32 Asian Arthouse Films That You Can Watch For Your Virtual Travel

South Korea Arthouse Films

Broker

Asian Arthouse Films: Broker (South Korea)

Broker is a 2022 South Korean drama film directed and written by Hirokazu Kore-eda starring Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona, Lee Ji-eun, and Lee Joo-young. The film revolves around characters associated with baby boxes, which allow infants to be dropped off anonymously to be cared for by others.

Decision to Leave

Asian Arthouse Films: Decision to Leave (South Korea)

A detective investigating a man’s death in the mountains ends up meeting and developing feelings for the dead man’s mysterious wife in the course of his dogged sleuthing.

Parasite

Asian Arthouse Films: Parasite (South Korea)

Greed and class discrimination threaten the newly formed symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan.

Burning

Asian Arthouse Films: Burning (South Korea)

Jong-soo runs into Hae-mi, a girl who once lived in his neighborhood, and she asks him to watch her cat while she’s out of town. When she returns, she introduces him to Ben, a man she met on the trip. Ben proceeds to tell Jong-soo about his hobby.

The Day After

Asian Arthouse Films: The Day After (South Korea)

When a woman discovers a love poem that was written for her husband, she mistakenly believes that the author is her husband’s new secretary.

Okja

Asian Arthouse Films: Okja (South Korea)

For 10 idyllic years, young Mija has been caretaker and constant companion to Okja – a massive animal and an even bigger friend – at her home in the mountains of South Korea. But that changes when family-owned, multinational conglomerate Mirando Corporation takes Okja for themselves and transports her to New York, where an image-obsessed and self-promoting CEO has big plans for Mija’s dearest friend. With no particular plan but single-minded in intent, Mija sets out on a rescue mission.

The Handmaiden

Asian Arthouse Films: The Handmaiden (South Korea)

With help from an orphaned pickpocket (Kim Tae-ri), a Korean con man (Ha Jung-woo) devises an elaborate plot to seduce and bilk a Japanese woman (Kim Min-hee) out of her inheritance.

In Another Country

Asian Arthouse Films: In Another Country (South Korea)

Three separate stories about French women who travel to a Korean seaside town.

The Taste of Money

Asian Arthouse Films: The Taste of Money (South Korea)

The assistant of a wealthy socialite reveals her husband’s salacious affair. The fallout entangles him in a web of sex, love and deceit that could threaten his life and career.

Thailand Arthouse Films

Memoria*

Asian Arthouse Films: Memoria (Thailand)

*produced with Colombia, France, Germany, Mexico, and the UK

A Scottish woman, after hearing a loud ‘bang’ at daybreak, begins experiencing a mysterious sensory syndrome while traversing the jungles of Colombia.

Iran Arthouse Films

A Hero

Asian Arthouse Films: A Hero (Iran)

Rahim is in prison because of a debt he was unable to repay. During a two-day leave, he tries to convince his creditor to withdraw his complaint against the payment of part of the sum, however things don’t go as planned.

3 Faces

Asian Arthouse Films: 3 Faces (Iran)

Actress Behnaz Jafari is distraught when she comes across a young girl’s video plea for help after her family prevents her from taking up her studies at the Tehran drama conservatory. Behnaz abandons her shoot and turns to filmmaker Jafar Panahi to help with the young girl’s troubles. They travel by car to the rural Northwest, where they have amusing encounters with the charming and generous folk of the girl’s mountain village. But Behnaz and Jafar also discover that old traditions die hard.

The Salesman

Asian Arthouse Films: The Salesman (Iran)

After their flat becomes damaged, Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti), a young couple living in Tehran, Iran, must move into another apartment. Once relocated, a sudden eruption of violence linked to the previous tenant of their new home dramatically changes their lives, creating a simmering tension between husband and wife.

Israel Arthouse Films

Ahed’s Knee*

Asian Arthouse Films: Ahed’s Knee (Israel)

*produced with France

An Israeli filmmaker in his mid-40s arrives in a remote village at the far end of the desert to present one of his films. There, he meets an officer for the Ministry of Culture and finds himself fighting for his freedoms and his mother’s life.

Japan Arthouse Films

Drive My Car

Asian Arthouse Films: Drive My Car (Japan)

An aging, widowed actor seeks a chauffeur. The actor turns to his go-to mechanic, who ends up recommending a 20-year-old girl. Despite their initial misgivings, a very special relationship develops between the two.

Asako I & II

Asian Arthouse Films: Asako I & II (Japan)


Asako meets and falls madly in love with drifter Baku who one day drifts right out of her life. Two years later, working in Tokyo, Asako sees Baku again — or, rather, a young, solid businessman named Ryohei who bears a striking resemblance to her old flame. They begin to build a happy life together until traces of Asako’s past start to resurface.

Shoplifters

Asian Arthouse Films: Shoplifters (Japan)

On the margins of Tokyo, a dysfunctional band of outsiders is united by fierce loyalty and a penchant for petty theft. When the young son is arrested, secrets are exposed that upend their tenuous, below-the-radar existence.

Radiance

Asian Arthouse Films: Radiance (Japan)

A photographer who loses sight and a career-focused woman share a chance meeting and bond over photographs.

Our Little Sister

Asian Arthouse Film: Our Little Sister (Japan)

After the death of their estranged father, three siblings (Haruka Ayase, Masami Nagasawa, Kaho) invite their half sister (Suzu Hirose) to live with them.

Still the Water

Asian Arthouse Films: Still the Water (Japan)

Still the Water is a 2014 Japanese romance film directed by Naomi Kawase. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. It was screened in the Contemporary World Cinema section at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.

Like Father, Like Son

Asian Arthouse Films: Like Father, Like Son (Japan)

Ryota learns that his biological son was switched at birth with the boy he has raised, and he must make a life-impacting decision between his two sons.

Shield of Straw

Asian Arthouse Films: Shield of Straw (Japan)

Shield of Straw is a 2013 Japanese spy thriller film directed by Takashi Miike. It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and it was released on 26 April 2013.

Like Someone in Love*

Asian Arthouse Films: Like Someone in Love (Japan)

An elderly man (Tadashi Okuno) and a student/escort girl (Rin Takanashi) take on different roles over the course of their unusual relationship.

*produced with France

China Arthouse Films

The Wild Goose Lake

Asian Arthouse Films: The Wild Goose Lake (China)

A gangster ends up making a mistake that causes every gun on both sides of the law to point at him. While on the run, he comes across a mysterious woman who might get him out of trouble or make things worse.

Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood*

Asian Arthouse Films: Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (China)

*produced with the UK and the US

Actor Rick Dalton gained fame and fortune by starring in a 1950s television Western, but is now struggling to find meaningful work in a Hollywood that he doesn’t recognize anymore. He spends most of his time drinking and palling around with Cliff Booth, his easygoing best friend and longtime stunt double. Rick also happens to live next door to Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate — the filmmaker and budding actress whose futures will forever be altered by members of the Manson Family.

Ash is Purest White

Asian Arthouse Films: Ash is Purest White (China)

In an industrial city in China, a young dancer named Qiao falls in love with a mobster named Bin. When a fight breaks out between rival gangs, Qiao uses a gun to protect Bin and is sent to prison for five years.

Mountains May Depart*

Asian Arthouse Films: Mountains May Depart (China)

*produced with Japan and France

On the cusp of the capitalist explosion in China, Shen Tao has two suitors: Zhang, an aspiring entrepreneur, and his best friend Liangzi, who works in a coal mine. Shen Tao decides to marry Zhang – a man with a future.

The Assassin*

Asian Arthouse Films: The Assassin (China)

*produced with Taiwan, Hong Kong and France

During the ninth century, a general’s young daughter is kidnapped and trained to become an exceptional assassin. When she doesn’t execute a mission, she is ordered to kill her betrothed, forcing her to choose between love, family and the assassins.

A Touch of Sin

Asian Arthouse Films: A Touch of Sin (China)

Four outcasts on the edges of a rapidly changing China channel their rage into a bloody rampage.

Kazakhstan Arthouse Films

Ayka

Asian Arthouse Films: Ayka (Kazakhstan)

Ayka, a young woman from Kyrgyzstan, has just enough money to make ends meet. When she becomes pregnant, she does not know how to feed the child, and leaves her son immediately after birth and flees.

Lebanon Arthouse Films

Capernaum

Asian Arthouse Films: Capernaum (Lebanon)

After running away from his negligent parents, committing a violent crime and being sentenced to five years in jail, a hardened, streetwise 12-year-old Lebanese boy sues his parents in protest of the life they have given him.

Philippines Arthouse Films

Ma’ Rosa

Asian Arthouse Films: Ma’ Rosa (Philippines)

Rosa’s children will do anything to bail their parents out of jail after they are busted by corrupt cops.

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