The modern era is being shaped by the emerging economic and political power of the East, giving this area of study ever-increasing significance.
Asian Studies Collection
The World Before Her | Director: Nisha Pahuja
Year of production: 2012 | Country of production: India, USA | Language: English, Hindi (with full English subtitles available)
The Miss India pageant is the ultimate glamour event in a country that has gone mad for beauty contests. Winning the coveted title means instant stardom, a lucrative career path and, for some girls, freedom from the constraints of a patriarchal society. As the beauty contestants move through beauty boot camp, Director Nicha Pahuja travels to another corner of India to visit a different camp for young girls, the women's wing of the militant fundamentalist movement. Through lectures and physical combat training, these girls learn what it means to be good Hindu women and how to fight against Islam, Christianity and the onslaught of Western culture.
Yang Ban Xi | Director: Yan Ting Yuen
Year of production: 2005 | Country of production: Netherlands | Language: Chinese, Dutch, English (with full English subtitles available)
A documentary musical about the rise and fall of China's colorful propaganda opera's during the 1965-1975 Cultural Revolution and their renewed popularity in modern day China. Yang Ban Xi is the name given to the eight operas written to celebrate China's communist revolution. Based on traditional Chinese stories, the operas were adapted into pure propaganda told through beautiful images, incorporating the most modern techniques of cinematography, song, and dance. These operas were the only culture allowed in China for 10 years.
Inside the Chinese Closet | Director: Sophia Luvarà
Year of production: 2015 | Country of production: Netherlands | Language: Chinese (with full English subtitles available)
The intricate tale of Andy and Cherry looking for love and happiness in Shanghai. They are homosexual but their families demand a (heterosexual) marriage and a baby from them. Because being single and childless would mean an unacceptable loss of face for their rural families in the remote countryside where they live. Will Andy and Cherry deny their happiness and sexual orientation to satisfy their parents’ wishes? Their stories mirror the legal and cultural progress that is happening in China against the backdrop of a nation coming to terms with new moral values.
DHARAVI Slum for sale | Director: Rob Appleby, Lutz Konermann
Year of production: 2010 | Country of production: Switzerland | Language: Hindi (with full English subtitles available)
At the heart of the constantly growing megacity Mumbai lies Dharavi, India's biggest slum. Close to a million immigrants from all over the country live and work here, contributing a vital share to the city's economy. In this no-man's land urban planner Mukesh Mehta sees his chance of a lifetime. Dharavi is to be knocked down and its profitable real estate to be turned into billions of Dollars. "Dharavi, Slum for Sale" follows the struggle between tradition and modernity and the fight of the underprivileged to defend their homes and livelihoods against mounting globalisation.
Miss Nikki and the Tiger Girls | Director: Juliet Lamont
Year of production: 2012 | Country of production: Australia | Language: English (with full English subtitles available)
Born out of an unholy alliance between Miss Nikki, an artistic and ambitious Australian free spirit, and Peter Thein, an unscrupulous Burmese entrepreneur out to make a buck, the story of the Tiger Girls and their journey towards self-expression is an uplifting look at Girl Power against all odds. Using songs written by the girls to progress the narrative, their search for freedom of expression mirrors the tentative steps their country is taking to do the same thing.
State of Play | Director: Steven Dhoedt
Year of production: 2013 | Country of production: Belgium | Language: Korean (with full English subtitles available)
In Seoul, hundreds of young boys compete to be the best at one single video game: Starcraft. As top players earn hundreds of thousands of euros, being a professional gamer isn’t only a wise career move, it is also the path to respect and credibility in the highly competitive society of South Korea.
The stars of the Starcraft league are national celebrities, participating on all levels of popular culture.But what happens when play becomes work? For some it will be a struggle to stay on top of their game, for others it might be the turning point of their lives.
Powerless | Director: Fahad Mustafa Deepti Kakkar
Year of production: 2013 | Country of production: India | Language: English, Urdu (with full English subtitles available)
Would you risk your life to flip a switch?
Shariq, a 22-year-old electrician living in Kanpur, is renowned for his prowess in stealing electricity. In the face of day-long power-cuts, he runs illegal connections from one neighborhood to another so that homes, factories and businesses are not left in the dark. Meanwhile, the city administration is renewing its efforts to clamp down on power-theft, which costs them millions of rupees in losses each year. Powerless sheds light on the opposing corners of this political ring, from an electrical Robin Hood to the myopic utility company.
Legend of a Warrior | Director: Corey Lee
Year of production: 2012 | Country of production: Canada | Language: English, French (with full English subtitles available)
Frank Lee doesn’t just practise martial arts: for his many students and fans, Frank Lee is martial arts—a high-kicking dynamo whose style of full contact fighting has hurtled him into the very stratosphere of the profession. Frank is happy to play the role he’s cultivated, but there is at least one person who would like to look beneath the superhero mask: his son, Corey. Frank’s status as a legendary street fighter and world-renowned coach has kept him at an emotional (and physical) distance from Corey; but now the younger Lee, in his forties and a father himself, would like to reconnect with his mighty dad.
The Look of Silence | Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Year of production: 2014 | Country of production: Denmark, Indonesia, United Kingdom | Language: Indonesian, Javanese (with full English subtitles available)
Through Joshua Oppenheimer’s work filming perpetrators of the Indonesian genocide, a family of survivors discovers how their son was murdered and the identity of the men who killed him. The youngest brother is determined to break the spell of silence and fear under which the survivors live, and so confronts the men responsible for his brother's murder – something unimaginable in a country where killers remain in power.
The Act Of Killing | Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Year of production: 2012 | Country of production: Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom | Language: Indonesian (with full English subtitles available)
In a country where killers are celebrated as heroes, the filmmakers challenge unrepentant death squad leader Anwar Congo and his friends to dramatise their role in genocide. But their idea of being in a movie is not to provide testimony for a documentary: they want to be stars in their favourite film genres—gangster, western, musical. They write the scripts. They play themselves. And they play their victims. This is a cinematic fever dream, an unsettling journey deep into the imaginations of mass-murderers and the shockingly banal regime of corruption and impunity they inhabit.