Asian Film Culture

My first trips to places like South Korea and Hong Kong took place in the 1990s, and ever since my interest in Asia has only been growing. For more than twenty years now I have been watching films from Asian countries. I have been involved with a variety of Asian festivals for the last decade — like the Busan International FIlm Festival in South Korea, the Hong Kong International Film Festival in Hong Kong, the Fajr International Film Festival in Teheran in Iran, and the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan. I have had the chance to be guest of various cultural institutions involved with film — the film archives in Bangkok, Beijing and Xiamen, at Universities in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and at the homes of great filmmakers in Chennai, Busan and Melaka. I was also distinguished visiting professor at the Beijing Film Academy, where I thought in 2016.

I was privileged to supervise the doctoral projects of several Chinese students and to host various doctoral and post-doctoral fellows from different Asian countries. I organised events dedicated to the work of such important Asian film personalities as Wu Tianming, Setsuko Hara, Om Puri, Mrinal Sen, Abbas Kiarostami — and published the work that was created alongside these events.

Most importantly, I had the opportunity to serve as Visiting Research Professor at the University of Hong Kong, where I am currently a Honorary Professor of Comparative Literature. This allowed me to get to know closer the cinema of Asia and to meet many knowledgeable scholars and famous film directors from the region. One of the results of these involvements was the event and the creation of the dossier on the project Ten Years Asia, which we published open access in Frames Cinema Journal in 2019.

In 2011 I co-edited, with Ruby Cheung, the collection FILM FESTIVALS IN EAST ASIA, which received accolades from many festival practitioners and major film directors in the Asian continent.

As I have not been trained in Asian cultures and languages, I always feel like an outsider when I come to write on matters of Asian cinema and film culture. Nonetheless, I researched diasporic Chinese film festivals and published a chapter entitled ‘Yingying, Zhenzhen and Fenfen? China at the Festivals,’ in Chinese Film Festivals, edited by Chris Berry and Luke Robinson (Palgrave, 2016, 217-237). The discussion piece ‘The Busan International Film Festival in Crisis, or What Should a Film Festival Be?,’ which we created in reaction to the crisis at the Busan IFF, was co-authored with Chris Berry and Darae Kim and published in Film Quarterly, Fall 2015, Vol. 69, Nr. 1, 80-90. My new piece ‘Treading in Little Steps: My Asian Cinema Jigsaw’ is forthcoming in a book edited by Nick Deocampo in Manila. My involvement with projects in China, SIngapore, South Korea, and Taiwan continues.

Some of my work has been translated and published in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese — please see the section on Translations. 

Here I am making available some of my writing related to Asian cinema.

The material is copyrighted. Please make sure to reference appropriately if using it.

New Political Cinema, Asia and Beyond: TEN YEARS, with Gina Marchetti

Asian Archives and Archivists, IAMHIST blog

Archiving and Film Restoration in Asia, FRAMES


BUSAN IFF IN CRISIS (with Darae Kim and Chris Berry, 2015)


Playlist Documentaries by Naomi Kawase

Kawase MOE NO SUZAKU (1997)


Kurosawa’s DERSU UZALA (1975)

Zhang Yimou’s JU DOU (1990)

Wong Kar-wai’s CHUNKING EXPRESS (1994)

Reflections on Film Festival Jury Service Yamagata IDFF 2017