46th Göteborg Film Festival – Asian Presence 2023

We present the Asian films that will be screened at the Göteborg Film Festival (Sweden) which will take place from January 27 until February 5, 2023.

Archaeology of Love by Wanmin Lee – Korea, France | 2022 – 168 minutes

When Young-sil is 32, she falls in love with Inseek. This takes eight hours, then they are a couple, with a promise of everlasting love, no matter what. But Inseek soon turns out to be more than spontaneously charming and eager to love. He becomes increasingly dominant and jealously controls not only who Young-sil meets, but also what she says, thinks, and does – and she goes along with it. Over eight years we follow Young-sil’s way out of the destructive relationship and how she discovers that excavations may be needed even inside a person, in order to understand and to be able to move on. Ok Jayeon is on-screen for the larger part of the film’s 168 minutes and plays Young-sil in a way that is strongly moving, as if she were a close friend. The question is: Will she be able to love again?


Blue Island by Chan Tze-woon – Hong Kong | 2022 – 95 minutes

During the Cultural Revolution, many fled to British-controlled Hong Kong. Likewise, it was to the same place that people took refuge after the events at Tiananmen Square in 1989. In his award-winning and daring film, director Chan Tze-woon mixes documentary images with interviews and stagings as he lets students from today portray refugees during the Cultural Revolution and weaves together the past with the present in a place where the protests never quieted down, where you always wanted to be yourself and never controlled by another power.


December by Anshul Chauhan – Japan | 2022 – 99 minutes

Several years after a high school student was murdered, the killer pleads to have his sentence shortened. The victim’s parents, who are now divorced, have dealt with the incident in different ways. The father finds it difficult to let go of what happened and escapes his anger with the help of alcohol, while the mother has chosen to start over. Both parents enter the court with widely different ideas about how they should act.


Glorious Ashes by Bui Thac Chuyen – France, Singapore, Vietnam | 2022 – 117 minutes

Everyone’s lives are intertwined in the idyllic fishing village Thom Rom where the story (an adaption of the author Nguyen Ngoc Tu’s works) unfolds. The cheerful Duong’s life is made miserable by her husband’s bitterness over the love of his life, Nhan, having married another man. Against all odds and the prevailing patriarchal order a warm friendship slowly develops between Duong and Nhan while both their homes are falling apart. In another part of the village, surrounded by sometimes calming and sometimes threatening water, Loan is doing her best to exact revenge for a crime but is caught off guard by an unusual and not un unproblematic turn of events.


Myanmar Diaries by The Myanmar Film Collective
Netherlands, Myanmar, Norway | 2022 – 70 minutes

There were many who believed in positive development in Myanmar, but in February 2021 these dreams were crushed as the military took absolute power. What followed were demonstrations and civil disobedience, which were often severely punished. In scenes filmed with mobile cameras, we get to see the military’s brutal response to the protest actions against their power grab and get close to those exposed to violence and shelling. With the help of reconstructions of real events, we also get a different, deeper picture of what is happening in the country. Ten anonymous young filmmakers have together created a unique cinematic work under very difficult circumstances.


Shivamma by Jaishankar Aryar – India | 2022 – 104 minutes

With a bedridden husband and a daughter to marry-off, Shivamma decides that ‘Nuracle’, a bogus food supplement, is going to help her overcome her financial problems. Her initial attempts to flog it to neighbours and prospective suitors for her daughter’s hand, come to naught. But despite various setbacks, the indomitable matriarch soldiers on trying to sell to the neighbouring villages and beyond, this cure for everything from baldness to erectile dysfunction.

Small, Slow but Steady by Shô Miyake – Japan, France | 2022 – 99 minutes

Keiko was born almost deaf and communicates in writing or with sign language. She spends her days at a boxing gym. She enjoys life as a new professional and the members of the gym have become like family. But after her first two matches, she begins to feel insecure. At the same time it turns out that her beloved gym is in danger of being forced to close due to the pandemic. But Keiko is not one to give up, regardless whether the opponents are in the ring or outside. The only thing that can stop her is herself..


Stone Turtle by Ming Jin Woo – Malaysia, Indonesia | 2022 – 91 minutes

Zahara is a stateless refugee from the Aceh province of Indonesia and now lives with her niece on a largely unpopulated small island in Malaysia. There, she earns a living by selling eggs from rare turtles. Despite difficulties with the authorities, they have found a sanctuary on the small island – in connection with other women. But one day a man who claims to be a scientist appears, interested in a rare turtle, but his intentions will turn out to be different from those he states.


Stonewalling by Huang Ji, Ryuji Otsuka – Japan | 2022 – 148 minutes

Through the experiences of a twenty-year-old woman, directors couple Huang Ji and Ryuji Otsuka (The Foolish Bird, GFF 2018) reflect collective norms and values in Chinese society. Not least regarding the view of pregnancy and motherhood after decades of the one-child policy. Student Lynn seeks a path to adulthood and jumps from one odd job to another. She becomes pregnant but hides it from her boyfriend and returns to the parental home. She wants neither to have children nor to have an abortion, and begins to think about an alternative that could avert a financial threat hanging over the parents.


When the Waves are Gone by Lav Diaz – Philippines, France, Portugal, Denmark | 2022 – 187 minutes

Lav Diaz is not just known for his peerless, poetic images and his political settlements with the history of the Philippines, but also for his lengthy films. At 229 minutes, The Woman Who Left (GFF 2016) was the longest film to win the Golden Lion at Venice and the breakthrough work Evolution of a Filipino Family (GFF 2005) was ten whole hours long. However, When the Waves Are Gone clocks in at a neat 187 minutes, and tells about a policeman who develops skin problems due to the anxiety caused by witnessing the horrible brutality of his colleagues in the fight against the dealers. While his psoriasis heals, the shadows of the past begin chasing him in what becomes a twisting cop thriller with a sense of Michael Mann and Greek tragedy.


For more information about the festival, please visit:

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