NEW YORK, June 26 – I missed the opening of the 2010 New York Asian Film Festival (NYAFF), so my first impression of this year’s festival started with the screening of Eastern Condors (東方禿鷹).
Eastern Condors is a particularly special film to my generation of Hong Kong film fanatics. I was first exposed to the film in the early 90s. I was probably a ‘tween at the time. I remembered watching the film on a poor grainy VHS tape with bad tracking. So the prospects of seeing it on the big screen were very exciting to me.
After the film, Sammo Hung (洪金寶) participated in a short Q&A with the folk at the NYAFF. They discussed a variety of topics concerning the making of the film. Hung appeared visibly tired, but he heroically powered through the appearance. The kung-fu legend even acted out some of the behind the scenes stories. He seemed both warm and gracious to his fans.
A real treat for the audience was the surprise appearance of Joyce Godenzi (高麗虹), who is Hung’s wife. She was the lead actress in Eastern Condors and several other kung-fu flicks. Godenzi initially gained public attention as a former Miss Hong Kong and fashion model. She parlayed her successful modeling career into a decade long Hong Kong film career. She starred in some memorable martial arts films such as She Shoots Straight and License to Steal. Despite her age, Godenzi is still stunningly beautiful (minus the short 80s hairdo). I was hoping that she would participate in the Q&A, but sadly she didn’t.
After the Sammo Hung Q&A, I stuck around the theater until the screening of Kung-fu Chefs. It’s another Sammo Hung film of a more recent vintage. While waiting for the screening to start, I unexpectedly ran into a bunch of friends from other blogs, podcasts, and local anime clubs. They were pretty chill.