i 💛 🇰🇷🇨🇳🇯🇵 👲 🎥. they're profound & unlike western films. but n.b. Criterion did 186 japanese films & just 8 in r gr8 azn flix u might not have seen but must ^ㅡ^
  1. the Blue Kite (1993) by Tian Zhuangzhuang
    pretty traditional Chinese historical 'epic' in 3 parts centered around a newlywed couple and their baby boy growing up through the hundred flowers campaign/great leap forward/cultural revolution. and spoiler: sometimes it is hard. :( but you will cry a bit when you think of it afterwards, like i just did now. this was banned in china too so ooooh edgy
  2. a Simple Life (2011) by Ann Hui
    another kind of traditional movie tugging at heartstrings. a famous guy starts to take care of the maid who has been with his family since he was born. she is getting old. he thinks about how long she's been around. this was honest about the eventuality of aging but so touching in appreciating elders and ways of showing them how much they meant to other people (despite her extreme self-effacement and humility)
  3. Millennium Mambo (2001) by Hou Hsiao-Hsien
    Narrated in 2011 on the girls life 10 years earlier. she had bad relationships, did a lot of drugs, passing out outside her apt. door and stuff. I like all the club scenes with loud techno. she is beautiful and guys want to be with her while she has no direction of her own. the nights go by. aimless life of a sad, young, cool, confused girl
  4. Suzhou River (1999) by Lou Ye
    another movie about an ineffably attractive young girl who has no compass really. but it's on this delivery boy's infatuation for her. a long and fraught relationship over years, not really even seeing her sometimes nor ever understanding her, but desperate to show at least as much to this transient girl he is obsessed with. FYI the story is modeled on that of a certain famous movie from our own hemisphere
  5. a Brand New Life (2009) by Ounie Lecomte
    autobiographical or semi so. a very young Korean girl unwittingly gets left for adoption by her dad. so her trust dies and she becomes a rebel at the orphanage where kids come in and out.
  6. Time (2006) by Kim Ki-Duk
    my favorite director. but all of his movies are very disturbing. maybe surreal but often painfully perceptive, almost like korean David Lynch. A girl disappears and gets plastic surgery done to look more attractive for her boyfriend. he looks for her, sees girls but doesn't know her face and 'who' she might be. about how we see ourselves and others, being in touch with the self, being in and showing love.
  7. Perfect Blue (1997) by Satoshi Kon
    this movie is fucked up too!! warning!! ok now that the riff raff is cleared: it's an older anime but it has a very astute depiction of popular culture (in Japan). the young rising pop star deals the sense of detachment from her image which grows and changes with her new popularity, seeing she is an object of obsession for some. relevant still what with hatsune miku and everything.
  8. Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land (1993) by Stan Lai
    two plays (a historical farce & a more recent Taiwanese love story) happening in the same small theater have their last dress rehearsal accidentally scheduled for the same night so they have no choice but to share the stage. very uncanny and moving. ripe with poignant juxtapositions. and most obscure on the list so good luck finding it (or you can ask me...shhhh)
  9. Platform (2000) by Jia Zhangke
    Ok this is really long and probably the hardest one for one with a western taste to get into. wouldn't blame you. traveling troupe of entertainers in the 80s perform throughout china. they ride a big bus all over beautiful china and sing for people. while their world is changing. i love it and so will you if you can handle really long languorous shots like of chinese people crowded around a table eating steamy soup or a guy and girl walking for five minutes afraid to talk to each other.
  10. Fallen Angels (1995) by Wong Kar-Wai
    not that obscure i know but best movie ever