WHAT TO WATCH IN THEATRES THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?
Now the Holiday season has started, you may find yourself on the fence about what to watch after dinner during these rainy days. We want to share with you some of the magnificent films available now in theatres as well as on streaming platforms that you can enjoy on your own or with your loved ones.
Starting with theatres, December and January is definitely a month blooming with fantastic Asian cinema. If you’re a fan of animation, you can enjoy a wide selection of Studio Ghibli films in LAB111 like My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, the newest Studio Ghibli’s production, The Boy and the Heron and many others. Check out all the screening dates here: https://www.lab111.nl/ghibli/
The Boy and the Heron (2023)
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, Japan
Even if you’re not the greatest fan of animation, you have probably heard of the newest Studio Ghibli’s production, The Boy and the Heron (2023). Hayao Miyazaki’s latest film is coming to the cinemas in December and will continue to screen in January. This exciting and incredibly cinematic film awakens the inner child who wants to explore the world and find happiness in every adventure.
Screenings in December and January
LAB111, Studio/K, Kriterion, Rialto de Pijp, Rialto VU
If you’d rather watch a non-animated film, we got you covered! Starting with one of the most renowned film directors of his time, you can now catch Wong Kar Wai’s two titles on the big screen:
Chungking Express (1994) ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Dir. Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong
One of Wong Kar Wai’s most acclaimed films which brings us the stories of two heartbroken cops (Takeshi Kaneshiro and Tony Leung Chiu Wai) who find themselves at a rather peculiar place in the neighbourhood – a fast food stall called Midnight Express, where an energetic and curious Faye (Faye Wong) blasts nostalgic American hits.
At the Midnight Express hearts are broken, reunited and burning with desire, creating a hypnotising labyrinth of grasping shots combined with magically contrasting music from Frankie Chan. This film meanders in your head, confusing you but at the very same time pushing you further into the maze of Hong Kong’s street life.
Screenings until January 5
In The Mood For Love (2000) ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Dir. Wong Kar Wai, Hong Kong, France
If you are not yet In the Mood for Love, you better rush to the theatres now!
This romantic drama follows two neighbours (Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung) whose partners have an affair with each other. Stuck in their four walls, the two depart on a love-filled mission to find out the beginning of their spouses’ intrigue. The astonishingly sensual cinematography brings your body into the film, making you more and more engaged in this secret, longing feeling – as if you were in the very corridor separating these two curious lovers.
Screenings until January 8
If you’re looking for an award-winning performance, this Japanese-German production will definitely live up to your expectations!
Perfect Days (2023) ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Dir. Wim Wenders, Japan, Germany
When Hirayama (Kôji Yakusho), a toilet cleaner from Tokyo least expects it, his peaceful and structured life is shaken by some unexpected encounters which lead to some hidden details from his past resurface. This deeply moving and heartwarming film by Wim Wnders feels like a warm hug on a cold day and a reassurance that beauty can be found everywhere all around us. Perfect Days’ Kôji Yakusho won the Best Actor Award at the 76th Cannes Film Festival.
Screenings in December and January
For those who want to engross themselves in a thrilling action, the screenings of a brand new Godzilla film are now available in various cinemas:
Godzilla Minus One (2023)
Dir. Takashi Yamazaki, Japan
Just as Japan recovers from World War II, a new horror approaches. A gigantic, hungry for the human flesh monster emerges from the waters of the Pacific, terrorising the entire country. Godzilla’s viciousness makes you happy to be safe in your seat, enjoying a warm drink – contrary to Kōichi (Ryunosuke Kamiki) who is trying his very best in the ill-matched battle against the monstrosity.
Another film hit which was highly anticipated and received warmly by many is still waiting for you in some theatres, but you better hurry since it will soon disappear from the big sceens!
Past Lives (2023)
Dir. Celine Song, South Korea
Scattered through 24 years, the story of two childhood friends, Hae-sung (Teo Yoo) and Na-young (Greta Lee) encapsulates feelings of love, friendship, longing and hope. When the two finally reunite on a sunny day in New York City, it is clear that they are connected by a stronger force than coincidence. Celine Song beautifully captures the intimacy of the main characters with picturesque shots accompanied by music from Christoper Bear and Daniel Rossen, creating a matrix of emotions for the viewer.
Dir. Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan
Saori (Sakura Andō) is the mother of young Minato (Sōya Kurokawa) who one day starts acting strangely. Worried, Saori reaches out to the school Minato attends and accuses his homeroom teacher (Eita Nagayama), but as the story progresses, they both are shocked to find out the truth about little Minato. Monster is the very last project of the renowned Ryuichi Sakamoto, whose music phenomenally accompanies this mysterious story.
Screenings from January
Studio/K, Kriterion, Rialto de Pijp, Rialto VU
ENGLISH SUBTITLES: https://rialtofilm.nl/nl/films/1690/monster-expat-cinema
If you have seen all the hot premieres this year, we also have some tips for the films that are making their comeback in the upcoming weeks:
Raise the Red Lantern (1991) ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Dir. Yimou Zhang, China
Soon after her father’s death, young and strikingly beautiful Songlian (Gong Li) finds herself in a complicated place. As the third concubine of a rich and influential Master Chen (Ma Jingwu), she is entangled in a labyrinth of intrigue, secrets and jealousy with the other women, Zhuoyan (Cao Cuifeng) and Meishan (He Caifei). Yimou Zhang’s alluring expressiveness composes an extraordinary production which exceeds the limits of its time.
Insiang (1976) ENGLISH SUBTITLES
Dir. Lino Brocka, Philippines
In the four walls of a shabby house in Tondo, Insiang (Hilda Koronel) lives with her frustrated and anger-driven mother Tanya (Mona Lisa) whose jealousy for her daughter complicates their relationship. Their situation becomes even worse when Tanya brings home her new lover, Dado (Ruel Vernal) who rapes Insiang and blames it on her. As their complex love lives progress, the mother-daughter duo finds an unexpected bond with each other. This story, adapted from the screenwriter Mario O’Hara’s teleplay, directed by Lino Brocka, pushes for change and the need for freedom.
The Housemaid (1960)
Dir. Kim Ki-young, South Korea
With the birth of their third child approaching, Kim Dong-sik (Kim Jin-kyu) and his wife (Ju Jeung-ryu) move to a bigger house. They soon realise that it is too much for them to take care of work, their kids and a house. When a new housemaid Myung-sook (Um Aing-ran) is hired, the family’s life is turned upside down, especially when she tries to seduce Mr. Kim. Named “one of the top three Korean films of all time”, this legendary South Korean production is worth making the trip to the cinema to witness the mastery of Kim Ki-young.
Screenings on 05.01 and 29.01
In whichever mood you are this Holiday season, we hope at least one of these films inspired you to spend time with cinema. Films are like contacts you put in your eyes – with every single one you decide to watch, you put in a different lens and it takes you to places you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
And just like contacts, you pick films to watch when you can’t see clearly. This is the role of cinema – to aid you when you’re feeling down, overwhelmed or so happy you need to share it with someone, even if it’s just a bunch of fictional characters on screen. It makes every cell in your body move and buzz with emotion, making you excited to set on this new journey of experiencing film.
With this we wish you all the happiest, warmest and most beautiful Holidays and a wonderful start in the New Year!
CinemAsia Film Festival Team