Asian Films to Watch While Social Distancing

Right now is a time to both stay inside and support Asian businesses. So order some Asian food, and stream some films made by Asian filmmakers and starring Asian actors. Here are some of my favorites!

If you haven’t been living under a rock, you may have heard of Parasite, Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho’s latest film and first Best Picture winner in a foreign language. It has recently been added to Hulu and is available to rent or buy on Amazon. Watch it, but go in without knowing anything about the plot. If you must, watch the trailer. But trust me – it’s incredible, and the less you know about it, the more you’ll enjoy it.

An underrated gem, also released in 2019, is Lulu Wang’s The Farewell. Inspired by her heart-wrenching true story, Wang’s film follows a Chinese-American woman who travels back to China when her grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Her family stages an impromptu wedding to see their beloved Nai Nai, as she remains unaware of her condition. It’s a beautiful and heart-breaking story about the disconnect between the East and the West that resonated deeply with me. Watch it for free on Amazon Prime or Kanopy. 

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 2018 film Shoplifters brought home the Palme D’or at Cannes Film Festival, and deservedly so. Shoplifters is an amazing story of an impoverished Japanese family who take in a young girl they found in the freezing cold, together making a living through petty crime and living happily for a while. This film is powerful and definitely tear-jerking, I don’t believe I could write anything that can do it justice, just please go watch it. Shoplifters is available on Hulu. 

Sweet Bean, or あん, is a splendid and touching film by Naomi Kawase about a Dorayaki shop owner who meets Tokue, an old woman who offers to help make the red bean paste that fills the Dorayaki. It’s a light and pleasant film about friendship and food. Watch it for free on Kanopy.

Kirsten Tan’s Pop Aye is an adventure along the Thai countryside through the eyes of a man going through a midlife crisis and his elephant, Pop Aye. He travels in search of his hometown, to return Pop Aye to his family. The visuals of rural Thailand in this movie are absolutely stunning. Watch it for free on Kanopy.

The 1993 film The Joy Luck Club, based on the Amy Tan novel of the same name, is an incredibly moving story about the bonds between Chinese mothers and daughters. It’s a little dated, but the ideas and emotion are timeless. It’s a tragic and honest look at family and history. Rent it on Amazon, and watch with your mom. 

Remember that Asian businesses are struggling right now, so do what you (safely) can to help keep them alive. Order from local restaurants or buy your necessary groceries at Asian grocery stores. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home if you can!

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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