All About Love: Asian Films To Watch On Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! No matter if you’re single or if you have a partner, this is the day to celebrate all kinds of love: romantic, platonic, familial. Watching a film about love can tell you a lot about your own feelings and relationships you have with people. From rom-coms, through dramas to fantasy apocalyptic stories – love is everywhere and for everyone.

Here is a list of films that will make this day even more special. And if you still are not quite sure what to choose, you may take a quiz at the end and find out which film suits you best!



Upcoming Summer (2021)

Dir. Leste Chen, China

After Chen Chen (Zifeng Zhang), a high school student, discovers her mother’s love affair, she fails her college entrance exam and has to transfer schools. There, she meets Zheng Yu Xing (Lei Wu), who skipped the test. A white lie of Chen Chen begins a heartfelt relationship between the two, who join hands to face growing pains, and witness growth and metamorphoses of each other, in the summer of their unsettled youth.

The film has received many nominations and the actors’ impressive performances were recognized by many film festivals. Zifeng Zhang won the award for Actress of the Year at the 2021 China Movie Channel Awards.

Available on Netflix


Margarita with a Straw (2015)

Dir. Shonali Bose, India

Laila (Kalki Koechlin) is an aspiring writer, who is presented with an opportunity to study at the New York University. Her disability in the form of cerebral palsy does not stop her and she embarks on a journey far away from her home country. Laila enjoys her new life and falls in love with Khanum (Sayani Gupta), a blind girl of Pakistani-Bangladeshi descent. However, she is also attracted to her colleague Jared and finds herself confused about her sexuality. Margarita with a Straw tells the story of self-discovery, hardships of love and positioning oneself in a modern world as both queer and disabled person. This deeply moving film was recognized worldwide, receiving awards such as the NETPAC Award at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Shonali Bose’s 2005 film AMU screened at the 2006 CinemAsia Film Festival.

Available on Netflix


Miss Shampoo (2023)

Dir. Giddens Ko, Taiwan

If you’re looking for a night full of laughs and cheesy moments with your loved one(s), the new Giddens Ko film is the perfect choice. It tells the story of Tai (Yu-hong Hong), a newly appointed gang leader and Fen (Vivian Sung), an aspiring hairdresser. When the two accidentally meet, the sparks appear almost immediately, but their relationship is challenged by Tai’s risky and chaotic gangster life. At times absurd, but still surprisingly touching, the story is told by combining intimate shots of hair styling and impressive scenes of street fighting.

Giddens Ko’s film TILL WE MEET AGAIN (2021) was screened at the 2022 CinemAsia Film Festival and was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2021 Golden Horse Film Festival.

Available on Netflix


Your Name Engraved Herein (2020)

Dir. Kuang-Hui Liu, Taiwan, US

Being in love with your friend in an all-male school in 1987 Taiwan is certainly not easy. Jia-han (Edward Chen) and Birdy (Jing-hua Tseng) find out the hard way just how difficult their relationship can get amid family pressure, homophobia and social stigma. This deeply poignant story of a young, blooming love has the viewer entranced until the very end, when an unexpected twist changes the course of the protagonists’ lives.

The film received two awards at the 2020 Golden Horse Film Festival: for Best Cinematography as well as for the Best Original Film Song.

Available on Netflix 


Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (2021)

Dir. Hamaguchi Ryusuke, Japan

Three women fall in love, each in different circumstances. Meiko (Kotone Furukawa) is shocked to discover that the man who her best friend starts to have feelings for, is her ex. Nao (Katsuki Mori), on the other hand, is used by her class-friend-with-benefits for his revenge plan. Natsuko (Fusako Urabe) encounters a woman who seems to be someone from her past. These three distinct yet surprisingly familiar for the viewer stories are told through the complexities of relationships and coincidences that happen in the lives of women in love. Those who may be a bit lost in their love lives will find understanding and comfort in this story, full of warmth, sensitivity and tenderness. Hamaguhi’s mastery in enchanting the viewer has won him an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film for DRIVE MY CAR (2021).

His newest film EVIL DOES NOT EXIST (2023) is a part of the Panorama program at the upcoming edition of CinemAsia Film Festival.

Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy was a part of the program at the 2022 CinemAsia Film Festival.

Available on Cinemember


Saving Face (2004)

Dir. Alice Wu, US

Wil (Michelle Krusiec) is living her life as a successful surgeon in New York City. She has a good relationship with her mother, but she dares not to reveal her sexuality. In a shocking turn of events, she finds out that she’s not the only one with secrets, as she discovers that her 48-year-old mother, Hwei-Lan (Joan Chen), is pregnant. Wil has to accept her mother into her home, which makes her relationship with openly gay Vivian (Lynn Chen), even more difficult. Alice Wu conveys a beautiful message about the undefeated power of love and family.

Saving Face won the Viewer’s Choice Award at the 2005 Golden Horse Film Festival.

This comedy-drama is a perfect choice for a romantic evening spent on a couch with your significant other.

Available on Amazon Prime


Your Name (2016)

Dir. Makoto Shinkai, Japan

Mitsuha and Taki live their ordinary teenage lives – Mitsuha as a girl from rural Japan and Taki as a student in Tokyo. When their bodies become magically switched, both of them decide to do everything in their power to meet each other and save the world from an approaching comet. This beautiful story of young love is accompanied by music from the Japanese rock band RADWIMPS, who has a history of working on the director’s productions and always makes his films even more exciting. Shinkai’s animation has received worldwide acclaim on multiple festivals, but more importantly, it won the hearts of anime fans with its gentle scenes and fantastic storytelling.

Available on Videoland


Suzhou River (2000)

Dir. Lou Ye, China

Not all love stories have a happy ending… The renowned Chinese director, Lou Ye, takes the viewer on a complex journey through the dark, rainy center of contemporary Shanghai, where Moudan (Zhou Xun) and Mardar (Jia Hongsheng) fall in love. This tragic story of a motorbike courier and the daughter of a rich liquor importer builds on the gritty landscape of China and plays into the stylistic approach of the “Sixth Generation” Chinese filmmakers, who dismissed the conventions of a typical romance film.

Suzhou River won the Tiger Award at the 2000 International Film Festival Rotterdam. Two of Lou Ye’s films were screened at CinemAsia Film Festival – SATURDAY FICTION (2019) and BLIND MASSAGE (2014), which received the award for Best Feature Film at the 2014 Golden Horse Film Festival.

Available on MUBI


Shakespeare Wallah (1965)

Dir. James Ivory, India

Shakespeare plays meet postcolonial India in the spectacular film of Merchant Ivory Productions, which set off their success, Shakespeare Wallah. While the traveling theater group struggles to compete with the uprising Bollywood film industry, Lizzie (Felicity Kendal), the troup’s ingénue, develops feelings for Sanju (Shashi Kapoor), a wealthy Indian playboy. Their heated romance, however, is hindered by Manjula (Madhur Jaffrey), a fiery Indian film star who is also in love with Sanju.

The role of Majula has brought the actress Madhur Jaffrey the award for Best Actress at the 1965 Berlin International Film Festival.

Available on Cinemember



If the spirit of the Cupid is with you even after the Valentine’s Day, and you still find yourself, as the great Wong Kar-Wai would say, “in the mood for love”, you can check out these romance films at the upcoming CinemAsia Film Festival.


Be With Me (2023)

Dir. Hwarng Wern-ying, Taiwan

Faye  is an art director and a strong-minded woman who returns to her hometown Chiayi to take care of her ailing father. Struggling with her career and love life, her return home sparks a mental journey of recollection as she thinks back on her grandfather and her past relationships.
Director HWARNG Wern-ying is an award-winning art director and the long-time collaborator of Taiwanese auteur HOU Hsiao-hsien. Her first venture into directing is a semi-autobiographical portrait of generations of a family as they navigate their lives through turbulent times, but with a kindness that is never lost on the audience.

BE WITH ME was produced by Hou Hsiao-hsien, a highly rewarded filmmaker and producer in the industry. His film LE VOYAGE DU BALLON ROUGE (2007) screened at the 2008 CinemAsia Film Festival. He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1989 for his film A City of Sadness (1989), and the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 for The Assassin (2015) Other highly regarded works of his include Raise the Red Lantern (as producer, 1991), The Puppetmaster (1993) and Flowers of Shanghai (1998).

Get your tickets here.


Guián (2023)

Dir. Nicole Chi Amén, Costa Rica

Throughout her life, filmmaker Nicole CHI AMÉN was unable to communicate with her grandmother, Guián, in words. Her grandmother never learned Spanish, and she never learned Chinese. Upon Guián’s passing, Nicole picks up her camera to visit the people who knew Guián and travels to Guián’s hometown in China. Her images compose a love letter to the grandmother she knew and an imagined conversation with the grandmother she did not.

Guián is an intimate journey of roots-searching told in beautiful, loving tenderness. It is about the linguistic differences that separate, but above all, the familial ties that bind. Chi Amén’s feature documentary debut spans generations and continents, taking the audience along her personal journey to answer the questions she was never able to ask.

This incredibly moving documentary is a reminder to cherish and love not only our partners, but also our family.

Get your tickets here.


Life Unrehearsed (2022)

Dir. Banpark Jieun, Germany, South Korea

Over three decades ago, Korean migrant nurses LEE Soo-hyun and KIM In-sun met at a Korean Christian Women’s Association retreat in Germany and fell in love. Now in their seventies, their youthful love remains unchanged, despite the challenges and difficulties of living in a foreign country. This delicate documentary lovingly reflects the elderly couple’s life journey, their resilience, and their activism, interwoven with scenes of mundane domesticity. Both Soo-hyun and In-sun regularly attend protests championing queer rights and women’s rights both in Seoul and Berlin, despite opposition from their own community. They have stood in solidarity with other foreigners and diasporic communities in Berlin through their servitude, first as nurses, then as founding members of an international hospice for immigrants.

Get your tickets here.


With CinemAsia you can celebrate all kinds of love, in whatever shapes, times and personas they come in. Love always is there, sometimes buzzing openly, other times it can be hidden in the innermost nook of our hearts. Films are a great way to connect with our emotions and celebrate this feeling.

If you are still unsure which film to choose, you should take a quick quiz and find out what to watch this Valentine’s Day! Click here to take the quiz.




Author: Julia Kobielska