By: Patricia Yap
Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with someone or just by yourself this year, you definitely can’t miss out on spending it with a good romance movie! But instead of going for the classic Hollywood titles, why not go for the Southeast Asian ones? As much as we are the kings of horror, we’re also certified experts on kilig.
Without further ado, here are SEA Wave’s High Five picks for romantic Southeast Asian movies to watch this Valentine’s Day.
One More Chance (2007) – Philippines
A Crazy Little Thing Called Love (2010) – Thailand
This is because apart from its outstanding delivery and execution, A Crazy Little Thing Called Love reminds us of what falling in love for the first time feels like—innocent, exciting, confusing and genuine.
Mat Biec (Dreamy Eyes) (2019) – Vietnam
Unmistakably, this recent movie from Vietnam, which even won the Best Picture Award (Golden Lotus Award) at the 22nd Vietnam Film Festival, will make you feel both love and hurt as you’ve never felt before. In a nutshell, Dreamy Eyes explores what it’s like to love and to never have lost that love.
Sepet (Slit-Eyed) (2005) – Malaysia
Set in Ipoh, Malaysia, Sepet is the story between teenagers Orked and Ah Loong who have almost everything in common, except for their ethnicities. With Orked being Malaysian and Ah Loong being Chinese (sepet meaning slit-eyed in Malay), this film by the late Yasmin Ahmad powerfully blends Malaysia’s unique and complicated mix of culture and language into a sweet and heartbreaking story of young love.
Ada Apa Dengan Cinta (What’s Up with Love?) (2002) – Indonesia
Now, don’t be fooled by the commonplace plot. As cliche and straightforward it may seem, What’s Up with Love? juggles the two protagonists’ love along with the relationships surrounding them (friends and family), and this enables the story to build up into a much richer and more complex narrative that will leave audiences questioning the difficult choices in their own lives.
Fun fact: The word “Cinta” in the title is a clever play on the character Cinta’s name, which means “love”. Hence, the translation of Ada Apa Dengan Cinta into “What’s Up with Love?”
That’s it for this High Five list, so if you’ve never given Southeast Asian romance movies a chance, this is your sign to do so right now.
Although some of the movies on this list may seem quite simple, what’s worth watching and remarkable about each of them is how they are able to introduce the idiosyncratic Southeast Asian experience into the life and development of the characters and narrative.
Got any opinions on these movies? Let us know in the comments below!