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100 Asian Films from 2020 (Part 5)

Last part of my list of favorite films of 2020.

About:
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:
PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
PART 4

The Cleaner by Chen Ta-pu – Taiwan | 2020 – 85 minutes

“Honest takes time, Kindness takes courage……” The Cleaner is responsible for cleaning someone’s house after they died. His job is not only cleaning the home but also helping to clean the relationship between the deceased and their family. At the end of life, we seem to realize that everything is all about forgiveness and love. (Kaohsiung Film Festival 2020)

The Cloud in Her Room by Zheng Lu Xinyuan – China | 2020 – 101 minutes

This is a girl’s visual diary. She writes about the beloved strangers that fulfilled so-called meanings of life. They walk in without a knock and they leave without a bye. Meanwhile, the new year approaches, as if nothing has happened.

Trailer:

The House of Us by Yoon Ga-eun – South Korea | 2019

It’s the summer holidays in the city and young Hana is trying to get her warring parents to reunite. But she’s distracted from her quest one day by a couple of younger girls, nine-year-old Yoomi and seven-year-old Yoojin. As she swiftly becomes an older-sister figure to the pair, the trio’s recess becomes one of imagination and adventure – from playing tricks on the landlady to going on a seaside reconnaissance – that leads to the bittersweet glimmerings of maturity. (IMDb)

Trailer:

The Man Standing Next by Woo Min-ho – South Korea | 2019 – 113 minutes

On October 26, 1979, Kim Gyu-pyeong (Lee Byung-hun), the head of KCIA, assassinated President Park (Lee Sung-min). The Man Standing Next reconstructs what happened 40 days before the assassination. Based on the non-fiction bestseller of the same name, The Man Standing Next is a psychological drama that delicately captures the portraits of people at the heart of power in modern Korean history. Director Woo Min-ho, who dissected the dark side of desire and power through Inside Men (2015) and Drug King (2017), adds various bold styles such as noir and thriller. It depicts the scrappy struggles among males who dissect human desires via modern Korean history. The heavy subject matters and the suspense blooming from trusted actors are the climaxes. (Song Kyung-won) (Busan International Film Festival 2020)

Trailer:

The Murders of Oiso by Misawa Takuya – Japan, Hong Kong | 2019 – 79 minutes

Four young men, Shun, Tomoki, Kazuya, and Eita, have been friend since their childhood and now work together for the construction company run by Kazuya’s family. Their lives are mostly carefree in the quiet town of Oiso until Kazuya’s uncle, their former teacher, is found dead. Hitherto unseen cracks emerge between the boys and their intimate relationship is threatened as secrets are revealed, not least the uncle has a beautiful young widow nobody knows about and the construction company is subject to a certain criminality. This is just one example of trust betrayed as everyday corruption and crime is brought out into the light in this sleepy town in a film that is a slice-of-life drama with noirish shading. (Jason Maher) (Osaka Asian Film Festival & Awards 2020)

Trailer:

The Old Town Girls by Shen Yu – China | 2020 – 104 minutes

High school girl living with her father and stepmother is visited by her biological mother, who left her soon after birth. They gradually reconcile, but the mother has a heavy debt. Emerging director’s debut feature. (TIFF 2020)

Trailer:

The Quiet Noise by Kang Ye-eun – South Korea | 2020 – 63 minutes

The child is upset about ____________.

Trailer:

The Salt in Our Waters by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit – Bangladesh, France | 2020 – 106 minutes

Rudro, a well-meaning artist from the city, ventures into a remote coastal village to work on his figurative sculptures. However, he finds his secular values challenged by the village’s religious dictates and social mores, which leads to conflict. Meanwhile, Tuni, the daughter of Rudro’s landlord, falls for him, but their romance is frowned upon. A seafaring people, the villagers’ survival hinges on their seasonal catches, which are in turn subject to the capriciousness of nature. Can one’s god temper an increasingly volatile climate?

Amidst exquisite cinematography framed by open waters, turbulence in the film gradually intensifies as the characters find their respective shores to cling onto. (SGIFF 2020)

Excerpt:

The Shepherdess and the Seven Songs by Pushpendra Singh – India | 2020 – 99 minutes

Laila is a beautiful young woman. Following the patriarchal conventions, she moves to Kashmir to marry a man named Tanvir. Due to political conflicts, every movement in Kashmir is closely monitored by the police and military. In the middle of such situation, her appearance attracts the attention of the entire village, to the extent to which there is a power figure who is strongly determined to conquer her. This film is inspired by the poetry of 14th century Kashmiri mystic Lalleshwari and tells us a story of a brilliant, brave, and a modern young woman overcomes challenges to herself and her family. She does not only know who she is, but also desire to take her fate into her own hands. Beautiful and subliminal Himalayan landscape and seven folk songs about marriage, relocation, temptation, and others also contribute to the beauty of film. [Moon Seok] (Busan International Film Festival)

Trailer:

The Silent Forest by Ko Chen-nien – Taiwan | 2020 – 104 minutes

Deaf teenager Chang Cheng transfers to a school for children with special needs. However, the world of the hearing-impaired doesn’t seem quiet at all. When Chang witnesses the “game” taking place on the school bus, his excitement about blending into a new environment turns into fear. Chang debates with himself on whether he should reveal the cruel truth about the game or join in. (TGHFF 2020)

Trailer:

The Tree House by Truong Minh Quý – Vietnam, Singapore | 2019 – 84 minutes

2045, a filmmaker lands on Mars. Trying to make a film about his new life, he records the sound of his surroundings. What he hears reminds him of the sound of wind that passes through the roofs of homes back on earth, far away, At the same time his memory vividly comes back to life, of when he met a man living in a house on a tree in the forest and a woman, born and raised in a cave. The filmmaker tries to clarify what a “house” or “home” is.

Trailer:

The Woman Who Ran by Hong Sang-soo – Korea | 2020 – 77 minutes

A young married woman is separated from her husband for the first time in their five years of marriage as he is currently on a business trip. She goes out to meet old friends and catches up on their health, work and love lives – seemingly shallow conversations that uncover deeper truths below the surface.

For his subtle character study of upper class Seoulites, renowned director HONG Sang-soo won the Silver Bear for Best Director at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. With sometimes surprisingly funny situations HONG perfectly balances his slow observational style with scenes of narrative momentum.

Trailer:

True Mothers by Kawase Naomi – Japan | 2020 – 140 minutes

When a long painful fertility treatment failed, Satoko and her husband Kiyokazu chose to adopt. Six years after adopting a boy who they named Asato, Satoko is living a peaceful life with her family. But one day, a woman called Hikari phones Satoko, asking Satoko to give her son back to her. Hikari is Asato’s birth mother who Satoko met six years ago. She was 14 years old back then, but when Hikari visits Satoko, Satoko instinctively feels that she is not Hikari. Who is she then? When Hikari’s shocking past is revealed, what will Satoko do? (TGHFF 2020)

Trailer:

Victim(s) by Layla Zhuqing Ji – Malaysia | 2020 – 107 minutes

When both the victim’s mother and the murderer’s mother find out about the unknown sides of their sons, they have some tough decisions to make in this “We Media Era.” What we see may be the facts, but not necessarily the truth. (IMDb)

Trailer:

Voices in the Wind by Suwa Nobuhiro – Japan | 2020 – 139 minutes

Haru is the only one of her family to survive the tsunami in 2011. After the tragedy she moved to Hiroshima to live with her aunt, but when the aunt is suddenly hospitalised, Haru decides to hitchhike back to her hometown Otsuchi. During her travels, she is told by several people about a so-called “wind telephone” in the village which can be used to call your deceased relatives. A beautiful drama about dealing with trauma. Despite the heavy topic, Voices in the Wind is full of tender moments. (Camera Japan Festival 2020)

Trailer:

Way Back Home by Park Sunjoo – Korea | 2019 – 114 minutes

One day, Jeongwon receives a call from the police. They say the man who raped her 10 years ago has been arrested. However, Jeongwon can’t tell her husband Sang-woo about the incident. As Jeongwon’s past is revealed little by little, their married life quickly loses balance. (Mubi)

Trailer:

Wisdom Tooth by Liang Ming – China | 2019 – 104 minutes

Gu Xi and her brother Gu Liang live just outside of a city in a makeshift cottage. It may lack modern amenities but it is full of love as the two support and care for each other without question. They scrape by with money earned from odd jobs, but Gu Xi may be about to lose her work as a maid at a hotel because of her undocumented citizenship status. Things change when Gu Liang gets a girlfriend, the beautiful and cosmopolitan Qingchang who comes from a rich family. Money and goods like cassette players and clothes come their way but so too does the complicated world of adulthood as the siblings are drawn into a murder mystery involving a dead body found floating at sea. As winter sets in and temperatures plunge, the relationship between Gu Xi, her brother Gu Liang, and his girlfriend becomes increasingly unclear and a mysterious tape with evidence repeatedly brings Gu Xi to the cusp of a momentous decision that may cause her to lose everything. A slow-burn drama that luxuriates in shots of the beautiful landscape and the performances of the actors, the film is mesmerising to watch. (Jason Maher)

Trailer:

You and I by Fanny Chotimah – Indonesia | 2020 – 72 minutes

Kaminah(70) and Kusdalini(74) have living together for more than 50 years since their first encounter in prison, they were political detainee. Both of them taking care of each other. But, since Kusdalini has stroke and been hospitalized, Kusdalini becomes very dependent on Kaminah. They are no longer doing things together, and Kaminah has to prepared herself for the loss of her life time partner.

Trailer:

Your Name Engraved Herein by Liu Kuang-hui – Taiwan | 2020 – 114 minutes

In 1987, Taiwan is liberated from martial law. Two students, Jia-han and Birdy, meet each other in a woodwind instrument club at a Catholic high school. They share many secrets and develop a relationship beyond friendship. This is a story about the first love of two boys in a conservative era; a burgeoning romance that could only be concealed, never to be shared or accepted. (TGHFF 2020)

Trailer:

Zokki by Takenaka Naoto, Yamada Takayuki, Saitoh Takumi – Japan | 2020 – 113 minutes

A woman has many secrets and keeps them like treasures. With no destination, a man heads south on a bike. A boy, who has no sisters, is in trouble when his friend told him that he likes his sister. A young man recalls a strange experience he had with his father who disappeared. A young boy discovers an incident that happened in a country across the sea. Zokki is a collection of random stories. (TGHFF 2020)

Other parts of this list:
PART 1
PART 2
PART 3
PART 4

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