Films that showcases a strong filmmaking vision and voices, shifts cinematic boundaries and/ or presents subjects with groundbreaking effects, from both new and established talents
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A Quiet Dream 춘몽 

Director: Lu Zhang
101 minutes
Korean (English subtitles)
South Korea

IFFR@CinemAsia In this black-and-white mishmash of poetic moments and everyday occurrences, Yeri, the kind-hearted female owner of a makeshift bar in Seoul’s poverty-stricken Su-saek neighbourhood, is at the center of a group of otherwise exclusively male friends. There’s Ik-june, whose small crimes are contrasted by his sizeable ego; Jung-bum, a North-Korean defector with bipolar disorder; Yeri’s landlord Jong-bin, an epileptic …

Diamond Island 

Director: Davy Chou
101 minutes
Khmer (English subtitles)
France, Cambodia, Germany, Qatar, Thailand

Between the excessively lavish promotional video of the luxurious apartment district known as Diamond Island, and Bora’s impoverished village in the wilderness, the contrast could not be larger. Drawn by the allure of the still under construction project and the promise of being able to financially support his family, Bora leaves his village to become a construction worker at Diamond …

Lipstick Under My Burkha 

Director: Alankrita Shrivastava
117 minutes
Hindi (English subtitles)

Not every protagonist wears a burkha in this Indian feminist comedy, but the film’s title serves as an extraordinarily apt metaphor nonetheless. LIPSTICK UNDER MY BHURKA’s four female leads all differ in age, profession and even religion, but are united in their secretive undermining of the norms of a still predominantly male-centered India. Which is why unhappy housewife Shirin moonlights …

Mad World 一念無明 

Director: Chun Wong
101 minutes
Cantonese (English subtitles)
Hong Kong

After being discharged from a mental institution, Ah-Yang moves in with his father, claiming space in an already cramped apartment. It’s from this claustrophobic position where the two estranged relatives attempt to build a better, mutual future. Their efforts are hindered by traumatic events from the past, challenging the men’s claim for happiness. This highly emotional feature film debut from …

Soul on a String 皮繩上的魂 

Director: Zhang Yang
142 minutes
Mandarin (English subtitles)

The immaculate beauty of Tibet’s landscapes is what inspired director Zhang Yang to make a Buddhist western about revenge, hatred, reincarnation and enlightenment. Adapting not one, but two books by Tibetan author Tashi Dawa, SOUL ON A STRING portrays the quest of Tibetan cowboy and murderer Taibei, who’s trying to return a sacred rock to the mountain that symbolises Buddha’s …

The Road to Mandalay 再見瓦城 

Director: Midi Z
108 minutes
Southwestern Mandarin, Burmese (English subtitles)
Myanmar, Taiwan

IFFR@CinemAsia Burma is still being torn apart by the Karen conflict, one of the world’s longest-running civil wars. After the documentaries JADE MINERS and CITY OF JADE, Chinese-Burman director Midi Z returns to feature film with a tale of two Burman refugees trying to start a new life in Bangkok, Thailand. After a bone- chillingly silent smuggling trip across the border, …

Yamato (California) 

Director: Daisuke Miyazaki
119 minutes
Japanese (English subtitles)
Japan, USA

This “Miyazaki Daisuke joint” (an explicit reference to the socially engaged films of American director Spike Lee) is a hip hop fable portraying the tense relations and dynamics between Japan and the United States. Yamato has been laying in the shadow of an American Air Force base since the second World War, causing elements of American culture to seep into …