Most of us haven’t really gotten over the four-award sweep of “Parasite” at the recently concluded Academy Awards. Heck, I’m still enjoying GIFs of Bong Joon Ho admiring and playing with his awards. It was an unforgettable moment of recognition for Asian cinema, with “Parasite” being the first non-English film to be awarded Best Picture in the awards ceremony’s 92-year history.
Asian cinema is so rich with themes that often reflect the realities we face. These films have inspired other filmmakers, with some countries even creating their own versions of “The Ring,” “The Grudge,” “Oldboy (2013)” and more.
If you’re looking for more Asian films to watch after “Parasite,” check out this list:
“Oldboy” (2003) (Korean)
A thrilling film about revenge, bullying and suicide, “Oldboy” tells the story of a man who, after being kidnapped and held captive for 15 years, is finally released—with only five days to get to the person behind it all. If you’re into thought-provoking films, you’re bound to enjoy this.
“Pee Mak” (2016) (Thailand)
The Thai are just really good at creating horror films, but this comedic interpretation of a folklore about Mae Nak, a well-known Thai ghost, still gets me jumpy. It’s also a story about friendship and romance which will probably hit close to home as it shows how no one gets left behind and how love can sometimes push us to do the extreme.
“A Taxi Driver” (2017) (Korean)
Set in the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, “A Taxi Driver” is an adaptation of the real-life story of a foreign reporter and a Seoul taxi driver. If you’re a fan of Song Kang Ho’s performance in “Parasite,” you’ll find that he also stages a great performance here. It’s a film about Korea’s struggle for democracy, depicting the fear and violence that the people of Gwangju experienced at the hands of the Korean government back then.
“Furie” (2019) (Vietnamese)
What do you get when you mix martial arts and a mother’s love? You get a former gang leader on a mission to save her daughter from child trafficking—showing how bad human trafficking is in Vietnam. The action scenes will have you at the edge of your seat, and the female lead is bound to touch you with her portrayal of a strong mother.
“Still Walking” (2008) (Japanese)
If you want a more family-friendly movie, “Still Walking” should be on the top of your list. It tells the story of a family reunion following a family member’s death. It’s surely going to touch those who feel like they’re stuck in the shadow of their siblings and feel like they have to compete for their parents’ love. The film shows how death can divide a middle-class Japanese family, but also strengthen it. It can be compared to the theme of “Seven Sundays,” (where a “dying father” gets his kids to spend his remaining Sundays with him) where we could see how a family member’s illness brings out the worst and best in a family.
Art by Tricia Guevara
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