east asian film

I’m glad to see The Handmaiden is getting some traction on this site bc it really deserves the attention, here’s why:

-It’s a story about a Lady and her maid falling in love and running away together

-It’s all shot in Korean and Japanese

-The cinematography is outstanding, as is the wardrobe choices and makeup

-The director is Park Chan-wook, one of Korea’s most celebrated directors, and rightly so

-An ALL Korean cast, some well known and some newer to showbiz

-The acting is top notch 👌💯

-It’s very rare to see a story about an F/F relationship in East Asian cinema, even rarer in Korean cinema, and even rarer than THAT for the relationship to be serious and not a joke or unstable and negative

-It received lots of controversy but A LOT of positive reviews too

-The director took a chance on a story from the book, The Fingersmith, that was set in England, and applied it to 1930s Korea, under Japanese occupation, the transition was so good and fit very well

-The twists are incredible and some scenes leave you uncomfortable on purpose and do a damn good job at doing so

-Did I mention the East Asian same sex relationship????? That was well received in general?????? And directed by a well respected director????

-Also the soundtrack is veeeeery good

In conclusion I am so glad that Park Chan-wook took a chance on this story and developed it into an incredible, gripping film, where the women are treated with respect and not as delirious and helpless, doomed to die or sadness because they fell in love

Please watch The Handmaiden

I recently just finished doing the first pass of the main beat boards for my next short film. It took me a damn long time to figure out the type of story and world I wanted to work with. I was really disappointed with how my last film “tiny nomad” turned out, so I wanted to salvage that with another film. 

Here are two colored panels from the beat boards. South east asian setting.


Batu Belah Batu Bertangkup (The Stone that Opens and Closes) is a Malay legend of a large boulder that has an open mouth like a cave where bloodcurdling screams would come out of. It was said that the stone had swallowed many humans that had come to worship it. A popular folk tale exists of a recent widow who, out of madness, ran into the jungle to be eaten by the boulder. Her two young children, Melur the elder sister and Pekan the younger brother, could not stop her and were left as orphans. An old woman started to visit Melur in her dreams. Through her guidance, Melur bred an unbeatable cockerel for her brother to champion. After winning against a match with the king’s own prized bird, the king offered his hand to Melur. When she was queen, she told the king of the boulder that swallowed her mother. The king’s entourage visited the great stone and the king himself shot an arrow into the cavern. In Malay legends, a king’s lineage owns divine, superstitious powers and since then, the boulder sat silent and unmoving.

The Older Studyblr Crowd: A Masterpost

I’ve had a lot of requests to recommend older/ post-grad studyblrs. Since I follow so many wonderful people, I decided to make a quick lil list for anyone else who is looking for upperclassmen and “older“ crowd! I went through my follower list and made a note of everyone who appeared to be an upperclassmen/graduate student or was above the age of 22. They are as follows:

Graduate/Ph.D students:
darastudies // tulluly (art history) // habitsandlaw (post law) // journeyunderthestars // study-read-study (bilingualism) // chemistrynerd2020 (organic chemistry) // catscaffeineandnotebooks (creative writing/ poetry) // iwasborntostudy (hospitality management) // post–grad (medieval lit) // caffeinebooks (history) // howtophd (history) // ivrileague (biotech engineering) // ratheralotofacademicambition (literature) // psychblrrrr (psych) // mk-studies (social justice) // gilmore-esque (accountancy) // phdadventurerer // claireeatsnotes (illustration) // caffeinatemystudies (middle east studies) // lerudite (history) // back-to-college (eng lit/language) // sammasankappa (textile technology)  // runandstudymore (accounting) // styleinthestacks (library science/public history) // la-studieuse (art history) // @caffeinatedcraziness (chemistry) // curiousgradstudent (art history) 

Med/Law school:
throughtheeyesofamedstudent (4th yr med) // procaffeinator (law) // justanothermedblr (3rd yr med) // ladykaymd (4th yr med) // living-that-library-lifestyle (4th yr law) // survivingmalcolmhell (law) // studiousmedic (3rd yr med) // ofbooksandbookers (law) // stealthoscopes (vet) // qui-plume-a-guerre-a (1st yr law) // echymosis (4th yr med) // lawslayer (law) // study-wisely (3rd yr med) // inthecompanyofbooks (3rd yr med) // slytherinmd (2nd yr med) // soraya-lawblr (law) // @ashpiringtobebetter (2nd yr med) 

me-mine (photography) // griffindor95 (neuroscience) // averagemedgirl (biology) // ceeejstudies (visual arts) // femalebryan (art history) // findthederivative (Biochem/math) // studypops (comm/business) // othertypist (English/German) // yarelichem (Chem) // maddiestudiespsychology (psych) // mqrlene (computer science) // n0ell333 (history) // cumlaudeorbust // studybox (accounting) // juniorincollege (psych) // jazstudies (english) // writtencoffeestudies (psych) // studylikebatman (psych) // longingtolearn (geography/bio) // raindropsonstationery (bio/film) // doctor-muffin (pre-med) // studyingsinger (music performance/classical studies) // studyingqt (foreign languages) // studyhardxx (language/lit/media science) // antropobitch (anthropology) // study-you-fools (history) // thetinyanthropologist (anthropology) // thekidatthebackoftheclass (genetics) // studymountains (neuroscience) // studis (music) // kourtnis-study-spot (psych) // feminist-bibliophile (psych) // seatreading (asian studies) // dissertationstudyblr (multimedia journalism) // kit-kat-studies (bio) // literallystudying (english lit) // hermione-ing (math/philosophy) // meliglossos (classics) // willy-brandt (sociology) // speedofwrite (dietics/nutrition) // tomorrowstriplethreat ( east asian studies/film) // @lena4point0 (accounting) // @cheystudies (poli sci) // @madsurvivorvsfinalyear (psych) 

Other 22+
jbeestudies // booksandiphones // butmagicisinthedoing // lawteastudy // addictedtostudying // learning-isbeautiful // ragent89 // liberalartssociety // imlearninglanguages // moonlitestudies // kiki4psych // @nsfacademia 

This is not a complete list; if anyone wants to be added to this list or would like me to edit their entry, please send me a message! Just let me know what your academic level is (junior, med school, etc.) and major if applicable. Thanks! 

PLZ NOTE: this is in no way made to exclude high school/lower division college studyblrs. This community is awesome for high school/new college students in that they can get together and support each other to be studious and smart. I love it! Sometimes it’s hard for older students and upperclassmen to find each other, so I figured I’d make an accessible list for everyone! xox

Craving Some Diasporic Love? Check out the following movies

Sometimes when I get homesick or just sick of predominantly white films, I like to pull these movies out - people who look like me, living in my world, doing the things that I do.  For those of you who feel not quite settled and permanently restless, check out my favorite films about the South Asian diaspora (in no particular order):


East is East (1999)

All about one Pakistani family living in 1970s London and dealing with identity, disobedience, and cultural tradition.  Includes queer characters and one fantastic dance solo from Archie Panjabi.  TW: domestic violence, abuse, violence against women.

Also check out the sequel West is West (2010)

Anita & Me (2002)

Possibly the prettiest movie on this list, Anita & Me is based off of the Meera Syal book of the same name.  Stumbling upon this movie was a major turning point in my cultural understanding.  You will never have a more empathetic moment than when Meena, the 9 year-old protagonist, moans about not having friends to which her mother replies, “Beta, you don’t need friends - you have your father and me.”  

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

Um, duh.  This movie is a classic and ridiculously quotable (“What family would want a daughter-in-law who can run around kicking football all day but can’t make round chapatis?”) A definite must-watch for every sports movie, girl power, filmy fan.

It’s a Wonderful Afterlife (2010)

This movie is so triumphant with its sweet, genuine, chubby heroine, her empathetic mother, and the ridiculously handsome childhood friend that comes back into both of their lives. The humor is black and über panjabi.  From the director of Bend it Like Beckham.

Touch of Pink (2004)

Touch of Pink is a breath of fresh air amongst the latent homophobia of a lot of Desi culture.  It’s about Jimi Mistry (who has yet to do something actually terrible with the exception of Love Guru, idk wat that was) trying to tell his conservative Indian mother that he’s fallen in love with a white English man.  It’s equal measures painful and sweet.

Also check out the White Teeth bbc miniseries based on the novel by Zadie Smith.  It’s got everything - sex, religion, war, racism.  The series spans multiple generations and delves into the difficulties of being a foreigner in a strange land and dealing with conflicts of identity.  Definitely worth watching for the prowess of Om Puri, Archie Panjabi, and James Mcavoy and for the beauty of Chirstopher Simpson (not pictured for some reason). 


Where’s the Party Yaar (Dude, Where’s the Party) (2003)

Kal Penn’s first movie and filmed in my hometown (big ups to H-town)! It’s about an American-grown Desi dealing with his somewhat “uncool” cousin and navigating college life.  Lots of love and acceptance. (I think it’s all on youtube in parts)

American Desi (2001)

Easily the campiest film on this list, American Desi is an amateur comedy about an Indian-American boy who tries to throw off the cultural traditions of his family only to find consolation in them.  It’s a story about learning to be alright and definitely worth watching for the scene where he tries to buy naan at the store.  

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) 

I wasn’t sure whether I should include this or not since it’s not a movie that would normally crop up amongst the more highbrow films on this list, but Harold and Kumar is def one of my favorite movies of all time.  It’s a stoner comedy that engages humorously with parental expectations and latent racism.  I appreciated the little jokes that nodded to my own Indian-American and diasporic experiences. PLUS John Cho is a beautiful beautiful man who is not scared to speak his mind on PoC representation and white-washing in Hollywood films, so, you know, watch it for him too.

The Namesake (2006)

Unsurprisingly, three of the four American films listed here have Kal Penn - who is fantastic, as ever, in this gorgeous film.  Less comedy this time and more quiet reflection.  The Namesake spans two generations and looks critically at the idea of lineage.  Irfan Khan is amazing, as ever. Definitely worth watching if you haven’t already done so.  

I would’ve added the Canadian film Bollywood/Hollywood but it doesn’t really engage with the diaspora element.

Am I forgetting any?

so… in the past few weeks i’ve come up with even more solid reasons why Judy is East Asian.

- the visual language of the film and it’s emphasis on the unique design of a rabbit’s prominent buck teeth is something easily interpreted as a modern, positive reclamation of the classic buck-toothed racist yellow peril caricatures of western political cartoon fame

- Judy’s little tax multiplication joke both acts as a clever quip against the stereotype of East Asians being naturally more proficient in arithmetic and the racist western fear of the “Asian takeover” via breeding like animals (a real tweet by a real celebrity: (a)ha/ls/ey: “The asians multiply every year.”)

- (SPOILERS FOR THE FILM) bellwether’s determination to use judy as the heroic face of the police force is alarmingly reminiscent of the media’s willingness to use East Asians as a model minority and display us as a voiceless icon for the masses to blindly emulate and therefore grow docile

but you know what? even with all of these really strong arguments and proofs piling up in favor of the case of East Asian Judy Hopps…


Judy could be East Asian even without the twenty reasons I’ve stated.

fans throughout history have been headcanoning characters as white for literally no reason all the damn time. even the renaissance masters racebent all of the Middle Eastern characters in the bible and whitewashed the hell out of their own religion in their own fanart. all fantasy characters are white unless they’re repugnant or evil, in which case they’re black- see white elves and black orc extras, with zero Maori present, while filming in new zealand. all furry characters are drawn as white humans on social media. even a popular and well-received film like the martian manages to erase the presence of women of color by casting the Korean character Mindy Park as a white woman. all this bending over backwards to see every character as white, while East Asian representation in western film is limited to less than one in a hundred in a main cast, and a fraction of that for a depiction that isn’t a kung fu prostitute ninja holding a katana in her cleavage.

so why the hell can people assign whiteness to any racially ambiguous character without ever being saddled with the responsibility of digging up and documenting fifty pieces of plausible canon evidence?

all this does is propagate the idea that whiteness is the default, the “normal happy face” while all other faces must be colored in or altered in some way, shape or form to depict another. this of course is a completely blind, wrong and racist, deliberately ignorant of the other iconic, pictorial defaults and norms of other countries’ media and pop culture (無国籍 being the example that comes to mind: the prevalent racist thought that because an anime character isn’t drawn with an exaggerated slant to their eyes and jet-black hair, they cannot be Japanese even if their name is something overtly Japanese, like Tsukino Usagi.)

no one ever asks anyone who draws marlin and dory as white why they drew them white. but it’s so suspect. they don’t have posts and posts upon posts of extensively defined white qualities. because they’ve never eaten a slice of wonder bread or emptied an AK cartridge or spit on a Fish of Color on-screen. “it’s just not believable.” where are the receipts? i need the proof, please.

I shouldn’t be held accountable in a way that racists aren’t. i’ve already given plenty of reasons why it’s clear to me that Judy could very reasonably be read as a fantasy depiction of an East Asian narrative. but it’s all flavor text.

Judy is Korean because I fucking say she is.

A film geek's watching special:About Asian Films and why the hell do we not watch enough of it?

So hello everyone,I would like to address this issue because I do feel that it is a problem,even for me as a cinephile living in Asia (to be more precise Singapore).

The night before my birthday I read an ask on my favorite tumblr salesonfilm (x) What is your favorite Asian films? However what intrigued me is the response 

Asian cinema is such a weak spot for me. it’s embarrassing, really, especially considering the vast size & scope of the films made all across the middle east, far east, south east asia…i have so much to learn, still.

Sadly this truth also applied to me as an Asian,who is in film school

Yes Armad I should be watching more Asian films,because I am from that region. Hey it is my home-turf. Some of the best guys are from here..Everyone is familiar with these guys

  • Akira Kurosawa (Yes the guy who collaborated with Toshire Mifune who is a badass)
  • Yazujiro Ozu (Those in film school would know you have to watch Tokyo Story for screenings and yes I loved that film-he is that chill guy who make quiet films)
  • Sajitay Ray (I only watched one recently-Panther Panchalit which is wonderful)
  • The Chinese 5th and 6th Generation filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaige
  • Kenji Mizoguchi (Ugestu is wonderful and have the most beautiful shots)

For the current ones

  • For the Korean filmmakers recently- Boo Jung-Ho with Snow piercer (with John Hurt) and Park Chan Wook’s Stalker 
  • Apichatpong Weersethakul (I met him during an event,I will tell you more about him)
  • Wong Kar Wai (I admit I loved his works so much everyone in my film school try to emulate him)
  • Hayao Miyasaki and Studio Ghibi (I loved his works okay?)

Yes a long list of Asian filmmakers I can name and we (I mean the cinema) just took notice of them recently. Now about Apichatpong..I managed to grab a chat with him after watching a restored version of his debut film Mysterious Object at Noon and I asked about his latest films Uncle Boommee and how the people receive it. He said to me nicely that the French loved these type of films because they are interesting and hark back to their surrealist days in the 20’s. It is a good sign that the Westerners are not drilled into their colonial past and white supremacy.

Now here is my question why I (we) are not watching more Asian films? I would look into my country as a case-study. It is like only recently we can celebrate Singapore’s film industry because of that film

Yah! We won a Palme D'Or by Cannes (I get to watch it and it was okay for me). We don’t have anything great since Mee Pok Man by Eric Khoo and plus we have a period where the local cinema became obsolete. Despite that hype

most of the time,people would rather flock into Jack Neo films if it was local and people have a love/hate relationship with him (I know some of my classmates tend to bitch about him)

He makes crappy comedies of ah-bengs (A local term for chinese gangsters) that is not global in mind. However he makes money out of it.  

There are the art house directors like Boo Junfung and Anthony Chen,but there is little reception.

But hey if I am a local and goes to the cinema,if I have to choose a Hollywood Blockbuster with a well-known director or a Local film. I would patronize that Hollywood film because 90% films shown in Singapore are Hollywood. Hollywood dominated Asia’s cinema watching. I only remember more Hollywood filmmakers and European than my local cinema.

I did not realize how powerful South East Asian films are until I watched Lewat Djam Malam during Film Restoration Asia. I am extremely horrified that an old Indonesian film can be so powerful and I do not even know my region’s filmmakers. Even the young people who are going to be filmmakers are blissfully unaware that we have incredible filmmakers from here! On the otherhand Japan and Korea attempted to showcase more of its local filmmakers and I recall a news report that the Koreans are more interested in their local films. I wonder why the hell am I not interested in the films from my region

It leads me to that point..if you want people to be more aware of Asian films (westerners or not). We need to showcase more Asian films. like how Italians show off their Fellinis and Rossellinis to film festivals and cinemas. I bet people are curious what is Asia like beyond the plastic perception of Orientals. I am curious how people in my region talk about issues and create stories that are global! 

If you cannot afford to watch a film in cinemas,check Criterion Collection and DVDS that distribute Asian Cinema. Yes check the Ozus and Rays. Also be prepared to go beyond the comfort zone that is why I need people to put great films in DVDS,I mean lesser know regions. Don’t keep them in vaults where they will rot. Films are supposed to be watched not kept as a museum piece.

And we need to help in the film preservation area,I am an advocate of it and I recalled a talk about the state of film archives in Asia. It was scary that people simply do not see film as a heritage and we dump the films like trash. It was sad that 60-70% of the films made in Singapore’s golden age (50’s-70’s) are gone. I would love to see the Old Malay films but I cannot because we don’t give a flip. Basically my heritage is gone forever. Sadly we do not have the finances to keep this. That is why I am glad that Scorsese created The World cinema fund. We could see more Asian films to be saved. More people watching Asian films.

Lastly education for Asian films,how are you going to spur people’s attention without educating them? We need to have more courses on Asian cinema,more books talking about it. Let them be heard. It would enrich the mind.

Cinemas need to be proud of that heritage. We need to give more funding to filmmakers,if they can win something great don’t stop in that moment. Celebrate it 24/7. Please give more funding to them,it would make such a big difference.

Film-preservation advocates,thank you for caring of Asian films. It would definitely enriched people’s lives!

Fellow watchers,instead of watching Hollywood all the time,switch up like twice a week,watch an Asian film. There are so many recommendations of it. Have discussions on the net of those watchings. I am more than happy to talk about it. I am hoping that people would say “do you watch that Filipino film,it was brilliant”

Filmmakers from my region,as a future film critic,Please do not be scared to make your stories. I know it is tough but we need these voices! Take care of your films,don’t thrash them. You never know if it could touch people’s hearts globally. Please do watch your region’s filmmakers,be aware of those names not just Ozu and Kurosawa, I cannot emphaise on film watching. I seriously do.

After much passionate thinking,I would like to end with that short by country that struck me more than Ilo Ilo. Gourmet Baby by Sandi Tan that restored my humanity of Singaporean films as a local (Alongside Boo Junfung) . It was a simple concept-a guy who loved food used his niece as his way to express his love of high-class food because no one want to do it. I understand because it is in our culture that we loved good food. But it is how it was weaved to tell something about Singaporean society which is wonderful. It is not as outlandish as Jack Neo or too arty-farty. It goes into the core of everyone. I remember I wrote this on my post for my school blog on that seminar

To me, the lesson …. is that we must be fearless in getting our voices heard, whether it is making a statement in your film or writing about a film. After all, aren’t we individuals who wish to have our perspectives heard?

In the end if you wanted Asian Cinema to thrive well,give it a chance to let that voice be heard! That is what I hope for Asian cinema to the world ,go beyond the exoticism of Asian films that it was shiny and let them be heard. Give equal attention as the Hollywood and the European films. I do believe that cinema brings worlds and I hope I would be proud of my cinematic heritage!

I became a director because I didn’t have another choice. I dreamed of becoming a motorbike racer because I love motorbikes a lot. I think anyone can become a director, especially if you have money. Even Haruki Kadokawa became a director. To become a famous musician is also a way to become a director and like Takeshi Kitano achieving fame as a comedian and then becoming a director gives you a lot of freedom. There are so many ways to become a director. If there is a 1 - 10 scale for talent, then a 10 point talent is a director, but a 1 point person can also become a director if he has the talent to make the right contacts. In motorbike racing on the other hand the winner is always an extreme talent. Even if we train a lot we can`t beat them. I admire that kind of world. But I didn`t have a choice. I never thought about becoming a director before. I considered the occupation of film director as being for the intelligentsia.

beastcallisto  asked:

I'm sure you heard about the Bechdel test. The movie has to have at least two women in it, who talk to each other, about something besides a man. I would love to include into that test: (at least) One of them is not white or white passing. Would that be a step closer to intersectional feminism?

The Bechdel Test, at its root, is actually more of a LGBT test than a straight-up feminist test (though it is usually framed as a feminism test). While it is useful for measuring the inclusion of women (regardless of sexuality) as independent characters, I think this specific test shouldn’t have a racial qualifier because of its origin.

However, there is another test that has a racial qualifier in its origin, and that qualifier is usually disregarded: The Mako Mori Test. The Mako Test (named after the Pacific Rim character) requires that a movie has at least one female character with her own independent arc that can exist outside of a man’s story. The test came about because Pacific Rim does not pass the Bechdel Test, and some felt it was unfair that the importance of this rare (in a Western film) East Asian woman character was diminished because of that. IMO, being a woman of color should always be a factor in the Mako test.

There is also the Shukla Test, aka the Racial Bechdel Test, with people of color replacing women. It doesn’t matter if one or neither of them are women.

I really like the idea of a kind of instersectional feminism test, though, where a qualifier is that at least one of at least two named women in a conversation is a woman of color. And the woman of color can’t be a minor character like a cashier in a shop a major white woman character spends five minutes of the story in. Two major characters who recur in the story. And since giving a woman of color (especially Black or EAWS) a love story in a movie is progressive, there doesn’t necessarily need to be a strict prohibition on a man being mentioned. Though of course she should have her own arc. 

What might that be called? The Mills Test?

And then another really super easy test: Does the media have a woman of color in a substantial role that doesn’t exist to support a white character?