Asian Film Online Series | Alexander Street

Asian Film Online Series

Asian Film Online is a comprehensive repository of documentaries, feature films and shorts that provides a first-hand perspective into contemporary Asian issues through the voices of Asian filmmakers and content producers. These hard-to-find films are brought together for the first time in a streaming online platform, enabling scholars, researchers and teachers to discover, view, teach and study them at home, in the classroom, or on a mobile device, from anywhere in the world.

Whereas tracking down these hard-to-find films individually is a time-consuming, expensive, and complicated process, Asian Film Online brings this trove of high-quality resources straight to your library in one cost-effective, easy-to-use online interface.

This series is invaluable for scholarship in Asian Studies, including Chinese Studies, Korean Studies, Japanese Studies and South Asian Studies, and integrates into multidisciplinary sources with an Asian focus, including history, political science, cultural studies, film studies, anthropology, women’s studies, religion, language and environmental studies.

Portfolios and complete bodies of work from a selection of the most prominent filmmakers of the region make the collection an indispensable resource for the study of film, literature, and the visual and performing arts. Primary source, original language films are perfect for language learners, in particular Mandarin, Korean, Japanese and Farsi.

Films are perfectly suited to illustrate and stimulate dialogue topics such as: globalization and urbanization; family and marriage; diaspora and immigration; female agency and gender rights; politics and conflict; social movements; economic conditions; and culture and identity.

Asian Film Online: Volume I

Asian Film Online: Volume I features nearly 600 hours of film from across the region. More than 75 percent of these titles stream exclusively in Asian Film Online, and more than 60 percent are award winners. Twenty-four countries are represented, with a strong concentration on China, India, Iran, South Korea, and Southeast Asia.

The collection features internationally acclaimed directors as well as those rarely seen outside their native countries. Filmmakers include:

  • Xie Fei, an award winner from China (A Girl from Hunan, Black Snow, A Mongolian Tale)
  • Iranian new-wave director Dariush Mehrjui (The Cycle, PariThe Lodgers)
  • Leading Indonesian director Garin Nugroho (And the Moon Dances, A Poet, Bird Man Tale)
  • South Korean feminist documentarian Kim Soyoung (Koryu: Southern WomanNew Woman: Her First SongI’ll Be Seeing Her: Images of Women in Korean Cinema)
  • West Asian (Middle Eastern) filmmakers: Iran’s Majid Majidi (The Color of Paradise, Baran), Lebanon’s Jocelyn Saab (Kiss Me Not on the Eyes), and Iraq’s Shawkat Amin Korki (Crossing the Dust)
  • Sri Lankan directors Prassana Vithanage, Asoka Handagama, and Dharmasna Pathiraja
  • Plus Tanvir Mokammel (Bangladesh), Adoor Gopalakrishnan (India), Kim Dong Won (South Korea), and James Lee (Malaysia)

Other highlights of Volume I include:

  • More than 30 films highlighting Persia’s rich history and the diverse societies that define the country, each paired with a contextual video introduction from a leading film scholar or expert.
  • Fourteen significant films made by “sixth generation” filmmakers, as discussed by Dr. Sun Shaoyi and Li Xun in their book Lights! Camera! Kai Shi!: In-depth Interviews with China’s New Generation of Movie Directors
  • The Water Cries, a 16-part series produced by CCTV in China, which examines the largely untold story of water rights in China’s past, present, and future.

Asian Film Online: Volume II

Launched in 2014, Volume II is growing to deliver 500 additional hours of film along with 1,000 pages of text focused on the featured films and filmmakers. The second volume features works from 70 countries across Asia, including more in-depth coverage of Turkey, Hong Kong, Afghanistan, and Vietnam.

Highlights from Volume II include:

  • Feature films from the rarely seen region of Assam in Northeast India, including works from Jahnu Barua and Utpal Borpujar
  • The complete works of Vietnam’s Dang Nhat Minh, not available together in any other collection
  • The largest available collection of films from Sri Lanka’s Sir Lester James Peries, winner of the Fellini Gold Medal at the 2003 Cannes International Film Festival
  • Behind-the-scenes footage with award-winning Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou, including a detailed look at the creation of the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2008 Beijing Olympics
  • Films from Iranian feminist Tahinineh Milani, whose controversial works address women’s rights and include award-winners like The Unwanted WomanThe Fifth ReactionTwo WomenThe Hidden Half, and Ceasefire—one of the best-selling Iranian movies of all time

Teaching power

Asian Film Online is available on Alexander Street’s online interface, and provides an array of features to enhance teaching and learning.

  • The collection is indexed to meet the specific search needs of faculty and students in film and Asian studies. Search and browse filmmaker, country, language, genre, theme, original language, and other criteria.
  • Unlike physical DVDs, online streaming makes it easy to queue up video for in-class or assigned watching, and allows unlimited simultaneous viewers on-campus or off.
  • Clip-making tools, personalized playlists, and annotations let you integrate content straight into your syllabus or LMS.
  • Synchronized, searchable, scrolling transcripts run alongside each video, enhancing navigation and access.

Product information

Asian Film Online is a multi-part online collection of streaming video available to libraries via annual subscription or one-time purchase, with pricing scaled to your institution. Volumes are available individually or as a series.

Background information about select films




This resource will be beneficial to those interested in Asian and Middle Eastern studies and the study of film. It will also facilitate interdisciplinary research in the humanities and social sciences. A trial is recommended to determine cost-effectiveness. Summing up: highly recommended.

K. T. Wei, emerita, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign CHOICE