100 Best Asian Films from 2022 (Part 3)

I continue with my list of one hundred Asian feature films from 2022 that you shouldn’t miss.

Gyeong-Ah’s Daughter by Kim Jung-eun – Korea | 2022 – 117 minutes | Fiction

After the death of her husband, Gyeong-a works as a caregiver and lives alone. The only one she can rely on is her daughter, Yeon-su, but it’s hard to meet her after her independence. Meanwhile, Yeon-su is suffering her ex-boyfriend Sang-hyeon persistently asking her to meet him. Thanks to Yeon-su’s surprise visit, Gyeong-a spends a lively weekend… That night, she gets a message from an unknown number. Upon opening the message, a video of Yeon-su having sex with an unknown man and Gyeong-a goes into the trauma. (AIWFF 2022)


Hail to Hell by Lim Oh-jeong – Korea | 2022 – 109 minutes | Fiction

Na-mi and Sun-woo, who have been suffering from bullying and school violence throughout their school days, attempt suicide while their classmates go on a school trip. The story makes us anticipate unbearable tragedies, but the story of Hail to Hell is somehow lively and unpredictable. After the silly yet ridiculous suicide failure, the two try to take revenge on Chae-rin, who bullied them most and now lives happily in Seoul. However, their plans go awry. Ridiculously, Chae-rin, the worst bully ever, has found religion and has turned into a genuinely good person. What should they do now? Hail to Hell is a fascinating adventure story and an ironic moral drama created by a storyteller who combines outlandish planning and imagination. (JUNG Hanseok)


Hansan: Rising Dragon by Kim Han-min – Korea | 2022 – 129 minutes

In 1592, admiral Yi Sun-shin falls into a crisis but rises again with his last secret weapon, the Turtle Ship. The legend of the invincible fleet begins. Hansan, Rising Dragon! (FKFF 2023)


Happiness by Askar Uzabaev – Kazakhstan | 2022 – 131 minutes | Fiction

A woman is standing in front of the mirror. She is beautiful and has a striking face and strong cheekbones. She is bracing herself, the last vestige of self-respect driving her on. Her body is black and blue from the marks of many years of abuse. She swathes it in the orange dress that represents her working life. In this world, she is a successful influencer promoting a product line called “Happiness” that – as she demonstrates in her hypnotic sales pitches – is supposed to make women attractive and happy. But terror reigns at home; it even reigns in her newlywed daughter’s house too. A self-determined life is something about which a woman in Kazakhstan dares not even dream. (AWFF 2022)


Hometown Lullaby by Liu Bo – Japan | 2022

Naoto, who has been wandering in a big city for a long time, always remembers that Takumi treated him kindly throughout his painful childhood. However, Takumi faded away from his life without a trace, which was very hard for Naoto to come to terms with.

Naoto returns to his hometown to look for Takumi. Standing in the place where these memories were made, his memory mingles with reality and everything seems to return to the beautiful old days. (NaraIFF 2022)

Hunt by Lee Jung-Jae – Korea | 2022 – 125 minutes | Fiction

Park Pyong-ho and Kim Jung-do of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency are tasked with finding a mole within the agency, and learn of a grand plot to assassinate the South Korean president in this spy action drama. (LEAFF 2022)


Jiseok by Kim Young-jo – Korea | 2022 – 117 minutes | Documentary

In 2017, the international film industry was shocked by the unexpected passing of Busan International Film Festival’s (BIFF) co-founder and deputy director Kim Ji-seok. From its beginnings to becoming one of the largest and most important film festivals in Asia, Kim was considered the heart of BIFF by many. (SGIFF 2022)


Joyland by Saim Sadiq – Pakistan | 2022 – 127 minutes | Fiction

In a conservative multigenerational Pakistani household, soft-spoken Haider is pressured to find a job and to produce a male heir. After he lands a role as a backup dancer at an erotic dance theatre, his wife Mumtaz reluctantly leaves a job she enjoys at the behest of the family’s patriarch to become a housewife. While Mumtaz struggles in the domestic sphere, Haider falls for his boss, a confident, charismatic transgender dancer (played by transgender actress Alina Khan). (SGIFF 2022)


Juhee from 5 – 7 by Jang Kun-jae – Korea | 2022 – 75 minutes | Fiction

Juhee, a drama professor who wants to quit teaching after this semester, finds out that she has a tumor suspected of malignancy in her chest after a medical examination. She is sure it’s cancer. She once dreamed of becoming a good actor and a good teacher. But now she’s tired of everything. She goes to her office to set her affairs, and some of her students come to her office and want to talk to her. Ho-jin, the director of a theater company, is busy preparing for a play ahead of its premiere. There is a scene where he is not sure if it’s the right way of directing, and it bothers him. Young members of the theater company whisper and gossip that Ho-jin’s play about the middle-aged couple’s crisis may be his own story. (SIFF 2022)


Leonor Will Never Die by Martika Ramirez Escobar – Philippines | 2022 – 101 minutes | Fiction

Leonor Reyes was a major name in the Philippine film industry, but today her family is struggling to pay the bills. When she reads an ad looking for screenplays, Leonor rescues an unfinished script, but an accident leaves her unconscious and transports her into her unfinished film. Leonor can live her wildest dreams up close and personally… and discover the perfect ending to her story. (SITGES 2022)


Little Blue by Lee Yi-fang – Taiwan | 2022 – 96 minutes | Fiction

Little Blue is an obedient and naïve girl. On the beach, she loses her virginity to a boy, who not only plays on the school football team but is extremely popular with girls. At first, she thought she could win his love with her body, but to her embarrassment and astonishment, she finds out that the boy casually shows her intimate photos to his buddies. Her youth is destroyed when she realizes that the intimate relationship she cherishes means nothing more than a game to the boy. Keeping her mother in the dark, Little Blue begins exploring her body with strangers, figuring out the boundaries between intimacy and pleasure. Accidently, she discovers a secret she really doesn’t want to know… (TFF 2022)


Love Life by Fukada Koji – Japan, France | 2022 – 123 minutes | Fiction

Taeko, her husband Jiro and her son Keita live a peaceful life. They live across from the apartment of Jiro’s parents, who had never really accepted that marriage and wish they were grand-parents. Keita is an endearing little boy, passionate about the Othello game. His accidental death at a birthday party is a tragedy for everyone. Keita’s longlost biological father, deaf and homeless, comes back to their life. Taeko, finding out about an ex-fiancé of her husband’s, gets close to her ex-husband again and helps him, putting her new relationship in danger. (FICA 2023)


Maika by Ham Tran – Vietnam | 2022 – 108 minutes | Fiction

Hung is an eight-year-old boy still coping with the death of his mother. Whenever he feels distraught, Hung retreats to the roof to be alone and watches the night sky. One night, he witnesses a meteor shower with an errant falling star hitting the ground in the distance. At the crash site, he discovers an alien girl named Maika. As Hung helps Maika find her friend and get back to her home, she inadvertently helps Hung make new friends and mend his broken heart. But danger lurks everywhere, as Hung is not the only one who knows of his new alien friend… (Kaohsiung 2022)


Mama Boy by Arvin Chen – Taiwan | 2022 – 98 minutes | Fiction

Mama Boy is a romance set in the city. Starring Vivian Hsu and Kai Ko, it tells the story of Xiao-hong. Despite his good looks, Xiao-hong, who is almost thirty years old, has always been single since he is too shy and inarticulate. One day, when his cousin introduces him to Lele, with whom he falls in love at first sight, a romance burgeons quietly at night in Taipei. While Kai Ko plays the timid young man, Vivian Hsu appears as a mature urban woman with curly hair in the film. In the first clip unveiled to the public, the audience can definitely feel the light-hearted romantic atmosphere stemming from the interaction between Vivian Hsu and Kai Ko. (Taipei Film Festival 2022)


Mama’s Affair by Kearen Pang – Hong Kong | 2022 – 127 minutes | Fiction

Director Kearen Pang presents another brilliant female-driven, cross-generational story that is guaranteed to delight viewers of every stripe. A seamless blend of Cantopop fantasy, idol-chasing mania, and social issues, including economic malaise and women’s return to the workforce, the film is deeply moving, with show-stopping moments from each of its leads. Mei-fung (veteran Teresa Mo) is a former talent manager and now single mother, who discovers a potential star and reignites her career. But her devotion to the singer incites her teenage son’s jealousy, and she struggles to relocate the balance between her vocation and her family. Keung To and Jer Lau (both of pop sensation Mirror) are stellar in their film debuts, with musical numbers that will have audiences dancing in the aisles. (NYAFF 2022)


Manchurian Tiger by Geng Jun – China | 2021 – 118 minutes | Fiction

Xu Dong loves his dog more than he loves his best friend and his pregnant wife. But when his wife asks him to give the animal to his friend, the friend has the unhappy idea of serving it to his creditors for dinner. Xu Dong wants revenge, but must also guard his back against his betrayed wife. Dark Kaurismäkiesque humour in a grotesque black comedy that triumphed at the Shanghai festival. (FEFF 2022)


Missing by Katayama Shinzo – Japan | 2021 – 124 minutes | Fiction

Depressed and in debt, a man confesses to his teenage daughter that he wants to collect the bounty on a ruthless serial killer. His daughter thinks he’s joking, but when he disappears shortly afterwards she sets off in search of him. Missing explores human nature with the brutality and shocking narrative twists of a thriller where the duality of Good and Evil offers up more grey areas than certainties. (FEFF 2022)


My Small Land by Kawawada Emma – Japan | 2022 – 114 minutes | Fiction

For Sarya (17), a Kurdish refugee girl in Japan, life seems to be looking up; her grades at school are enough to pursue college, she’s surrounded with good friends and her relationship with Sota is becoming special. Sarya’s life becomes upside down, however, when she learns that her family’s refugee status is turned down, restricting her family of work and traveling across the city. Her father, who had continued to work to sustain a living, is taken into custody for illegal employment. Sarya is now suddenly forced into a situation where she is responsible not only for her younger siblings but for her very existence. (AIWFF 2022)


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

Following the Burmese military junta’s coup in February 2021, civilians are plunged into a reality where state-sponsored violence is rife. Comprising footage recorded by locals telling of their lived experiences, this hybrid documentary is an account of the emotions post-coup for the ordinary Burmese: alienation, frustration, despair, shattered hopes and betrayal. (SGIFF 2022)


New Normal by Jeong Beom-sik | Korea – 2022 – 112 minutes | Fiction

Hyun-Jung, a woman living alone nervously watching the news. Seung-Jin, a middle schooler trying to raise his failing grades by doing volunteer work. Hyun-Su, a woman trying to find a friend of the opposite sex through a dating app. Hoon, a man who finds a mysterious letter with written instructions to find the woman who penned them. Gee-jin, an unemployed man with a one-sided crush on the stewardess next door. Yeon-jin, a musician and part-time worker at a convenience store who lives a crappy shitty life, dealing with rude customers daily. These six people’s lives intersect in unexpected and disturbing ways over the course of four days. (DublinIFF 2023)


To see Part 1 please go HERE
To see Part 2 please go HERE
To see Part 4 please go HERE
To see Part 5 please go HERE

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