While the local rep theaters are out of commission, we'll be putting together weekly watchlists of films readily available to stream. Since May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, this week's theme highlights the phenomenal cinematic contributions from Asian filmmakers and actors.
Lady Vengeance (2005)
The third installment of Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy, following the famed Oldboy (2003), centers on a woman sent to prison for a murder she did not commit. After she's released 13 years later, she enacts an elaborate plan for revenge against the true killer. Gruesome, stylish and deeply satisfying. Amazon Prime, Kanopy, Tubi.
A group of unrelated Tokyoites living in poverty resort to shoplifting to make ends meet, but their lifestyle unravels after encountering, and unofficially adopting, an abused young girl. Winner of the Palme d'Or, this elegiac drama from Hirokazu Kore-eda is a stirring meditation on what makes a family. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu, YouTube.
Irma Vep (1996)
The great Maggie Cheung plays herself in Olivier Assayas' meta-drama, which follows the Chinese star as she remakes the classic silent serial movie Les Vampires. It's a fascinating look at the process of French filmmaking, as well as a moving probe into the alienated perspective of a Hong Kong native in Paris. Criterion Channel.
In Lee Chang-dong's adaptation of Haruki Murakami's short story "Barn Burning," a young man gets tangled up in a mystery after the girl he likes returns from a trip with a handsome stranger (Steven Yeun), then subsequently disappears. Laden with well-crafted ambiguity and unforgettable cinematography. Amazon Prime, Google Play, Netflix, YouTube.
When her intellectually disabled son is framed for a murder he did not commit, a devoted mother becomes determined to prove his innocence. Not to be confused with Mother! (2017), this crime thriller is arguably Mother Superior, as it's directed by multi-Academy Award winner Bong Joon-ho. Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling TV, Vudu.