If you’re feeling disenchanted with the all-too-familiar tried and tested tropes of the western film industry, it may be time to broaden your horizons and look to other countries for some slightly different cinematic experiences. There are plenty of film industries that exist in the shadow of the Hollywood behemoth, but they are often overlooked or simply too hard to find through traditional channels. Here are three countries with cinema that is well worth checking out.
You’ve heard of Bollywood, but have you actually taken the time to experience it? If not, you are in for a treat. The films produced in India are often worlds apart from the offerings in the west, and they make for an exciting and uplifting experience. Bollywood offerings are typically musicals that cross multiple genres. This type of film is referred to as the masala film, which is usually a mix of romance, action, comedy, and drama.
One genre that Bollywood has managed to do well over the years is gambling. Staking on games of chance is a hugely popular pastime in the country, with an estimated 17.2 million gamblers in the country. Because there are so many people wanting to play games like roulette and blackjack, there are sites such as Asiabet that help players decide where to play. From there, they are able to see the bonuses on offer, along with a few game recommendations. Those who prefer to play on their mobile will find reviews detailing the performance of each site, and other details such as payment methods.
Not only do Indians like to play the games, but they also love to watch films about them. The vast list of Bollywood offerings that centre on gambling includes The Great Gambler, Teen Patti, and Hera Pheri. Bollywood seems to be getting more international recognition nowadays, with films like Zero and The Sky is Pink being relatively successful internationally.
Tony Jaa is one of the most famous Thai actors, with the martial artist appearing in a few Hollywood films including Furious 7 and XXX: Return of Xander Cage. For this reason, some of the best Thai offerings involving Jaa have reached audiences worldwide. These include the incredibly enjoyable and action-filled Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior in 2003, and Tom-Yum-Goong in 2005. Both of these were rebranded slightly in the US and the UK to appeal to viewers there.
These high octane action flicks may have brought attention to Thai cinema, but the genre in which Thailand really excels is horror. Buddhists in Thailand have a strong belief in ghosts and spirits, which is probably why horror is one of the most prevalent genres in the country. With filmmakers having worked on this type of film for some time, they have managed to perfect it. In fact, it could even be argued that Thai horrors have surpassed those in the west.
One of the best-known Thai horror films is the 2004 release, Shutter. The film directed by Banjong Pisanthanakun and Parkpoom Wongpoom is one of the most famous Thai films ever made, and it received various awards at film festivals around the world. Its popularity led to an English language remake in 2008 from Masayuki Ochiai.
The recent success of Parasite at the Academy Awards has put South Korean cinema on the map. But the offering from Bong Joon-ho isn’t just a fluke. Indeed, the movies being churned out by the country’s film industry have been solid for some time and are only going to get more attention in the years ahead. Along with Parasite, Joon-ho has directed a number of other incredible films that have gained international recognition. These include Okja in 2017 and Snowpiercer in 2013.
Some other notable South Korean offerings include The Admiral, which is the highest-grossing film from the country, and Train to Busan, which set a record for having over 10 million theatre-goers.
To really experience the great movies that the world has to offer, film lovers need to step out of their comfort zones and actively search for something new. The countries mentioned here are not the only ones releasing incredible films on a regular basis either. Germany, Romania, and Mexico have all been lauded for their cinematic triumphs over the years as well.