4 Movies Like Noryang: Deadly Sea (2023)

Staff & contributors

It's impossible not to be moved by this passionate love letter to the medium of film and its singular abilities to witness, commemorate, connect, educate, and, yes, entertain. The Living Record is more than that, though: it’s also an urgent clarion call for better support of the infrastructure and people who preserve and restore the celluloid reels that contain so much of our history.

In two hours, it packs in a lot — perhaps even too much, because there is so much fascinating material here that it’s almost overwhelming to take it in all at once. The doc draws on a sweeping line-up of contributors who collectively illuminate every facet of the need for preservation and restoration, from archivists to filmmakers like Jonas Mekas, Ken Loach, and Costa-Gavras. Its scope is just as commendably exhaustive, featuring nuanced discussions of the dangers politics poses to preservation efforts, as well as the particular need for archives in formerly colonized countries to prevent “cultural amnesia.” Despite all the challenges it highlights, its tone isn’t hopeless, as the film draws strength from the tireless efforts of archivists and cinematic saviors like Martin Scorsese. It’s impossible to watch this and not come away affirmed or converted into similarly passionate champions of preservation.

Genre: Documentary, Drama, History

Actor: Ben Mankiewicz, Costa-Gavras, Fernando Trueba, Jonas Mekas, Ken Loach, Laure Adler, Margaret Bodde, Martin Scorsese, Patricio Guzman, Ridley Scott, Serge Bromberg, Vittorio Storaro, Wim Wenders

Director: Inés Toharia Terán

Remember Bing Bong from Inside Out? This time, there’s a whole world of imaginary friends that don't fade into the recesses of a child’s mind– instead, they transfer to another place, ready to take on the imaginations of children around the world. That’s the basic premise of The Imaginary. Of course, Studio Ponoc’s third film has been at least partially inspired by Studio Ghibli, with some of its staff having their start there, and with the film’s dreamlike portals and strange cats, but the film takes a more straightforward approach to its story and analogies. As Rudger fights against Mr. Bunting, the film examines, well, imagination, but in all its forms– fodder for corporations to feed on, propaganda to calm the masses, but also as the innately human response to grief, as a mature solution to life’s troubles. The Imaginary may not be a stand-out, but we can’t help but applaud Studio Ponoc’s sincerity in celebrating human creativity.

Genre: Adventure, Animation, Drama, Family, Fantasy

Actor: Akira Terao, Atsuko Takahata, Hana Sugisaki, Ikue Otani, Issey Ogata, Kokoro Hirasawa, Kokoro Terada, Mitsuaki Kanuka, Riisa Naka, Rio Suzuki, Sakura Andô, Takayuki Yamada

Director: Yoshiyuki Momose

Rating: PG

Transporting the Henry James novella to the nightclub, The Beast in the Jungle turns the Edwardian era story into a surreal, escapist drama spanning the last decades of the 20th century. As John and May wait for that all-important event, they lose the importance of everything else, like love, friendship, and family, all to the decadence they only acknowledge as patience. This concept paired with the visuals are interesting, especially since the film also makes the viewer wait with them, drawing out the existential frustration, the fear of a life not lived, and the self-absorption, but the film struggles with the historical events, haphazardly inserting tragedies like the AIDS epidemic for what seems to be no reason.

Genre: Drama

Actor: Anaïs Demoustier, Bachir Tlili, Béatrice Dalle, Mara Taquin, Martin Vischer, Tom Mercier

Director: Patric Chiha

The latest installment of Ly Hai’s Face Off franchise has an entertaining premise with some terrible plot twists. With this premise, it’s almost expected to see the worst of the worst of people when given a jackpot, and it’s easy to feel distraught when this happens, because the initial dynamic between the six friends feels genuine. However, the fun and wacky hijinks devolve into seriously messed up plot twists. Some of these work, but certain scenes feel like it was just added for shock value at the expense of other characters. The film couldn’t choose between vilifying some characters and celebrating their friendship. Because of this, Face Off 6 feels like it missed its mark.

Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller

Actor: Huy Khánh, Huỳnh Thi, Lý Hải, Quốc Cường, Tiết Cương, Trung Dũng

Director: Lý Hải