Okay, you probably did watch a few on the list, but not everything, right? (If you did, you are either one of my really close university friends or… WE ARE MEANT TO BE!)
Hi. It’s been a while since I wrote. That blogging schedule didn’t go according to plan, uh. The past weeks (or is it ‘months’?) have been… hard. Pretty much life-changing. It’s been hard to get back to writing.
There were so many topics I wanted to write on, but every time I would bring myself to opening WordPress, I’d write the title and nothing else. So I decided to get back into my usual self by writing a rather ‘easy’ post.
My friend and I have been exchanging movies for a while now, but I never write about the beautiful films I end up stumbling upon! There are so many lost treasures in the film industry!
And since I’ve been hooked on Japanese movies lately, I decided to dedicate this list to Asian movies only because many of them seriously need a worldwide shoutout. And so here are my personal 7 favourites (in no particular order!):
Disclaimer: Yes, the majority of these movies are psychological thrillers because that’s what I’m into, so I apologise for the skewness and bias. I also didn’t include animated movies because that could be another list altogether.
1. HIMALA (1982)
If you are a Monash Film student you’ve probably watched this Filipino movie because that’s how I got to watch it. It’s first on the list because it was only when I was recommending this movie to my friend that I got the idea for this blog post.
One-line synopsis: It’s basically this girl who became ‘gifted’ with healing powers from the Virgin Mary’s herself… but with a twist.
(By the way, ‘himala’ means ‘miracle’ and you’ll hear that a lot. And feel different things.)
Opinion: The only word I use to describe this movie is ‘creepy’. But it’s not creepy in the ‘horror movie’ sense… or in any normal way. It’s just… creepy. I can’t say any more than that; it’s the kind of movie which the lesser you know, the better.
(Oh my, I’m sorry, that last sentence also applies to most of the movies listed below! Haha, well, just take notes of the titles and watch for yourself!)
2. CONFESSIONS (2010)
This is a famous Japanese one, so if you’re a fan of Japanese psycho-thrillers, you’ve probably watched it. And not regret it. Right?
The original title is ‘Kokuharu’.
One-line synopsis: How would you feel about a mother (also a teacher) getting revenge on one of her pupils after her daughter’s death… and AIDS??
Opinion: I think this was one of the very first Japanese movies (excluding animation) I ever watched… and Tetsuya Nakashima has been my favourite Asian director ever since. I was mindblown. That was the beginning of my Asian movie discoveries… and a HUGE appreciation of that side of the industry. Frankly, what is Hollywood after you’ve watched this???
(I love David Fincher though!)
3. THE WORLD OF KANAKO (2014)
Another one by Nakashima! He worked on it after ‘Confessions’. Like the other two above, I can’t tell too much about it because it’s still a thriller… except it’s even more fucked up.
The original title is ‘Kawaki’.
One-line synopsis: Teenager tries to fit in and gets trapped in the world of a beautiful girl, Kanako, who later disappears… and it’s only when her detective-dad tries to find her that we get to uncover her story.
Opinion: Actually, this synopsis is pretty bad. There is just too much in this movie to be able to explain it. You just have to trust my word and watch it. However, this movie is NOT for sensitive people. Please. Be warned. It’s mindblowing but fucked up.
4. OLDBOY (2003)
So I wanted to include the only Korean thriller I ever watched because I didn’t want this list to be saturated with Japanese films.
‘Oldboy’ has its own American version, and that’s the one you’ve probably watched or heard of. Fuck the American version. Go watch the Korean one. Now.
One-line synopsis: Guy is released from a 15-year confinement and wants to get revenge on his jailor.
Opinion: Well…. Let’s just say it’ll keep you at the edge of your seat, especially during that epic corridor fight scene (those who’ve watched it are smiling right now I swear!). It’ll also make you laugh among other feels.
5. BAD GENIUS (2017)
I love the way Thai filmmakers do their shit.
The first Thai movie I watched was a compulsory horror movie called ‘Shutter (2004)’ in my first year of Film studies… and I loved it! It was the very first horror movie I took pleasure in watching. I usually hate horror movies.
So that says something.
By the way, if you haven’t watched ‘Shutter‘, add this as the 8th movie on the list!
Anyway, back to ‘Bad Genius’. It’s a Thai movie that came out in Asian cinemas a few months ago. I’ve decided to include it in the list instead of ‘Shutter’ because it didn’t come out in Mauritius, so I figured this one is especially for my Mauritian readers.
One-line synopsis: An A-star student decides to help her classmate cheat in exchange for money… developing a legit million-dollar business within the school!
Opinion: I’ve been anticipating this movie a lot… and I haven’t been disappointed! And nope, it’s not a thriller. But if you’ve been brought up in an Asian environment, you’ll feel some degree of stress… because it’s so relatable! It’s a fun movie to watch with all your high school friends. Don’t expect anything more; just relax and laugh.
6. GUILTY OF ROMANCE (2011)
Back to the thriller and gloomy Japanese films. This one is NOT for sensitive people, especially if you can’t stand watching sex and prostitution. This was recommended by one of my friends and I totally fell in love with it.
The original title is ‘Koi no tsumi’.
One-line synopsis: A dutiful wife, who’s unemployed and home alone all day, decides to make a ‘career’ change to kill boredom… and goes down the rabbit hole.
Opinion: FUCK. It’s not about the sexual content, but about the poetic nuances. The whole film revolves around a specific poem that is repeated as the two main protagonists meet. It has a kind of literary theme. It’s about searching for meaning. It’s all about meanings.
7. MIDNIGHT DINER 1 & 2 (2014 & 2016)
Although ‘Midnight Diner’ is split into two movies, I count it as one because the concept revolves around mini stories with various characters that happen at that specific midnight diner.
The original title is ‘Shinya shokudo’.
One-line synopsis: It’s all about that midnight diner which opens from 12-7 a.m. and welcomes all kinds of protagonists, with their own little meaningful stories.
Opinion: This movie is the most relaxing one in the list. You can watch it at any time. The mini-stories calm me down… and make me hungry. Yes, they do film the cooking process within the diner and the different dishes offered, depending on the particular story. It’s just beautiful. Very chill and heartwarming.
Out of these movies, which ones have you already watched (and loved/hated)?
Let me know in the comments!
D. K. Waye.