Every year since its creation in 1956, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) invites the film industries of various countries to submit their best film for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The award is presented annually by the Academy to a feature-length motion picture produced outside the United States that contains primarily non-English dialogue and that was released theatrically in their respective countries between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

Here are the Asian Submissions for Best Foreign Language Film. There are some excellent movies in this bunch and we have seen and reviewed already some of them.

 

 BANGLADESH
No Bed Of Roses by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki

“No Bed of Roses” throws many points of thought for its audience about life and relationship. The movie creates a broad spectrum for us to think and come up with own ideas rather than forcing any direct statements.

It’s a different story telling approach that wins and kudos to the entire team of “No Bed of Roses” for giving us such a classical poetry on silver screen. – Sankha Ray 

 

 CAMBODIA
Graves Without a Name” by Rithy Panh

A 13-year-old boy who loses most of his family begins a search for their graves in Rithy Panh’s exploration of the lasting effects of the Cambodian genocide.

Cambodian-born, France-based filmmaker Rithy Panh has dedicated much of his career to investigating the campaign of genocide undertaken by the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian Civil War and memorializing its victims. “Graves Without a Name” continues this project, focusing less on the atrocities committed and more on the spiritual well-being of those affected — whether living or dead.

 

  CHINA
“Hidden Man” by Jiang Wen

Released in Chinese theaters on July 13, “Hidden Man” made 583 million yuan ($84.2 million), was selected to screen at the Toronto International Film Festival and received 6 nominations from this year’s Golden Horse Awards.

The film follows a young swordsman who returns home to try and solve a five-year-old murder case and it is considered the third installment of Jiang Wen’s gangster trilogy.

 

 GEORGIA
Namme by Zaza Khalvashi

“Namme” is a film of beauty, a meditation on time and change as natural forces within ourselves and our surroundings. With fantastic cinematography, this is surely a movie much in line with its director’s demand for a more “poetic cinema”.

Whatever one’s stance might be on themes such as spirituality, for those still believing in the art of film, the beauty of the frame, there is simply no getting around this film. – Rouven Linnarz

 

HONG KONG
Operation Red Seaby Dante Lam

While not as flawless as some of its counterparts in this recent trend of military-heavy action films emerging, those that do show up are nowhere near as prominent as the positives which make ‘Operation Red Sea’ really enjoyable.

Give this a shot if you’re into the previous entries in this style, a fan of the creative parties involved or looking for plenty of adrenaline-charged action in your films, while those that don’t appreciate those terms should avoid altogether. – Don Anelli

 

INDIA
Village Rockstarsby Rima Das

Writing, directing, editing, doing the camera work, costume design and most of the production assignments, Rima Das, pretty much like her petite central heroine, is a roaring one woman army.

While occasionally pondering into the conventionality of the coming-of-age sub-genre, “Village Rockstars” mostly remains an earthling full of life, joy and push towards the glorious feeling of believing in oneself and their little. – Shikhar Verma

 

 IRAN
“No Date, No Signature” by Vahid Jalilvand

Kaveh Nariman is a coroner in the medical examiner’s office. One day at his work he meets a corpse which is very familiar to him.
“No Date, No Signature” scrutinizes notions of cowardice, suspicion, and honesty through a moral dilemma and with its exceptionally strong acting ensemble and screenplay proves that the rising of the Iranian cinema in recent years is no coincidence.

 

 IRAQ
“The Journey” by Mohamed Al-Daradji

As Sara stands on the cusp of committing an unthinkable act, an unforeseen and awkward encounter gives her the opportunity to witness the potential consequences of her destructive action.

But is this a second chance or an admission of guilt? – IMDB

 

INDONESIA
Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts” by Mouly Surya

Taking on the basic concept of the western, that “this is a men’s world”, Mouly Surya turns completely against it, by presenting a story that proves how wrong this conception is, (…) The film is imbued with a distinct feminist tone that seems to fit the western setting in surprisingly good fashion.

“Marlina” is a film with very few faults, that manages to present a completely different take on the western, through an artful, meaningful and quite entertaining approach. – Panos Kotzathanasis

 

 JAPAN
 “Shoplifters” by Hirokazu Kore-eda

Similarly to “Like Father, like Son”, Koreeda explores the concept of family and what, actually, makes one. Again, he stresses the fact that blood relations are not as important as people usually consider, as much as the fact that love can come from any place.

“Shoplifters” is a genuine Koreeda film, a masterful family drama, and one of his best latest works, which definitely says something considering the quality of all of his films. – Panos Kotzathanasis

 

 LEBANON
“Capernaum” by Nadine Labaki

A politically-charged fable, featuring mostly non-professional actors, about a child who launches a lawsuit against his parents.

Shot on location in Beirut over six months, “Capernaum” has been compared to the likes of  De Sica’s neorealist masterpiece “Bicycle Thieves” and Rossellini’s “Germany, Year Zero” for power and assertiveness.

 

NEPAL
“Panchayat” by Shivam Adhikari

Set in 1974 and starring Neeta Dhungana in the lead role, “Panchayat” is a Nepalese social drama, directed and written by Shivam Adhikari and produced by Sushanta Shrestha and Sankhar Shrestha, under the banner Kalawati Films with NepalFlix and Hetauda Movies.

The “Panchayat” was the political system of Nepal from 1960 to 1990 and it was based on the system of self-governance historically prevalent in South Asia. The film presents a look at it through the women point of view.

 

PAKISTAN
“Cake” by Asim Abbasi

A story about love, loss and passage of time, the film narrates the lives of two sisters, one of whom lives abroad and the other is left behind and it showcases their conflicts in dealing with their relationships and parents.

Through its director Asim Abbasi’s own enigmatic words: “Cake is like a silent observer at every big moment of our lives. It will be interesting to see how many times the audience will see a cake popping up in the frame.”

 

 PALESTINE
“Ghost Hunting” by Raed Andoni

Winner of the first-ever Silver Bear for best documentary at the Berlinale, “Ghost Hunting” is a brave piece of work where former inmates discuss prison life at Israel’s main interrogation center – Moskobiya – in Jerusalem.

Long repressed and undealt emotions are brought to the fore in this re-enactment of interrogations and prison life and the director himself tries to come to terms with his own experience in Moskobiya years before.

 

 PHILIPPINES
“Signal Rock” by Chito S. Roño

The film is set in the 90s and is based on the trues story of the Christian’s boy Intoy, who is left to care for his parents after his sister Vicky (like many Filipino women) goes to work abroad.

In order to stay in touch with her, Intoy has to scramble up scraggly strange rock formations – the only place that has cell signal on the remote island where he lives.

 

 SINGAPORE
Buffalo Boys” by Mike Wiluan

John Radel’s cinematography is one of the production’s greatest assets, with him shooting both the action and the dramatic sequences artfully, while taking full advantage of the Indonesian landscape, which seems to be a perfect fit for westerns.

“Buffalo Boys” has many merits, particularly regarding the action part of the film and the production values, but I felt that it would benefit much if the director knew exactly what he wanted to do and follow it to the end. Definitely deserves a watch though. – Panos Kotzathanasis

 

 SOUTH KOREA
Burning” by Lee Chang-dong

Acclaimed Korean director Lee Chang-dong is back after 8 years of and it was well worth the wait!  In his parallel adaptation of the minimalist Murakami’s short story Bun Burning and William Faulkner’s own Burn Burning, the lives of three young South Koreans cross and clash, unleashing class frustration, male insecurity and obscure obsessions.

Lee Chang-dong and co-scriptwriter have blended two novels from different eras and countries, embedded them in a very South Korean contest and managed to create a beautiful, contemporary and at the same time universal tale of youth discomfort. – Adriana Rosati

 

THAILAND
“Malila: The Farewell Flower” by Anucha Boonyawatana

The film had its premiere at Busan International Film Festival where it won Kim Jiseok Award.

Infused with lyrical spirituality and reminiscent of fellow countryman and auteur Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s work, Malila is the story of two former lovers who reconnect in their common struggle to come to terms with death and loss.

 

 TAIWAN
The Great Buddha +” by Huang Hsin-yao

Strictly speaking, “The Great Buddha +” can be placed in the Thriller box but there are many more layers and keys to read it as the movie flies above the genres and lightly mixes black comedy, noir, social commentary and exposé of society corruption. But its peeping game is also a sour metaphor of the airtight bubbles and cliques that constitute our life and in specific of the impermeability of social classes.

An art-house movie with a humorous dark heart and a sarcastic observation of social insurmountable divide, “The Great Buddha +” is a very high starting point for first-time feature director Huang and deserves wide visibility and recognition. – Adriana Rosati

 

VIETNAM
The Taylor” by Trần Bửu Lộc & Nguyễn Lê Phương Khanh

“The Tailor” is a 35mm costume film loosely based on a script by A Type Machine. A huge success in Vietnam, after 1 month it had earned more than 60 billion VND in theatrical revenues.

The movie is a joyful and lighthearted homage to Ao Dai, the traditional costume of Vietnam. Playing with nostalgia and time-traveling, it shows a charming and accurate reconstruction of Saigon of the roaring 60s.

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On paper I am an Italian living in London, in reality I was born and bread in a popcorn bucket. I've loved cinema since I was a little child and I’ve always had a passion and interest for Asian (especially Japanese) pop culture, food and traditions, but on the cinema side, my big, first love is Hong Kong Cinema. Then - by a sort of osmosis - I have expanded my love and appreciation to the cinematography of other Asian countries. I like action, heroic bloodshed, wu-xia, Shaw Bros (even if it’s not my specialty), Anime, and also more auteur-ish movies. Anything that is good, really, but I am allergic to rom-com (unless it’s a HK rom-com, possibly featuring Andy Lau in his 20s)"