From emotional dramas to explosive action spectacles, Asian cinema has come up with a plethora of must-see movies in 2022. Beyond Korea, India and Japan, prepare to be blown away by the incredible talent of Southeast Asian filmmakers, who have produced some of the most remarkable and diverse Asian films this year, showcasing a variety of cultures and genres.
Directed by exceptionally talented people like S. S. Rajamouli, Park Chan-wook and newcomers who stole the light, Carlo Francisco Manatad, He Shuming, some of these directors' movies have been the most talked about and praised by many. Let's spill the tea now and watch it later!
10. Plan 75 (Japan)
The first movie that must be on your watchlist comes from the land of the rising sun. Taking place in a futuristic Japan, Plan 75 tells the story of a government initiative aimed at addressing the country's aging population by encouraging the elderly to undergo voluntary euthanasia. Through the eyes of three individuals impacted by this Plan 75 program - an unemployed elderly woman with no hope for the future, a young salesman who believes in the initiative's mission, and a Filipino caretaker working at a nursing home - the film offers a realistic and poignant portrayal of the human toll of such policies.
With a compassionate and thought-provoking approach, first-time director Chie Hayakawa delivers a powerful dystopian narrative that exposes the disturbing implication. Those of you who like Soylent Green, Black Mirror, will certainly enjoy the storyline of this movie. All three films have similar dystopian themes, where humans live in a society filled with injustice.
9. Broker (South Korea)
The next movie you shouldn't miss is the Broker movie from South Korea. Broker tells the story of two "baby brokers" and a mother who seeks to sell her unwanted infant to willing but desperate adoptive parents on the black market in Korea. Through their journey in a rickety van, as they search for a loving home for the child, the film delves into the nuanced and intricate dynamics of found families.
Despite the dark and heartbreaking subject of child trafficking, Kore-eda infuses the film with warmth, kindness, and profound humanism, treating the characters with sensitivity and understanding and avoiding any harsh judgments of their criminal actions. Once again, director Hirokazu Kore-eda continues to showcase his unparalleled ability to create emotionally resonant movies in each of his films. For those of you who were touched by Shoplifters and The Florida Project, this brokerage film will once again move you to tears with its storytelling relevant to family issues.
8. Leonor will Never Die (The Philippines)
Leonor Will Never Die is a quirky tribute to 80s Filipino B-action films. It follows Leonor Reyes, a retired filmmaker in Manila who, facing financial struggles and family issues, enters a screenplay contest to reclaim her former success. After an accident leaves her in a coma, Leonor is transported into a fantasy world inspired by her unfinished script. This hilarious and heartfelt dramedy is full of self-referential humor, kickass fight scenes, and cheesy melodrama.
This movie raises the theme of conflict in the world of cinema and the creative industry. In addition, the film also uses metafictional techniques that combine reality and fiction, and features characters who are trapped in the world of film and face complex internal and external conflicts. With a similar theme, those of you who love Adaptation and Birdman will surely fall in love with this movie.
7. Photocopier (Indonesia)
This movie is Wregas Bhanuteja's debut feature film. The storytelling of Photocopier is both clever and intense, portraying a crime mystery surrounding a Muslim student named Sur whose life is destroyed after losing consciousness at a party. She suspects she was drugged and sexually assaulted, as photos from the party appear on social media without her consent. With her scholarship taken away and her family disowning her, Sur investigates the truth behind that fateful night.
The film not only offers an engaging thriller but also offers thought-provoking commentary on the shame and dismissal faced by survivors of sexual assault. While the plot focuses on a case of sexual violence against women and the protagonist's efforts to fight for justice for the victim, the movie also presents a strong social message about how victims are often treated unfairly in the criminal justice system and society in general.
6. Ajoomma (Singapore/South Korea)
Auntie Lim, a middle-aged widow from Singapore who is obsessed with K-dramas, is the protagonist of Ajoomma, the first-ever co-production between Singapore and South Korea. As her son prepares to move out, Auntie Lim struggles to define her identity beyond her traditional roles as wife, mother, and daughter. She decides to take a solo trip to South Korea, inspired by her favorite soap operas, and begins an unexpected journey of self-discovery.
He Shuming's debut feature is a blend of fish-out-of-water comedy and mid-life crisis drama, offering a mix of humor, farce, and heartwarming moments. You will probably feel an affinity with this movie because the theme of the movie is about characters experiencing an identity crisis and going on a journey or new experiences in an attempt to find the true meaning of their lives. In addition, the movie also combines elements of comedy and drama to create an entertaining and emotionally moving story.
5. Writing WIth Fire (India)
The documentary Writing With Fire, directed by Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas, features the Khabar Lahariya, the only women-run newspaper in India, and its fearless journalists. The film documents how the editorial staff, most of whom belong to the oppressed Dalit caste, use smartphones and their unwavering spirit to expose scandals, reveal corruption, and confront those in power.
The documentary also delves into the challenges faced by the journalists in transitioning to digital platforms in villages with limited access to electricity, as well as the daily threats of violence they endure as Dalit women. Writing With Fire is a compelling tribute to the perseverance and strength of these inspiring reporters.
4. The Falls (Taiwan)
Chung Mong-Hong, who received critical acclaim for his film A Sun, demonstrates his talent again for creating quietly impactful domestic dramas in The Falls. The film takes place in Taiwan during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and focuses on the strained relationship between a single mother and her teenage daughter as they quarantine together. The mother experiences a nervous breakdown due to personal and financial stress, and her daughter is forced to take on the role of breadwinner while also caring for her mother's declining mental health.
The character-driven in this film was a subtle and heartfelt exploration of the complex emotions and struggles that arise from living in close quarters with loved ones. Once again, Chung Mong-Hong's movie will capture the hearts of those who watch it.
3. Whether The Weather is Fine (The Philippines)
Carlo Francisco Manatad's first feature film is set in Tacloban, the director's hometown, which has been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. As the coastal city lies in ruins, three characters struggle to find a safe haven among the rubble and dead bodies. Faced with the arrival of another storm, they must make the difficult decision to leave by boat for Manila, but leaving their home is not an easy choice.
The movie blends dark comedy and surrealism to capture the dreamlike state that disaster victims often find themselves in, highlighting the magical realism as the protagonists face unexpected absurdities and search for meaning in the madness. In its unique and impressive way, the film manages to create a gripping and dramatic atmosphere while featuring strong and deep characters. Carlo Francisco's debut film is not to be missed.
2.Decision to Leave (South Korea)
Park Chan-wook, known for his previous works with strong themes, returns with a new movie that blends neo-noir, romance, and mystery. Decision to Leave tells the story of a homicide detective suffering from insomnia as he investigates the death of a mountain climber. Was it really an accident or was he pushed off a cliff by his wife? As the police interrogate the suspect and spend sleepless nights watching her, complex and intense romance begins to develop between them.
Although there is no overt sexuality, the tension and burning longing in the movie create an electrifying and erotic atmosphere. The love story in this movie is beautifully shot, but it also has its dark side. This movie from one of South Korea's most renowned filmmakers is certainly one of the best movies you've seen this year.
1. RRR (India)
Tollywood, the Telugu film industry, made a name for itself with the release of S.S. Rajamouli's epic blockbuster this year. With awesome action sequences, captivating musical numbers, and overwhelming emotions, Tollywood was able to come out of the shadow of Bollywood. RRR is an enjoyable movie that feels like it flies by in the blink of an eye despite being over three hours long.
The movie tells a fictional story of the friendship between Indian freedom fighters Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem as they fight the British Raj. RRR's grand scope, bombastic sets, and strong anti-imperialist message are sure to mesmerize audiences, making it the best movie of 2022.
What are you waiting for, now find your favorite snack and the most comfortable place, and let's go on an adventure through these different genres, The 10 Best Asian Movies of 2022.