Australian Cinema > types > Asian


Inclusive list of mostly Australasian films with some connexion between Australia and people of Asian origin

Arigato Baby (Greg Lynch, 1990) wr. A. J. Klitz, dp Jaque Rubin; Yoko Atsumi, Nicci Lane, Adrian Wentworth, Mishi Maracos; an anti-Asian Vietnam vet is attracted to Japanese woman; R cert. adult; 80 min.

Autumn Moon [Qiuyue] (Clara Law, 1992) Masatoshi Nagase, Pui-Wai Li, Colour, 108 min. Cantonese/Japanese/English, Hong Kong, Japan

Aya (Solrun Hoaas, 1991) Eri Ishida, Nicholas Eadie, Chris Haywood, Tim Robertson; the husband of a Japanese war bride expects her to become Australian; DVD na; 92 min.

Balibo (Robert Connolly, 2009) wr. David Williamson; set East Timor; Anthony LaPaglia, Oscar Isaac, Damon Gameau, Gyton Grantley, Nathan Phillips

Bangkok Hilton (Ken Cameron, 1989) mini-series

Blood Oath (Stephen Wallace, 1990) aka Prisoners of the Sun (USA); Bryan Brown, George Takei, ... John Polson, Russell Crowe, ... Jason Donovan; war-crimes trials in Ambon

Bondi Tsunami (Rachael Lucas, 2004) Keita Abe, Taki Abe, Miki Sasaki, Nobuhisa Ikeda

Brothers (Terry Bourke, 1982) aka Hounds of War, novel Reflex by Roger Ward (uncredited); Chard Hayward, Ivar Kants, Margaret Laurence, Alison Best; based on true story of five Australian journalists shot in Timor in 1975; two journalist brothers escape death but find it hard to settle in small town in NZ even after four years

Children of Huang Shi, The (Roger Spottiswoode, 2008) Australia-China-Germany co-production; US release 15 March 2008

Echoes of Paradise (Phillip Noyce, 1988) [USA/theatrical] aka Shadows of the Peacock [Australian/DVD], formerly Love on a Tourist Visa, or Promises to Keep; wr. Jan Sharp, dp Peter James, exec prod Jan Sharp, prod. Jane Scott; Wendy Hughes, John Lone, Rod Mullinar, Peta Toppano, Steven Jacobs, Gillian Jones, Claudia Karvan; "Maria's seemingly secure world collapses - her senses numbed, she escapes to exotic Thailand to examine her past and her future. Soon she meets a mysterious and handsome Balinese dancer and what begins as a friendship turns into a passionate and all-consuming love affair." (video box); 92 min.; released on DVD 2004

Far East (John Duigan, 1982) wr. John Duigan, dp Brian Probyn, design Ross Major, ed. Henry Dangar; Bryan Brown, Helen Morse, John Bell, Sinan Leong, Raina McKeon, Henry Duval, Bill Hunter; a couple come to a South East Asian country where they meet again with a former lover of the wife; their relationships are played out again the political background; Eastman colour, 35mm, 100 min.

Finished People, The (Khoa Do, 2003) mock documentary; homeless in Cabramatta; brief review of DVD release: Richard Luck, Empire, 42, September 2004: 102

Floating Life (Clara Law, 1996) aka Fu sheng; Annette Shun Wah, Annie Yip, Anthony Brandon Wong; comedy

Goddess Of 1967, The (Clara Law, 2000) dp Dion Beebe; Rose Byrne, Rikiya Jurokawa, Nicholas Hope, Elise McCredie; the story of a Japanese man who comes to Australia to buy his dream car was filmed in Sydney, Lightning Ridge and Tokyo; screened Toronto 2000

Golden Cage, The (Ayten Kuyululu, 1975) prod. Ilhan Kuyululu, wr. Ayten Kuyululu and Ismet Soydan, dp Russell Boyd; Michelle Fawdon, Ron Haddrick, llhan Kuyululu, Sayit Memisoglu, Kate Sheil; colour; story of two Turkish men in Australia and their tragic events

Heaven's Burning (Craig Lahiff, 1997) aka You Don't Know What Love Is; wr. Louis Nowra, prod. Al Clark; Russell Crowe, Youki Kudoh; Japanese woman on honeymoon in Australia leaves her husband and becomes involved with Aussie bushwhacker in a chase across Australia; 99 min.

Home Song Stories, The (Tony Ayres, 2007) wr. Tony Ayres, dp Nigel Bluck, prod. design Melinda Doring; Joan Chen, Yuwu Qi, Joel Lok, Steven Vidler, Kerry Walker; Shanghai nightclub singer struggles to survive in Australia with her two children; shot in Melbourne and Macau

Hound Of The Deep, The (Frank Hurley, 1926) aka Pearl of the South Seas; Stoll Picture Productions, prod. wr. dp Frank Hurley; Jameson Thomas, Eric Bransby Williams, W G Saunders, Lillian Douglas; shot Thursday Island PNG; 4950 ft

Illustrious Energy (Leon Narbey, 1988) aka Dreams of Home; Chan, a Chinese prospector in the NZ goldfields in the 1860s and his father-in-law work a gold claim in a racist climate

In a Savage Land (Bill Bennett, 1999) wr. & prod. Bill Bennett, Jennifer Bennett; Maya Stange, Martin Harrison, Rufus Sewell, John Howard, Max Cullen; won two AFI awards 1999 (Sound, and Music), nommed for five others (incl. Best Actress); American Martin Harrison plays the anthropologist from Harvard; IF: Married anthropologists voyage to a PNG island to study sexual behaviour of the locals. An interesting, gutsy first half trips its way into the second, which leans at times toward a storyline more befitting of a Mills and Boon novel. Still, a tale told well. Bill and Jennifer Bennett have written an intelligent role for just the right woman, unearthing a star in Maya Stange. (Independent Filmmakers, October 1999: 17)

Jammed, The (Dee McLachlan, 2007) Emma Lung, Veronica Sywak, Saskia Burmeister; Australia 22 June 2007 (Sydney International Film Festival); women of different national origins trapped in sex slavery

Jungle Woman, The (Frank Hurley, 1926) Stoll Picture Productions; prod. wr. dp Frank Hurley; Eric Bransby Williams, Grace Savieri (Hurana), Jameson Thomas, Lillian Douglas; shot Thursday Island PNG; 6070 ft

Japanese Story (Sue Brooks, 2003) wr. Alison Tilson, prod. Sue Maslin, ed. Jill Bilcock; Gecko Films; Toni Collette as Sandy Edwards, Gotaro Tsunashima as Tachibana Hiromitsu; set and shot in Perth and the Pilbara; screened at Cannes in the section of the Festival called Un Certain Regard; won Best Film, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography AFIs 2003; well-connected Japanese executive comes to Western Australian to inspect iron-ore mining and is driven in the bush by a geologist (Collette)

Koya No Toseinin [The Drifting Avenger] (Junya Sato, 1968) Japanese western shot but not released in Australia

Kokoda Front Line! (Damien Parer, 1944) war doco shot in New Guinea; Australia's first (joint) Oscar winner

Like a Dream (Clara Law, 2009) relationship between American man and Chinese woman; co-produced with US; shot in New York and Shanghai

Little Fish (Rowan Woods, 2005) prod. Vincent Sheehan, Liz Watts, Porchlight Films, wr. Jacquelin Perske, dp Danny Ruhlmann; Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett, Sam Neill, Martin Henderson, Dustin Nguyen, Joel Tobeck, Noni Hazlehurst, Lisa McCune, Susie Porter; set in Little Saigon outside Sydney; woman tries to escape her past as a heroin addict and set up a business in Sydney's west; to open Melbourne FF 20 July 2005; 114 min.

Little Sparrows (Yu-Hsiu Camille Chen, 2010) Nicola Bartlett, James Hagan, Nina Deasley, Melanie Munt, Arielle Gray, Scott Jackson, Nick Candy, Whitney Richards, Nick Gray, Simon Lockwood; director is from Taiwan; drama; 88 min.

Love in Ambush (Carl Schultz, 1997) aka Angkor, Mirabeau; wr. Carl Schultz; Jacques Perrin, Gary Sweet, Sigrid Thornton, Grant Piro, James Tolkan; political romance; Shelly Kincaid leaves her unhappy marriage for Cambodia, where her brother is accused of deserting the army in Vietnam

Love Serenade (Shirley Barrett, 1996) wr. Shirley Barrett, dp Mandy Walker; Miranda Otto, Rebecca Frith, George Shevtsov, John Alansu (Albert Lee); two sisters compete for the attentions of DJ new to small town, Sunray; the younger works in the Chinese restaurant; 101 min.

Lucky Miles (Michael James Rowland, 2007) refugees landed on remote WA coast by Indonesian crew

Mao's Last Dancer (Bruce Beresford, 2009) prod. Jane Scott, wr. Jan Sardi; Chi Cao, Bruce Greenwood, Kyle MacLachlan; biopic: story of dancer Li Cunxin

Man from Hong Kong, The (Brian Trenchard-Smith, 1975) aka Dragon Flies; wr. Brian Trenchard-Smith, dp Russell Boyd; Deryck Barnes, Rebecca Gilling, Bill Hunter, Hugh Keays-Byrne, George Lazenby, Grant Page, Ros Spiers, Frank Thring, Jimmy Wang Yu, Roger Ward, Phillip Avalon

Midnite Spares (Quentin Masters, 1983) prod. Tom Burstall for Wednesday Investments, wr. Terry Larsen, dp Geoff Burton, music Cameron Allen, design George Liddle, ed. Andrew Prowse; Max Cullen, Bruce Spence, David Argue, John Clayton, Tony Barry, Terry Camilleri, introducing Gia Carides, Jonathan Coleman, James Laurie (Steve), Graeme Blundell; 'B' grade crime movie: the stolen car industry; anti-Viet racism; Eastman colour, 35mm, 97 min.

Moeru Tairuku [Blazing Continent] (Shogoro Nishimura, 1968) Japanese romance shot but not released in Australia

Mother Fish (Khoa Do, 2010) refugee drama

No Worries (David Elfick, 1993) Amy Terelinck, Geoff Morell, Susan Lyons, John Hargreaves, Steven Vidler, Ray Barrett, Harold Hopkins, Ngoc Hanh Nguyen (Binh); family has to leave the farm in hard times and come to the city, where the daughter makes a new, Vietnamese friend

Odd Angry Shot, The (Tom Jeffrey, 1979) prod. Sue Milliken, Tom Jeffrey for Samson Film Services, wr. Tom Jeffrey, novel by William Nagel, dp Don McAlpine, design Bernard Hides, ed. Brian Kavanagh; Graham Kennedy, John Hargreaves, John Jarratt, Bryan Brown, Graeme Blundell, Richard Moir, Ian Gilmour, Graham Rouse, John Allen, Tony Barry, Brandon Burke, John Fitzgerald, Mike Harris, Johnny Garfield, Ray Meagher, Frankie J. Holden, Roger Newcombe, Brian Evis, Rose Ricketts, Chuck McKinney, Freddie Paris, Sharon Higgins; Vietnam war; Eastman colour, 35mm, 90 min.

Quiet American, The (Phillip Noyce, 2002) dp Christopher Doyle; Michael Caine, Brendan Fraser, Do Thi Hai Yen; Toronto 2002; completed around Sept 2001 (ie. 9/11) but not released until December 2002; AAN Best Actor Michael Caine; NOT Australasian

Sebastian and the Sparrow (Scott Hicks, 1989) children's film, set in Adelaide, friendship between two boys, one Euro-Aust, other from Viet background

Southern Cross (Mark DeFriest, 2001) wr. Ron Elliott, story Paul Barron, prod. Paul D. Barron, remake of A Waltz Through the Hills (Frank Arnold, 1988) from the novel by Gerry Glaskin; Heath Bergersen, Bill Kerr, Michael Loney, Geoff Kelso; two Vietnamese children escape from an institution for refugees, and make their way to Perth

Traps (Pauline Chan, 1994) wr. Robert Carter, Pauline Chan, novel Kate Greville, Dreamhouse, dp Kevin Hayward, ed. Nicholas Beauman; Saskia Reeves, Robert Reynolds, Sami Frey, Jacqueline McKenzie, Kiet Lam; filmed on location in Vietnam; Chan's feature debut; English couple come to French Indo-China, 1950, to do photo-journalism story on rubber plantation, and become involved in political developments

Vietnam (John Duigan & Chris Noonan, 1987) mini-series

Waiting City, The (Claire McCarthy, 2010) Radha Mitchell, Joel Edgerton; couple adopt a child in India

Year of Living Dangerously, The (Peter Weir, 1982) prod. Jim McElroy for Wayan Productions, wr. David Williamson, from novel by Christopher J. Koch, design Herbert Pinter, ed. Bill Anderson, music Maurice Jarre; Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Peter Collingwood, Noel Ferrier, Linda Hunt, Bill Kerr; Jakarta 1960s; Eastman colour, 35mm, 117 min.


Bob Connolly & Robin Anderson

First Contact (Robin Anderson & Bob Connolly, 1982) documentary

Joe Leahy's Neighbours (Bob Connolly & Robin Anderson, 1988) documentary

Black Harvest (Bob Connolly & Robin Anderson, 1992) documentary

David Bradbury

Frontline (David Bradbury, 1980) documentary concerned with war cameraman Neil Davis and his work in Vietnam and Cambodia: he shot the girl who had been bombed with napalm, and the VC tank crashing through the gate of the Presidential Palace in Hanoi.

John Darling

Lempad of Bali (John Darling, 1980) documentary

Bali Triptych (John Darling, 1987) documentary

Bali Hash (John Darling, 1989) documentary

Below the Wind (John Darling, 1994) documentary

Healing of Bali, The (John Darling, 2003) documentary broadcast on The Cutting Edge, SBS, Tuesday 7 October 2003

Cecil Holmes

Gentle Strangers (Cecil Holmes, 1972) dp Bruce McNaughton; 'mini-feature' about the problems faced by Asian students in Australia; Kate Fitzpatrick; 58 min.

Chris Hilton and Gauthier Flauder

Advertising Missionaries (Chris Hilton and Gauthier Flauder, 1996) In Papua New Guinea where over three quarters of the population cannot be reached by regular advertising media, markets are being developed by other means. A theatre group travels the remote highlands performing soap operas devised around advertising messages for products like Coca Cola, Colgate and Mortein.

Solrun Hoaas

Green Tea and Cherry Ripe (Solrun Hoaas, 1988) AFI nomination Best Director in Documentary Cinema du Réel (Competition). Available on DVD

Sacred Vandals (Solrun Hoaas, 1983) Highly Commended ATOM awards Jury Special Prize, Uni-Japan Competition for films on Japan, Tokyo, 1984 recently screened in 2008: Okinawan Film Festival, Tokyo. Available on DVD

Pyongyang Diaries (Solrun Hoaas, 1998) International Forum, Berlin , IDFA (Amsterdam), PICAF (Pusan) TV broadcasts worldwide. US distributor. Available on DVD

Rushing to Sunshine (Solrun Hoaas, 2001) premiered Insa Art Space, Seoul. Chungmuro International Film Festival, Seoul, 2007. US distributor. Available on DVD

Frank Hurley

Pearls and Savages (Frank Hurley, 1921) documentary about Anglican missions in Papua; with additional footage expanded to become With the Headhunters in Papua, 1923: Hurley presented both films lecturing from the stage; see Pike & Cooper 1998: 131-3

Joris Ivens

Indonesia Calling (Joris Ivens, 1946) documentary

Gary Kildea

Trobriand Cricket (Gary Kildea with Jerry Leach, 1979) cultural creativity among the people of the Trobriand Islands of Papua New Guinea

Celso and Cora: A Manila Story (Gary Kildea, 1982) feature-length film about a young couple and their two children living in a squatter settlement in the Philippine capital, Manila

Valencia Diary (Gary Kildea, 1992) chronicle of a Southern Philippine village when daily life was charged with tension at the impending collapse of the Marcos regime

Clara Law

Letters to Ali (Clara Law & Eddie Fong, 2004) documentary; premiere Melbourne Film Festival June 2004; Toronto FF September 2004

Les McLaren & Annie Stiven

Taking Pictures (Les McLaren & Annie Stiven, 1996) thoughtful look at the way Western cameras have represented the lives of Papua New Guineans; features interviews with a variety of Australian filmmakers who have worked extensively in PNG, including Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson, Chris Owen, Dennis O'Rourke and Gary Kildea

Chris Owen

(Australian residing permanently in PNG, and one of PNG's leading filmmakers)

Bridewealth for a Goddess (Chris Owen, with Professor Andrew Strathearn, 2000) The Kawelka people live on tribal land near Mount Hagen in the Wahgi Valley, in the Western Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea; record of a ritual that took years to prepare and may never be performed again.

Tom Zubrycki

Molly and Mobarak (Tom Zubrycki, 2003) documentary; Mobarak is a refugee, and Molly and her mother befriend him

Garry Gillard | New: 2 September, 2004 | Now: 18 November, 2019