Feb 21, 2018

Asia is a melting pot of cultures and traditions that even Asians themselves have yet to explore. Although it is difficult and costly to have first-hand experiences, it’s still possible to witness this diversity through the silver screen.

On its fifth year, the Asia Society of the Philippines brings together 10 films from across the region in Asia On Screen with the theme “Breaking Barriers.” True to this year’s theme, the film festival exhibits films that feature characters who have unshackled themselves from their hardships. More so, this year’s Asia On Screen is a salute to the filmmakers who have contributed to a broader and deeper understanding of our diversity.

Here’s a quick rundown of the 10 films you need to catch at this year’s Asia On Screen.

Women of the Weeping River
Dir. Sheron Dayoc (Philippines)

Set in Mindanao, Women of the Weeping River presents the story of the feud between two clans through the perspectives of two women. In this film, Sheron Dayoc casts non-actors and gives viewers a closer look at their culture.

Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso
Dir. Raymond Red (Philippines)

Mga Rebeldeng May Kaso follows a group of young aspiring filmmakers after the Edsa People Power Revolution in the ’80s. Raymond Red brings us to the minds of young dreamers who are trying to find their way into the alternative cinema movement.

The Wailing
Dir. Na Hong-jin (South Korea)

After a strange Japanese man arrives in a small town, the villagers have started dying. When a detective’s daughter got affected by the mystery, he starts to look for clues on how to end the plague.

Dir. Boo Junfeng (Singapore)

This Un Certain Regard contender at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival tells the story of a correctional officer at a maximum security prison who becomes the apprentice of the chief executioner. Delving into the issue of capital punishment, Apprentice challenges our ideas of morality and integrity as much as it does to its protagonist.

Above It All
Dir. Ansey Keola (Laos)

In Above It All, viewers follow two individuals named Noy. The male Noy is a medical student who comes out as gay to his parents after he was pressured into marriage. Meanwhile, the female Noy is from a poor family. After graduation, she has to choose between her true love or an arranged marriage overseas to pay her family’s debts. This film is one of the first to tackle homosexuality in Laos’ Hmong minority.

You Mean the World to Me
Dir. Saw Teong Hin (Malaysia)

A semi-autobiographical work, You Mean the World to Me is about a director who decides to do a film about his family. However, chaos ensues when his family realizes that even their ugly side is revealed in the film.

How to Win at Checkers
Dir. Josh Kim (Thailand)

When his brother had to submit to the annual military draft, an 11-year-old orphan tries to do everything to convince him to change his fate. A coming-of-age film, How to Win at Checkers is Josh Kim’s directorial debut.

Dir. Dustin Nguyen (Vietnam)

This comedy film tackles the story of a poor lottery ticket vendor who discovers that one of her customers bought the winning ticket.

Emma (Mother)
Dir. Riri Riza (Indonesia)

Emma is a film about a woman who struggles to find serenity while her husband commits to polygamy—a widely accepted practice in Indonesia.

Lipstick Under My Burkha
Dir. Alankrita Shrivastava (India)

This film chronicles the adventures of four women and their desire to brave through the challenges of their conservative society.

Asia On Screen runs from Feb 22 to 28 at Greenbelt 3 Cinema 3. For tickets, visit Sure Seats.

Header image courtesy of Lipstick Under My Burkha

Read more:
What you need to know about Lav Diaz’s entry to the 68th Berlin Film Festival
How Brilliante Mendoza is saving Philippine cinema
Does the Southeast Asian film industry have more to offer than poverty porn?

TAGS: asia Asia On Screen Asia Society cinema Film movie nolisoli.ph