Kfc (Lê Bình Giang, 2017)
Film Society of Lincoln Center, Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th St. at Amsterdam Ave.
Thursday, July 6, 10:45
Festival runs June 30 - July 16
Every year the New York Asian Film Festival tends to have one absolutely crazy, out-there movie that challenges the boundaries of good taste. This year’s entry is Vietnamese writer-director Lê Bình Giang’s utterly bizarre debut, Kfc, a sixty-eight-minute journey into a dark world that makes some of Charles Bukowski’s most cutting-edge tales seem like Disney stories. Expanded from a 2012 short, the film is as vile and disgusting as it is well made and fascinating, consisting of a series of interrelated vignettes depicting extreme violence, rape, torture, murder, arson, cannibalism, necrophilia, and plenty of fried chicken and French fries. (I can’t imagine that Colonel Sanders would approve of the film, which includes several scenes set in what appears to be a real Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in Hanoi.) The gruesome special effects (except for the worms, which are real) are by Tony Nguyễn, who plays the dude in the headphones, and they are balanced by the musical theme, Khanh Ly’s version of Trinh Cong Son’s romantic ballad “Quỳnh Hương.” Although there is not a ton of dialogue, what talking there is just happens to be very poorly translated in the subtitles, upping the overall psychotic quotient. And I have to admit that I’m downright worried about the future sanity of a few of the children who have major roles in the film, the original script of which got Lê kicked out of the University of Ho Chi Minh. There’s a reason that the NYAFF page on the movie begins by declaring, “WATCH AT YOUR OWN RISK!” Kfc is screening July 6 at 10:45 (what, they couldn’t wait until midnight?) at the Walter Reade Theater. The festival, which runs through July 16 at Lincoln Center and the SVA Theatre, consists of more than fifty films from China, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Southeast Asia, including a surprise twenty-fifth anniversary screening of a 1992 classic.