With all of the Hollywood hype fading away after the yearly dose of saccharine that was the Academy Awards, it’s time to refresh the palate with some great films away from the western mainstream. From hyper-violence movie bloodbaths to comic casino thrillers, there’s something for everyone, so here’s some of the best movies from the Far East.
One of the biggest breakthrough hits of recent years came from the Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. Spirited Away was the perfect culmination of the studio’s work with a haunting take on the mysteries of childhood that became the first example of an anime film winning an Oscar.
But Japan has also shown an unparalleled ability to fill our cinema screens with blood, as seen in 2010’s harrowing 13 Assassins and 2000’s Battle Royale that was a kind of ultra-violent blend of Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games that featured Quentin Tarantino amongst its admirers.
China has also had a fascinating cinematic legacy with arthouse films like 1984’s Yellow Earth documenting a poetic take on the nation’s communist past. And the nation’s martial arts movies also recently reached a high watermark with 2000’s stunning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Whereas the Chinese enclave of Hong Kong enjoyed a high point in its film-making in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the likes of the evocative drama Chungking Express.
There was even the rise of a new gambling movie genre with Wong Jing’s God of Gamblers cleverly illustrating the upheavals of the new post-communist society that has seen Macau become a world gambling centre that has fought to compete with the omnipresent online casino sites. And look no further than Betway’s online roulette for an example of how popular digital casino entertainment has become in the 21st century.
The turn of the century also brought other nations like South Korea to the attention of many more discerning film fans thanks to some striking movies such as 2005’s Sympathy for Lady Vengeance and the neo-horror title A Tale of Two Sisters. But there was a lighter side in South Korea’s movie output too with 2006’s The Host unveiling the kind of monster-based sci-fi thrills that Steven Spielberg could only dream of.
And with Indonesia also joining the fun with the hyper-violent The Raid showing Hollywood that it could compete on a global stage, it looks like just like the online casinos, movies from the Far East will be taking up an increasing amount of our screen time in the near future.