We’ve rounded up a list of 35 films currently streaming on Netflix, featuring some of our SDAFF and Spring Showcase alum over the last few years. Rewatch your festival favorites, or catch up on the films you missed! In reverse chronological order, titles you can (and should!) binge-watch:
1. The Assassin (Taiwan) — SDAFF 2015
Hou Hsiao-Hsien, 104 min.
In this masterpiece set in 9th-century China, Nie Yinniang is kidnapped and trained to become an assassin who uses her skills to get rid of corrupt public officials — until she’s ordered to kill her beloved cousin.
Soldiers afflicted with a mystery sleeping sickness are confined to a rural Thai clinic. When volunteer nurse Jenjira discovers a soldier’s cryptic notebook of strange writings and blueprint sketches, there may be a connection between the soldiers’ enigmatic syndrome and the mythic ancient site that lies beneath the clinic.
Real-life couple Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg play Americans finding their ways in the streets of Hong Kong – only to find themselves in a precarious web of flirtation. Emily Ting’s debut breezily captures expats’ now-whats and what-ifs in a sparkling Hong Kong.
When Cisco and his fellow rubber plantation workers go on strike, it feels both inevitable and insufficient. When he decides to start fresh as a cab driver in New York City, he’s still haunted by the same forces of captivity.
Director Jafar Panahi poses as a taxi driver in Tehran. With an almost cheeky love of the camera, Panahi mounts several camcorders in a taxi he drives around town, interacting with passengers and brazenly putting to the test the ethics of cinema in urban Iran.
Elliot is a chef struggling to attract customers to his restaurant, while feeling distant from his mother Emma, who hasn’t quite come to terms with the fact that he is gay. But with the help of Elliot’s irreverent neighbor Maureen, Emma is exposed to a world unencumbered by expectations – and by husbands. George Takei even makes a special cameo appearance in this touching comedy-drama.
12. Kano (Taiwan) — SDAFF 2014
Umin Boya, 185 min.
Baseball brings together all ethnicities in this inspiring true story of Taiwan under Japanese rule. In it, a hard-nosed new coach takes charge of a ragtag high school baseball team and charts them for a course for the national championships.
14. Kumu Hina (USA) — SDAFF 2014
Dean Hamer, 77 min.
This film captures a year in the life of native Hawaiian transgender kumu (hula teacher) Hina Wong-Kalu — who embodies mahu, a sacred spirit both male and female — as she finds love and becomes an inspiration.
A powerful love story captures four decades of struggle for equality. Though married since 1975, a gay couple seeking a green card spends years battling U.S. immigration officials, who refuse to recognize their union.
With his 30th birthday just around the corner, Indian-American Ravi Patel finds himself in a love triangle — with the woman of his dreams and his parents. Filmed by Ravi’s sister in what started as a family vacation video, this hilarious and heartbreaking film reveals how love is a family affair.
20. To Be Takei (USA) — Spring Showcase 2014
Jennifer Kroot, 93 min.
Over seven decades, actor and gay-rights icon George Takei boldly journeyed from a WWII internment camp, to the helm of the “Star Trek” starship Enterprise, to the daily news feeds of five million Facebook fans. Follow George and his husband Brad on this star’s playful and profound trek for life, liberty, and love.
23. Siddharth (India) — Spring Showcase 2014
Richie Mehta, 96 min.
After sending his 12-year-old son to work in another province, an indigent street merchant launches a search for the boy when he doesn’t return on the expected date. Some tell Mahendra his son probably ran away, but others whisper the more likely possibility: that Siddharth, like thousands of other Indian children each year, was abducted.
After the statute of limitations expires, a handsome murderer comes out to a hungry media with a tell-all book, taking credit for the crimes. Harboring some doubts, Lieutenant Choi continues his own search for the real killer.
29. Ilo Ilo (Singapore) — SDAFF 2013
Anthony Chen, 99 min.
The Chinese Lim family hires Teresa, a maid from the Philippines, to take care of their son Jiale, who is prone to disobedience. Like many Filipino women, Teresa has moved abroad to take care of others in order to send money home to take care of her own son. Her presence though puts a strain on the Lim family.
This entry in the saga of the man who famously trained Bruce Lee finds the middle-aged master teaching the Wing Chun style in postwar Hong Kong. Ip Man is reluctantly called into action once more when challenges from rival kung fu styles draw him into the dark and dangerous underworld of the Triads.
Investigating rumors about an island of garbage in the Pacific Ocean, filmmaker Angela Sun discovers an ecosystem completely inundated by plastic waste. Along the way she encounters scientists, industry, legislators and activists who shed light on what our society’s vast consumption of disposable plastic is doing to our oceans, and what it may be doing to our health.
33. When I Walk (USA) — SDAFF 2013
Jason DaSilva, 85 min.
When 25-year-old director Jason DaSilva was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, he decided to document his struggles to live a fulfilling life. As he sets out on a worldwide journey in search of healing and self-discovery from his wheelchair, Jason finds love in unlikely places.
Weichung, once a regular on the gay circuit, now runs an optometry shop and has a loving wife and adorable six-year-old son. When his wife pushes him to have a second child, he confronts emotions from his gay past, as his sister Mandy gets her own pre-wedding jitters and leaves her wussy fiancé stranded in a supermarket.
35. Linsanity (USA) — Spring Showcase 2013
Evan Jackson Leong, 88 min.
The life story of basketball sensation Jeremy Lin, this documentary (narrated by actor Daniel Dae Kim) examines his humble start, religious beliefs and high-scoring 2012 season with the New York Knicks, in spite of discouragements and racism.
Pacific Arts Movement presents Asian American Pacific Islander and Asian international media arts for San Diego residents and visitors in order to inspire, entertain and support a more compassionate society.