Forget about Kung Fu Panda. Wash the memory of Forbidden Kingdom out of your brain. Ignore the trailer for The Mummy: We Love China, Yes We Do! (or whatever it's called). The real deal is on view this weekend as the New York Asian Film Festival opens for business.

The 7th edition of the festival kicks off tomorrow afternoon at the IFC Center in Manhattan with the North American premiere of Masato Harada's The Shadow Spirit. The first evening presentation features the world premiere of Ryo Iwamatsu's Then Summer Came, with the director in attendance.

This year the festival will show 43 movies, plus two short film programs, their most ambitious outing yet. Organized and presented by Subway Cinema, a "New York-based film programming, exhibition and marketing collective," as they describe themselves, the selections lean toward the pop side of Asian film culture, which happens to be my favorite kind; in fact, I've already written about The Butcher and Public Enemy Returns.

If you're a New Yorker, this should be etched on your viewing calendar, but even if you're an outsider looking in, like me, the program notes are very much worth reading. To give you a further taste, check out our gallery, and then visit the NYAFF site to read and see more about one of the very best festivals in the world.

categories Cinematical