10 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 11th Helsinki Cine Aasia

These are ten films you shouldn’t miss at the Helsinki Cine Aasia which will take place from March 16 – 19, 2023 in Helsinki, Finland.

Archaeology of Love by Lee Wanmin – Korea | 2022 – 162 minutes

Young-sil is a young archeologist, who runs into a gentle looking guy. They start a relationship, but getting it to work is harder than she thought. During eight years Young-sil goes through the dependency of a person she is not sure is the right one for her. – Eija Niskanen


December by Anshul Chauhan – Japan | 2022 – 99 minutes

Kana has served seven years in prison for killing her school classmate. When the case is reopened in court, everyone has to revisit their emotions and get challenged by new facts revealed. – Eija Niskanen


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

A traditional village on the Mekong Delta is the home for young Duong, who is in love with Hau. He, however, harbors feelings for Nhan. The film portrays the lives of these women and the community with delicate observation and compassion. In the flow of life pain may be waiting just below the surface, and lead to unexpected and dark consequences. The film is based on the novels of Nguyen Ngoc Tu. – Jenni Peisa


I am What I am by Tamada Shinya – Japan | 2022 – 110 minutes

“I don’t get what love is”, Kasumi tells her colleague. But how does one operate in a society that is gripped by the notion of love? While her mother tries to arrange a marriage, and even the children at her workplace are in a “love triangle”, Kasumi tries to find her own way of living. The movie depicts asexuality and the intergenerational differences of Japanese society in a touching way. – Muru Vähänikkilä


Next Sohee by July Jung – Korea | 2022 – 135 minutes

Sohee is a carefree highschooler, who loves dancing to kpop songs. She gets picked into an internship program at a local call center, which slowly starts to kill her will to live. The detective assigned to her suicide case discovers the grueling practices of the workplace. What is the price that people have to pay for capitalism? – Muru Vähänikkilä


Return to Seoul by Davy Chou – France | 2022 – 116 minutes

25 year old Freddie is struggling with her identity as an adoptee. Returning to her birth land South Korea, she starts to look into her history. Meeting with her Korean family is wrought with cultural differences and language barrier, and the trip takes Freddie on a completely new path on her life. The viewer gets to witness her life in different eras, while following her life trying to find her own self. In the end what makes up your identity, your own memories and or your heritage? – Muru Vähänikkilä


Stone Turtle by Woo Ming Jin – Malaysia, Indonesia | 2022 – 92 minutes

An officially uninhabited Malaysian island is the impressive location for a revenge laden meeting between a refugee woman, Zahara, and a man looking for endangered turtle eggs. Events become bloody and take a mysterious turn with folklore rituals spinning the story for a loop. The Fipresci awarded film pairs serious themes with suspense and some unexpected supernatural elements. – Jenni Peisa


The Absence by Wu Lang – China | 2023 – 102 minutes

Hong is about to move on with her life and buy an apartment, when her former lover Yu returns from jail. The two have to encounter their relationship and the reality around it. – Eija Niskanen


Thousand and one Nights by Kubota Nao – Japan | 2022 – 126 minutes

Tomiko and Nami both have lost their husbands, who disappeared with no explanation ever found. They start working together to find some answers, but in the end they have to find a way to accept the loss and find a way to continue living. – Eija Niskanen


When the Waves are Gone by Lav Diaz – Philippines | 2022 – 187 minutes

Lieutenant Hermes Papauran is a first-hand witness of the murderous anti-drug campaign that his institution is implementing. The atrocities are corroding him physically and spiritually. He settles into a coastal town, where a figure from his past arrives. – Eija Niskanen


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