Best Asian Drama

Tuesday, February 15 by Mr. Anonymous

The popularity of Asian films encompasses everything from the musicals of India to the martial arts spectacles of China and Japan, but Asia has also been known to yield masterworks of drama and as such, here are the best Asian dramas. Drama is a very complicated genre of film because it takes painstaking attention to detail to craft such a film, but not detail of the technical kind—it is more about attention to story and characters. This may seem like a simple task, especially when there are so many situations in real life to draw upon. However, real drama is about more than the simplest of human conflict. It is very easy to confuse melodrama with drama. Real drama explore themes that are much deeper and layered than the simple death in the family or the breaking up of a relationship. The dramas start with such elements, but explores every facet and the effect it has not only on the individuals directly involved, but also on those around them.

  1. "Tokyo Story" This is the 1953 masterpiece from the greatest of all filmmakers, Yasujiro Ozu. "Tokyo Story" is often included on lists of the greatest films ever created. As far as drama is concerned, Ozu doesn't hold back. He explores the lives of an elder couple who travels to Tokyo to visit their grown children. From that small idea, Ozu explores everything from death and loneliness to despair and hopelessness.
  2. "Ikiru" This is often regarded as the greatest work to come from the mind on the master, Akira Kurosawa. While Kurosawa is mostly known for his samurai pictures, even those pictures were adept at exploring the human experience. With "Ikiru," he dispenses with the feudal settings to tell a more modern story about a man who learns that he has a terminal illness. What follows is an intense character study about both life and death.
  3. "Pather Panchali" This is the first film from the legendary Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray and the first entry in his highly-renowned "The Apu Trilogy." This is a rich film that explores the lives of a poor Bengali family struggling with the fast-moving world around them. This may sound cliche and, indeed, such a premise can yield tacky results in the wrong hands, but in the hands of Ray, what we get is an intimate myriad of human experience in all its bitter sadness. This film will uplift some and break the hearts of others. It truly is a case of the moviegoer's prejudices and that just goes to show its brilliance as a drama.
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