After Bong Joon-ho’s 2019 masterpiece Parasite won multiple Oscars in 2020 (including Best Picture, Best International Feature Film, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay), more people started turning to East Asian cinema. Indeed, there are (and always has been) some great movies coming out of the massive region.

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Whether it is the undeniable beauty of Studio Ghibli’s creations or the complex relationships between Park Chan-wook’s characters, modern cinema from East Asia definitely has something to say. And some directors coming out of this part of the world are definitely loud enough to be heard.

10 Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli Directors

Though Studio Ghibli has its beginnings in the 1980s and is mostly famous for Hayao Miyazaki’s work, there are some notable directors working in the studio today.

For instance, Yoshifumi Kondo is known for collaborating with Miyazaki and has directed Ghibli’s Whisper of the Heart in 1995. Another great director to watch is Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who directed Ghibli’s The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There in the 2010s. Finally, Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki, is following in his father’s footsteps and has also directed two features for the Studio: 2006’s Tales from Earthsea and 2011’s From Up on Poppy Hill.

9 John Woo

John Woo

Hong Kong cinema has always been important in Asia and one of its most representative directors is John Woo, who has been a major influence on the action genre, even beyond Asia.

Woo’s directorial career began in 1968, but his most well-known works internationally are 1992’s Hard Boiled and 1997’s Face/Off with John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. After that, Woo directed Mission Impossible 2 and he continues to work to this day, with his movies being both critically and commercially successful.

8 Makoto Shinkai

Makoto Shinkai

When someone is praised as the “second Miyazaki,” every fan of anime should pay attention, and Makoto Shinkai is definitely a big name in modern anime.

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Shinkai’s two most famous works are 2016’s Your Name (which became the highest-grossing anime film and the highest-grossing Japanese film worldwide of all time) and 2019’s Weathering With You (which received four Annie Award nominations becoming the third anime film ever to achieve this).

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