CinemAsia returns to Amsterdam from 4th to 8th March for its 13th edition bringing with it another fantastic selection of recent East Asian cinema. This year’s festival opens with the European premiere of Japanese indie Mrs Noisy, and closes with heartwarming Taiwanese drama Heavy Craving, both of which are directed by female filmmakers.
- Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom – a frustrated teacher is dismayed to learn he’s being sent to a remote mountain outpost but is eventually won over by the kids. Review.
- Balloon – Tibetan-language drama from Pema Tseden (Jinpa) following a sheep farming family facing a crisis thanks to the recently instituted One Child Policy. Review.
- Saturday Fiction – Gong Li stars as an actress returning to Shanghai after a long absence to star in a play directed by an old flame but may have ulterior motives in the latest from Lou Ye.
- The River in Me – documentary exploring traditional folksong in modern China
- The Wild Goose Lake – Black Coal, Thin Ice’s Diao Yinan returns with another neo noir in which a smalltime mob boss tries to survive after he kills a policeman by mistake.
- Fagara – a young woman discovers the existence of two half-sisters, one from Taiwan and the other mainland China, following the death of her estranged father. Review.
- Little Q – touching drama following the life of a guide dog who is assigned to a grumpy pastry chef. Review.
- Suk Suk – voted the best HK film of 2019 by the Hong Kong Film Critics Society, Suk Suk follows two older men who meet by chance and fall in love after decades of keeping their true identities secret.
- A Man Called Ahok – biopic of controversial political figure Basuki Tjahaja Purnama.
- Bumi Manusia – period romance adapted from the novel by Pramoedya Ananta Toer in which a member of the Javanese royal family falls for a girl who is half-Dutch.
- Gundala – superhero action from Joko Anwar
- Homecoming – a couple get into an accident on the way to spend Eid with family bringing them into contact with the mysterious Santi.
- Complicity – an undocumented man from China embraces his cover identity and takes a job in a soba restaurant but struggles to maintain his sense of self in Chikaura’s sensitive drama. Review.
- Mrs Noisy – a writer struggling to come up with new material after winning a major award is distracted by a vendetta with her noisy neighbour.
- Tezuka’s Barbara – Macoto Tezka adapts the manga by his famous father in which a novelist (Goro Inagaki) becomes obsessed with a woman he picks up off the street (Fumi Nikaido).
- Exit – an unemployed rock climbing enthusiast finds himself in his element when his family is trapped by a mysterious white mist in a high rise restaurant he booked for his mother’s 70th birthday only because an old flame works there. Review.
- Moonlit Winter – drama in which a teenage girl finds a love letter addressed to her recently divorced mother and determines to identify the sender, little knowing the secret her mother has been keeping.
- Princess Aya – a princess with the power to turn into an animal marries an enemy prince to broker peace but finds herself beset by new threats in this charming animation.
- Yellow Ribbon – Ju Hyun-sook’s documentary focussing on the aftermath of the Sewol ferry disaster.
- Two Sisters – horror in which a young woman is discharged from a psychiatric hospital into the care of her novelist sister only to discover a new threat lurking in the family home.
- John Denver Trending – youth drama based on a true story in which a farm boy’s life is turned upside down when a video of him beating up a classmate goes viral.
- Overseas – documentary following those training to become overseas domestic helpers.
- Verdict – a woman suffering domestic abuse tries to get help after her drunken husband hurts their child but struggles to find justice in a patriarchal society.
- Detention – Lonely high schooler Fang falls for guidance councillor Zhang who alone seems to understand her. She joins his secret study group to read banned books, but Zhang soon “disappears” while only Fang and another student seem to remember him in this gothic horror set during Taiwan’s repressive martial law period.
- Heavy Craving – a lunch lady hoping to lose weight strikes up unexpected friendships with a deliveryman and a cross-dressing student. Review.
CinemAsia takes place in Amsterdam from 4th to 8th March, 2020. Full details for all the films can be found on the official website where tickets are already on sale, and you can keep up with all the latest news by following the festival on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.