Today, it’s still very much true that Hollywood films garner most of the spotlight in pop culture and the world at large. However, many foreign films especially ones imported from Asia are just as amazing, if not better than some of the movies produced in Hollywood. Below is a list of films that are genuinely awesome and ground-breaking pieces of art and entertainment. Here are 10 Films From Asian Cinema You Must See Before You Die! (Warning: These Films are intended for Mature Audiences)
1. Memories of Murder
Are you a fan of films like Parasite or Snowpiercer? If so, you should probably check out Memories of Murder which was also directed from the same Oscar-winning auteur, Bong-Joon Ho. Based on true events, Memories of Murder is a 2003 South-Korean crime drama about these rag-tag group of detectives trying to solve the case behind a recent trail of serial killings. It’s a masterful piece of cinema with its own rollercoaster of emotions. The acting is intense. The characters are relatable. But most of all, Memories of Murder is directed with supreme skill and attention-to-detail.
2. Like Father, Like Son
In Like Father, Like Son, two Japanese families from varying social backgrounds find out that their respective sons were switched at birth. Many of Hirokazu Koreeda‘s films are emotional rollercoasters and will often leave you in tears by the end. Like Father, Like Son is no different. Be sure to give this deep and compelling story about what family truly means a try. And get your tissues ready!
3. In the Mood For Love
In The Mood For Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film by Wong Kar-Wai. This film is a subtle and stylistic piece of art that follows two neighbors set in 1960s Hong Kong. When they both realize their respective spouses have been cheating on them, intimacy starts to develop. Yup, there’s some spicy stuff in this one!
4. The Raid: Redemption
Whereas the previous films on this list were either sad or thought-provoking, The Raid: Redemption is in direct contrast as a high-octane, adrenaline-inducing, masterfully choreographed action film. Directed by Gareth Evans, The Raid: Redemption follows Rama where he and his SWAT team have a raid attempt go awry. With their backs against the wall, Rama and his team try to fight their way through a building of criminals controlled by the notorious drug lord they were planning to take out.
5. A Brighter Summer Day
A Brighter Summer Day is a slow-burning, humanistic story directed by Edward Yang. This Taiwanese classic is another film with a 1960s backdrop on this list. It follows a young boy’s experiences with first love, adolescent struggles, and the turmoils that come from life itself. Fair warning, this movie is 4 hours long. However, it very well could be your next favorite film. You won’t know till you check it out though!
6. My Sassy Girl
Finally time for some levity on this list! Of the many storied and excellent films to come from South Korea, My Sassy Girl is regarded as a must-watch, rom-com classic. Released in 2001, this story is about a college student and the masochistic relationship he forms with a wild yet pretty girl. The jokes and comedic scenes in this movie are still hilarious to this day. If you’re looking for some good laughs and a good movie to watch with some friends, My Sassy Girl is a great choice!
7. Ong Bak
This Thai classic is the film that launched Tony Jaa into the modern martial arts icon he is today. Ong Bak follows a young martial artist’s quest to retrieve a stolen artifact while busting heads and breaking bones along the way. For a film released in 2003, it holds up quite well. The jaw-dropping stunts in this movie alone is reason enough to give this film a shot.
8. Yi Yi
At number eight, another one of Edward Yang’s films makes the list! With Yi Yi, once again you can expect another deep, humanistic story which touches on various themes regarding relationships, family, and various types of struggle.
9. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Iranian cinema is vastly underrated. Many Western audiences often overlook talented directors like Abbas Kiarostami or Jafar Panahi. If you are looking for a good starter into some great Iranian films, A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night is a great choice! Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, this film is about a vampire-lady reigning terror on disrespecting men. A film with a simple yet entertaining premise… What more could you ask for?
10. Gangs of Wasseypur
Even though there’s a trailer already linked, it would be advisable to leap into this Hindi film with no prior knowledge. You just have to trust me! Although… I will say that this film is definitely not for the faint of heart.
Did you find this list enjoyable? Well if you did, then you might like this article on 14 HILARIOUS TikToks Only Asians Can Understand over here!