki’s weirdly moving Adrift in Tokyo, in which a law student on the lam teams up with his loan shark for an ambling, talky tour of the town; Feng Xiaogang’s Assembly, a jittery, blood-soaked drama set during China’s 1948 civil war; and Li Ying’s Yasukuni, a controversial documentary (about Tokyo’s shrine to the war dead, including war criminals) so impressive that it’s the first film ever to make the fest break its no-documentaries rule. But if you can only bear to absent yourself from the sunshine for the duration of one film, make it Takashi Yamazaki’s Always: Sunset on Third Street 2. This sequel to the retro 2005 sleeper hit is another sweet-natured, cozy nostalgia trip that plays like a love letter to Tokyo—think It’s a Wonderful Life only with chopsticks and Godzilla references.


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