The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) returns this 2021 as a hybrid event combining virtual and in-person screenings, similar to last year’s edition. The festival will screen close to 150 feature films from September 9–18 and among those are plenty of Asian films.
Some of the notable highlights include recent Cannes Film Festival winners such as Drive My Car and Memoria while Are You Lonesome Tonight also enjoyed a Cannes screening. Other worthy titles include Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero and Chung Mong-Hong’s The Falls.
Whether they’re screening at TIFF this year or elsewhere, you should put these Asian movies on your watchlist.
1. Aloners, South Korea
Hong Sung-eun’s feature debut, Aloners examines the phenomenon in South Korea called holojok, which refers to the growing number of people who prefer to be left alone in one-person households. Hong’s indie drama draws on the various shades of solitude that colour the lives of its protagonists including Jina (Gong Seung-yeon), who lives in a small unit of an anonymous apartment building.
Jina is a loner until the arrival of new people and new events “disrupt” her solitary life, demanding her to confront close encounters with people around her. Aloners also marks Gong’s debut role in a feature-length movie and is up for a Best Newcomer award at the Asian Film Awards 2021. Hong and Gong both give an intimate portrayal of intergenerational relationships and asocial behaviour underneath feelings of fear of being alone and alienated.
See also: 7 Korean Movies to Watch on Netflix