100 Best Asian Films from 2022 (Part 4)

I present the fourth part of my list of one hundred Asian feature films from 2022 that you shouldn’t miss.

New Religion by Keishi Kondo – Japan | 2022 – 100 minutes | Fiction

Miyabi lost her only daughter in an accident. After her daughter’s death, she got a divorce. She now works as a call girl and is living with her new boyfriend. One day, she meets a mysterious client who asks her to let him take a picture of her spine. She does as the man says and lets him take her picture, but he then asks for a picture of her feet. Since then, the man has been taking pictures of Miyabi every time. Then one day, when Miyabi is at home, she is struck by the sensation of a small hand caressing her leg. She intuits that it is her dead daughter and realizes that every time one organ is photographed, that part of the body will be able to perceive the spirit of her daughter. The last remaining part of her body is her eyes. The story of the loss of an individual that eventually leads to the collapse of a society. (WFF 2022)


Next Sohee by July Jung – Korea | 2022 – 134 minutes | Fiction

Sohee is a high school student. Hoping to get a good job, Sohee starts training at a call centre, but she faces enormous pressure from the company. The situation gets too much for a teenager, and it eventually leads to tragedy. Detective Oh Yoo-jin, who has something in common with Sohee, follows the traces to reveal the causes of Sohee’s suffering. (TGHFF 2022)


Noise by Ryūichi Hiroki – Japan| 2022 – 128 minutes | Fiction

Keita is the hero and the hope of the remote island Shishikari thanks to his flourishing fig business, which is about to bring in a large government grant and revitalize the community. Then an ex-convict arrives, disturbing the island’s peace. Keita’s daughter goes missing, and because someone witnesses the ex-convict committing murder, they chase after the highly likely suspect in hopes of finding the child. But an accident ensues, and to make matters worse, Keita and his friends find themselves with unwanted corpses. Soon, detectives from the mainland arrive, and covering up what happened becomes increasingly difficult.

Based on a manga by Tetsuya Tsutsui, Noise is a suspenseful drama full of twists and turns. The great Battle Royale (2000) actor Tatsuya Fujiwara and Kenichi Matsuyama of Blue (2021) reunite after the Death Note films for another synergic collaboration. With the direction of Ryūichi Hiroki, a film and television veteran, Noise delves into more than just unravelling the mystery, through its study of friendship, grudges, and desires. — June Kim


One Hundred Years and Hope by Nishihara Takashi – Japan | 2022 – 107 minutes | Documentary

The Japanese Communist Party has the longest history in Japan. With the LDP’s unprecedented long-term ruling system solidified, the Japanese Communist Party is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The film follows the election campaigns of the party’s young politicians, activists and supporters, and listens to their concerns and hopes. And asks. Can the Japanese Communist Party be an alternative to established politics? Can deep-rooted sexism and discrimination against minorities be addressed? What will the grassroots politics that has been pursued thus far look like in the future?​ (DMZ Docs 2022)


Photocopier by Wregas Bhanuteja – Indonesia | 2022 – 130 minutes | Fiction

Sur lost her scholarship because her drunk selfies were circulated online. Sur seeks help from Amin, a photocopy worker. Together, at the shop, they try to discover the truth about the night at the party by hacking into the students’ phone.


Plan 75 by Chie Hayakawa – Japan, France, Philippines | 2022 – 112 minutes | Fiction

When Japan’s population of citizens over seventy-five grows to unprecedented numbers, the government implements “Plan 75,” which encourages people over age 75 to seek euthanasia. This policy is based on the perception that the elderly’s contribution to the economy is insufficient to cover the rising healthcare and social welfare expenditures for the elderly. On television people testify that they are happy to be able to choose euthanasia. The government announces that it will fund final trips and funerals for those who opt for euthanasia. While The Ballad of Narayama (1983) tells a story set in the past about an old woman who chooses death to ensure the community’s sustenance, Plan 75 is set in the near future when the government urges the elderly to die. The film became a social issue upon its release in Japan, and it also sends a heavy message to Korean society. (NAM Dong-chul)


Popran by Shinichiro Ueda – Japan | 2022 – 96 minutes | Fiction

Tatsuya becomes a famous entrepreneur thanks to the success of his webtoon app. Neglecting friends and family, he throws himself into succeeding. One day, something dreadful happens to him, his genitals disappear. When not even doctors can find the cause, he finds a message about a meeting in a community he comes across. The community is for those like Tatsuya who have lost their genitals. When they explain that if he can’t find the genitals named ‘Popran’ soon, they will disappear forever, he sets out to find them. Popran is a new film from Ueda Shinichiro, director of One Cut of the Dead (2017) and Special Actors (2019). The protagonist in this ridiculous situation realizes the value of the relationship with people he has forgotten or missed as he runs around solving problems in crazy situations, which has become his own stamp as he makes more films. Unmissable laughter and lasting impressions make the film shine more. (Martin LEE | BIFAN 2022)


Project Wolf Hunting by KIM Hong-seon – Korea | 2022 – 121 minutes | Fiction

When a boatload of Korea’s most dangerous criminals break free and assume control of the vessel shipping them back to their homeland, the excitement is only just beginning in Kim Hong-sun’s (The Con Artists, 2014) viscerally entertaining thriller. What starts as a Korean take on 90’s action favourite Con Air soon escalates into an unfeasibly violent tale of desperate law enforcers facing off against cartoonishly hostile villains, led by a gratuitously tattooed Seo In-guk, until fistfights give way to unspeakable horrors lurking in the bowels below. (HKIFF 2023)


Return to Dust by Li Ruijun – China | 2022 – 131 minutes | Fiction

At first, the arranged marriage between the taciturn Ma and the lame and infertile Guiying does not portend a joyous future. But their modest life together on a farm with a faithful donkey pushes the couple towards kindness and patience, towards each other and the land from which they make a living. Chinese director Ruijun Li presents a drama about love without a trace of unnecessary sentimentality. With the captivated eye of a careful observer, he shows that the resilience of living together does not necessarily depend on material wealth or on having a “complete,” happy family, but that it grows from everyday acts of consideration. A charming film set in a landscape of deep yellow corn fields and sand dunes that reveals the unsustainability of idyllic rural life in a modernizing China. – Ondřej Pavlík


Return to Seoul by Davy Chou – France, Germany, Belgium, Qatar, Cambodia, South Korea | 2022 – 119 minutes | Fiction

25-year-old Freddie is on an unplanned holiday in Seoul, her first time in South Korea after being adopted to France as a baby. Free-spirited, assertive and blunt even, she impulsively decides with the help of a friend to seek out her biological parents. The language barrier and patriarchal customs add to the friction and unease of reunion, but rather than providing resolution, the encounter sets her on a journey of personal discovery and transformation. (SGIFF 2022)


Ribbon by Non – Japan | 2022 – 115 minutes | Fiction

Art student Itsuka spent a year working on her graduation project, but her exhibition is cancelled due to COVID-19. Lacking motivation to finish the project, she feels deprived of purpose. She spends her days during lockdown at home, struggling to figure out what to do with her life. This impactful, imaginative directorial debut by actress NON (who also stars) is full of anger and frustration, but also hope and good vibes.


Rice Boy Sleeps by Anthony Shim – Canada | 2022 – 117 minutes | Fiction

Inspired by his own childhood, director-writer Anthony Shim made RICEBOY SLEEPS, following a Korean single mother who immigrates to Canada with her young son in the 90s. Shim navigates the space between a widowed mother’s isolation and determination to provide a better life for her son, and a son’s loneliness and his frustration with circumstances beyond his control; both are bruised by discrimination and confinement in a new country. (SAAFF 2023)


RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) by S.S. Rajamouli – India | 2022 – 186 minutes

A fictitious story about two legendary revolutionaries and their journey away from home before they started fighting for their country in the 1920s. (IMDb)


Shivamma by Jaishankar Aryar – India | 2022 – 104 minutes | Documentary

Shivamma is an ardent sales rep for the energy drink Nuracle. The multilevel marketing method at Nuracle is her only belief and motivation for life. To Shivamma, living in a poor town on the outskirts of a city with her bed-ridden husband, a soon-to-be-married daughter, and brattish son, Nuracle’s worldview—“I will do it!”—is a source of confidence and hope. A poor, middle-aged woman without education only has few options for her family’s livelihood as the head of a poor household. For the lead role, director Jaishankar Aryar cast Sharanamma Chetti, familiar to us for playing supporting roles in Kannada films. And he persistently follows her struggle without making any moral judgment about her choices. Shivamma is a memorable debut film. (PARK Sun Young)


Silence in the Dust by Li Wei – Singapore, France, USA, China | 2022 – 95 minutes | Documentary

More than twenty years ago, Dazhang and his three brothers came to Guangdong to work in a local quartz powder factory. However, a few years later, Dazhang was diagnosed with advanced staged pneumoconiosis. He returns to his hometown, and the pneumoconiosis is gradually killing him every single day. The entire family is stuck in this seemingly endless suffering. (TGHFF 2022)


Small, Slow but Steady by Miyake Sho – Japan | 2022 – 99 minutes | Fiction

An official selection of the 72nd Berlin Film Festival. Keiko hates to smile and cannot tell a lie. She is deaf and her mind is “full of noise”. By facing boxing, Keiko’s daily life slowly begins to change. (TIFF 2022)


Special Delivery by Park Dae-min – Korea | 2022 – 108 minutes | Fiction

Eun-ha (PARK So-dam), who is a normal junkyard employee, secretly works as a delivery clerk that deals with unusual delivery requests. One day, Eun-ha heads to Seoul to pick up a client who is involved in a gambling crime that wants to flee overseas. However, Eun-ha meets the client’s young son at the pick-up point, instead of the client himself. Kyung-pil (SONG Sae-byeok), a current police officer who is actually masterminding the whole gambling crime, chases after the missing child who has the security key to the bank account that holds 30 million dollars. After a long pursuit from Seoul to Busan, Eun-ha fights against the police to protect the child! (KOFFIA 2022)


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

Zahara, a stateless refugee, lives on a small remote island in Malaysia, where she makes a living selling turtle eggs. One day, Samad, claiming to be a university researcher, visits the island, wanting to employ Zahara to show him around. As the day goes on, Zahara and Samad become entangled in a dangerous dance of duplicity and deception. (TGHFF 2022)


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

Twenty-year-old Lynn ascends the path of upward mobility until she unexpectedly falls pregnant. Indecisive about an abortion, the dutiful daughter decides to offer her baby in lieu of financial compensation for her mother’s medical malpractice. As she is about to go into labour during the coronavirus pandemic, the debtor suddenly gets cold feet. Through the lens of one woman’s experience, husband-and-wife filmmaking team Otsuka Ryuji and Huang Ji, Tiger Award winner for her debut feature Egg and Stone (2012), examine the new gig economy and grey market norms of modern-day China. (HKIFF 2023)


Suzume by Makoto Shinkai – Japan | 2022 – 122 minutes | Animation

A modern action adventure road story where a 17-year-old girl named Suzume helps a mysterious young man close doors from the other side that are releasing disasters all over in Japan.


To see Part 1 please go HERE
To see Part 2 please go HERE
To see Part 3 please go HERE
To see Part 5 please go HERE

Categories: News

Tagged as: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.