Plot: A crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.
Note: This is my favorite Kurosawa movie. It is so old but at the same time very modern. I usually don't think that modern thrillers are great because they always put an over-the-top twist(s) at the end. This movie doesn't have this issue. It is at the same time much more pure and interesting. A great achievement.
Plot: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.
Note: As said before, I usually don't like twists but the one developped in this movie didn't bother me. The reason why is that the story, the directing, the acting,... are just so amazing. A great schocking movie. A true classic.
Plot: A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all...
Note: I have seen more than 3500 movies in my life so far and this is the most horrible one. I won't describe what happened but it is just terrible. Compared to this, 'Saw' or 'Hostel' are like Disney movies. It is not only horrible but it has also a fascinating story.
Plot: Two members of a Japanese junior baseball team get mixed up with the local yakuza. After their coach is severely injured by the gangsters, the two boys set off to Okinawa to purchase a gun in order to get revenge. While in Okinawa they get befriended by a psychotic yakuza outcast who is planning a revenge of his own.
Note: In the 90's, I was a big fan of Takeshi Kitano and I watched all his movies. This movie was my favorite one. It was funny, entertaining, weird and very poetic at the same time. A typical Kitano flick.
Plot: A series of Rashomon-like flashback accounts shape the story of how one man defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China.
Note: I'm not big fan of Jet Li and this movie is probably the only one with him that I really enjoyed. The story is entertaining enough but, most of all, it has to be one of the most gorgeous movie I have ever seen. Definitely worth a look.
Plot: Two stories, two lovelorn cops, two objects of desire: one a big-time heroin dealer in deep trouble with her boss after the cargo disappears, the other a seriously flaky take-out waitress who inadvertently gets hold of the keys to her admirer's apartment.
Note: My favorite movie directed Kar Wai Wong. It is a very beautiful movie with a very mesmerizing story, directing and acting.
Plot: A mysterious video kills whomever views it, unless that viewer can solve its mystery.
Note: I was so scared by this one... One of my favorite horror movies. It's a shame that the remake is much more famous than this one. A fascinating story and very competent directing. A must see for horror fans.
Plot: An espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai, in which a young woman, Wang Jiazhi, gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure, Mr. Yee.
Note: I didn't expect it but the plot was rather similar to "Zwartboek" directed by Paul Verhoeven. I heard about the infamous sex scenes and indeed, they were rather .... graphic. Eventually, even though the story is not always great and even confusing at some points, I thought the directing was amazing and the acting from both leads as well. Definitely worth a look.
Plot: In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honour and glory.
Note: Years before becoming an amazing film director, Takeshi Kitano appeared in this movie. It seems as well that David Bowie could have been an amazing actor if he chose this direction. Anyway, this is a unique war movie.
Plot: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically-skilled, teenage nobleman's daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.
Note: This movie is really gorgeous and was something really unexpected by Ang Lee, considering he just directed a Western (Ride with Devil), a 70's drama (The Ice Storm) and a period piece (Sense and sensibility).
Plot: An elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him.
Note: If I recalled correctly Akira Kurosawa spent decades prepping for this movie. For example, Kagemusha was just 'practice' before creating this. Anyway, this is definitely a very good movie and is considered as Kurosawa's last masterpiece.
Plot: In Tokyo, the reckless single mother Keiko moves to a small apartment with her twelve years old son Akira Fukushima and hidden in the luggage, his siblings Kyoko, Shigeru and Yuki. When Keiko finds a new boyfriend, she leaves the children alone, giving some money to Akira and assigning him to take care of his siblings.
Note: The story is really heartbreaking but the directing and acting are very good.
Plot: Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the training room, all centering around a handsome young samurai named Sozaburo Kano. The school's stern master can choose to intervene, or to let Kano decide his own path.
Note: First of all, it is a really gorgeous movie and all the members of the cast give very good perfomances. The story was just fascinating, even though, it dragged a little bit at the end. Definitely worth a look.
Plot: An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.
Note: In its own genre (kidnapping/ransom), it is easily the best movie ever made. No shootings, no chases, no explosions,.... Just a captivating story brought by an amazing cast and it shows that Kurosowa is a director with a very wide range. A must see for any Kurosawa fan.
Plot: The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda.
Note: Probably, the most commercially successful movie directed by Takeshi Kitano. It deals with a well known (at least in Japan) fictional figure. Anyway, it looks good, it is damned entertaining and as usual, Takeshi Kitano steals the show. What else do you need ?!?
Plot: To satisfy his nagging parents, a gay landlord and a female tenant agree to a marriage of convenience, but his parents arrive to visit and things get out of hand.
Note: Way before Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee directed this gay-themed jem. Thanks to this movie and its critical success, his career took off and he was then able to create all this following amazing features. The movie itself is a comedy but a sensitive one and it deals very well with the subject and it is simply very entertaining.
Plot: A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.
Note: This is a very interesting study of the middle class in India. The story makes it sounds like a soap but it is much more than that. In a certain way, it shows where the Indian society stands nowadays, between tradion and modernity.
Plot: A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of the hierarchy and travels farther and farther away from the countryside the viewer is also provided with a look at the changing Chinese society through the verite camera used in most scenes.
Note: If I recall correctly, this is the first movie I saw with Gong Li in it. Quite late in her career, she decided to play in Western movies. It's a shame that she waited for so long to take the decision and above all, it's a shame that none of those movies (Hannibal Rising, Miami Vice, Memoirs of geisha,...) never reach the level of her Asian productions such as this flick. Here. she gives an amazing perfomance, the directing is very good too and the story is realistic and really captivating at the same time.
Plot: American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family's unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways.
Note: Actually, most of the action take place in the U.S.A. but since it's dealing with immigrants, I still think it fits this list. Anyway, personally, I thought the story was just fascinating. It has probably to do with the fact that my Dutch father moved to France where I was born and then later on in my life I went to the live in the Netherlands. The directing was very good and all the actors provided good perfomance and it was kind of surprising to see Kal Penn providin such a good dramatic perfomance considering he usually shows up in average American comedies. An underrated and unknown gem.
Plot: A Russian army explorer who is rescued in Siberia by a rugged Asian hunter renews his friendship with the woodsman years later when he returns as the head of a larger expedition. The hunter finds that all of his nature lore is of no help when he accompanies the explorer back to civilization.
Note: Again, another movie directed by Akira Kurosawa... I´m pretty sure they will all end up on this list! Anyway, this one is a great epic, the directing, the story, everything was rather spellbinding.
Plot: A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters; the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events and the life changes of the other household members.
Note: It is the last movie Ang Lee directed before going West with "Sense and Sensibility" and then his career really took off. Anyway, this is a rather small and intimate picture but the human emotions and relationships are very well depicted and the whole thing is just fascinating.
I don't think I'm an expert on the subject but I do love Asian movies.
When the list gets promoted, I will add some extra movies but I won't add any Japanese animated movies.
Also, these are my favorite movies and I put only movies that I like.
When I was a kid, I loved Bruce Lee's movies but it was a long time ago and I need to rewatch them before adding them to this list.