I continue with my favorite 100 Asian films from 2020. Enjoy!
This year the “100 Asian Films” list will be divided into 5 articles. Please bear in mind that these are the films I discovered in 2020 so there could be productions from 2019. You can find the whole list in the “100 Asian Films” section on the main menu (HERE). I hope you like my selection. Please feel free to share these articles with your cinephiles friends and leave a comment below. Thanks – Sebastián Nadilo
Other parts of this list:
In a suburban area of a city lives Sakura Ueno and her mother. Sakura has recently quit her job and decided to work temporarily in a nursery school at a friend’s request. There she meets a whole lot of cute kids including Ai who she gets to know. Ai’s father, Shindo, often comes to pick her up late after school. Seeing this father pick up his daughter reminds Sakura of her relationship with her own father who has largely been absent from her life and Sakura begins to feel close to Shindo, going so far as to cook dinner for him and his daughter. This triggers a memory of her father, following this, changes happen… (Jason Maher)
Son of a prominent family in Vietnam, Van returns from America for the first time in nine years with his partner, Ian. Coming back to a community with expectations of patriarchy and legacy, Van tries to find the right moment to tell his mother, Mrs. Hanh, about his love for Ian. With the heir unable to bear children, the family fights over their inheritance, surmounting to a violent reveal of truths. Everybody has a secret. An intricately assembled ensemble, Goodbye Mother is a queer story and more. (Reel Asian 2020)
61-year-old Obok runs a seafood store in a fish market. One day she has her first meeting with her daughter Inae’s future parents-in-law. That night, she is raped by Gitaek. At first, Obok pretends that nothing has happened and tries to go about her life as usual. A while later, she tells Inae about the rape. The police calls in Gitaek to investigate, and the story of the incident begins to spread around the market. (TGHFF 2020)
Jean returns to Thailand after studying interior design in Sweden. Being a minimalist, she plans to disposes of needless stuff and turn her house into a studio. Despite the emotional conflict with her family and friends, Jean tries to throw away everything, but suddenly she changes her mind and brings back the stuff she dumped. The movie unfolds under the ‘KonMari Method’, which says to throw away things that do not make us flutter, but eventually it reminds us of relationships with people and objects. Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, a regular at BIFF who has previously won the New Currents Award for 36, directed the film. Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying who played a genius girl in Bad Genius provides an impressive performance as Jean. (Boo Kyunghwan)
In a fishing village lives a creature with the body of a pig, the nose of an elephant, the ears of a horse and feet like a rhinoceros; it sneaks into the village and devours the nightmares! Ah Keat looks forward to the day when he can see the creature for himself. One day, when Ah Keat’s father passes away in an accident at sea, he sets off in search of the creature, hoping that it can help him find his father… (TGHFF 2020)
The world is divided into Building Cities and Hachon due to the gap between the rich and the poor. Yuji, 16-year-old, who lives in a Building City, does not understand parents who insist on building houses even though their houses are leaning. Yuji, who has had the same daily routine as usual, faces a tornado that will wipe out the Building City and the Hachon. (SIFF 2020)
Po-ching is an OCD patient and his quirkiness makes people regard him as a weirdo. One day, he meets another weirdo Chen Ching. It’s fate that brings them together. Their relationship is spotless and perfect. But everything becomes different when Po-ching suddenly stops having OCD. In the world of love, we are each other’s weirdos. When love is gone, I’m no longer attracted to your quirkiness. (TGHFF 2020)
If We Burn by James Leong, Lynn Lee – Hong Kong | 2020 – 90 minutes
Presented as a work-in-progress, this version of If We Burn follows pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong as they storm the Legislative Council building on July 1, 2019.
In a filmic career spanning some four decades, Hong Kong director Ann Hui has made critical darlings and box office hits, as well as widely panned flops. But behind the accolades and pummelling from critics, Hui is as human as anyone, battling anxieties about life and career—though always maintaining her characteristic good humour and humility.
Keep Rolling offers an up-close and personal look at the trials and tribulations of an artist who has devoted her entire life to her craft. Rather than gloss over the foibles and insecurities of the documentary subject, Keep Rolling shines a light on them, revealing the complexities and contradictions of a modern-day maestro. (SGIF 2020)
Kim Ji-young is your ordinary South Korean woman who goes about her life in an autonomous way. She cooks, takes out the trash, vacuums and takes care of her young daughter while her husband Dae-hyun goes to work to provide for the family. What we don’t know about the 34 year-old woman is that her goals are universal and far from unreasonable, she wants nothing more than to raise a family and pursue a career at the same time, and to do so in peace, free from societal judgement. The film details the period of less than a year in her life lending itself to explore her past portraying a lifetime of casual sexism that has crippled her dreams for as long as she can remember. (KFFA 2020)
Sora retraces the diary written by her grandfather during the Second World War and has begun a search for a mysterious treasure. Around that time, a homeless man who wordlessly walks backwards shows up in the town where she lives. One night, her drunk father hits that man with the car he is driving. Sora allows the man to stay the night in their home, but the next morning she learns her father sent the man away, so she rushes out of the house.
Lost Course chronicles a grassroots democratic movement in the southern Chinese village of Wukan. The villagers protest against the corrupt local officials before ousting them and organising elections of their own. However, after taking control of their destiny, the villagers find themselves beset by the same corruption and cynicism endemic. Following three main characters, Li reveals the complexities of their struggles, triumphs and setbacks from the inside. (TGHFF 2020)
Song-ju is a boy who lives in a tenement and loves hip-hop. Hip-hop singer E SENS has always been his hero. With his like-minded friend Joo-yeon, who lives in a wealthy apartment, they form a hip-hop team called LIMECRIME. The two boys dream of being on stage of Millim, a sacred place for hip-hop, thus decide to go to the same high school to rap together. But environmental differences begin to separate their paths. (SIFF 2020)
What if the period was a heart-shaped being named “Little Miss P” and literally visited every woman? Aoko is self-confident, works as the editor of a fashion magazine, and is dating an attractive widower. His daughter, however, refuses to accept her friendship, and the monthly visit of her “Little Miss P” doesn’t exactly make Aoko’s busy days any easier. Why does life have to be so complicated? Little Miss Period is based on the award-winning manga of the same title by Ken Koyama, which has been running since 2017. His short stories about “Seirichan”, unbashful and entertaining, depict the life of young women in the company of their period, which appears as a necessary evil but also as an obtrusive friend.
After her parents’ sudden death, Naomi moves into a high-rise condo with her beloved cat and begins a love affair with Morinori, a television celebrity. While Naomi is seeking immediate affection, her cat dies. On the brink of nervous breakdown, Naomi embarks on a self-healing journey thanks to the love and support of her uncle, aunt and friends. This is a story about loss and new beginnings. (TGHFF 2020)
Hong Kong in the 1920s. Weilong′s family found asylum in Hong Kong due to rumors of war, leaves back for Shanghai. To continue studying in Hong Kong, Weilong visits her father’s estranged rich sister Liang. Liang lives a bourgeois life as a queen of Hong Kong’s society circles notoriously having affairs with lots of men, and she tries to take control of Weilong′s life. Weilong runs into a playboy George, one of Liang’s boyfriends, falling in emotional turbulence. The conflicts around them are getting out of control. Master filmmaker Ann Hui’s latest film delicately depicts the helplessness and sadness of the youth who cannot control their lives and loves in 1920s Hong Kong when the political unrest and sense of war were overwhelming. The director won the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Film Festival. (Park Sun Young)
What feels like an ordinary weekend outing, paying a visit to grandpa, a young couple gets into a heated argument exposing their resentments, past lies, an old lover, a missed birthday, a possible divorce and a death. But have they told each other everything? (DMZDocs 2020)
Mysterious poetic story of long-lasting discord between beautiful sisters unfolds in Malaysia and Japan. TIFF 2017 Best Director winner presents a Japan-Malaysia co-production, starring Masatoshi Nagase and Kiko Mizuhara. (TIFF 2020)
The film centres around three condemned prisoners who committed different crimes, with one still serving his sentence, one who has taken his own life in prison, and one already executed. Consisting of unembellished interviews and news footage, the film shows the director’s concern for the condemned prisoners and their families as human beings; moreover, it examines the contemporary history of capital punishment in Taiwan and questions the current judicial system. (TGHFF 2020)
Mekong 2030 is a film anthology comprising five short stories that envision the future of the Mekong River from different cultural perspectives. Set in the year 2030, it aims to inspire audiences to actively protect this critical life source. (TGHFF 2020)
To see the 1st part of this list, please go here: PART 1
To see the 2nd part of this list, please go here: PART 2
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