Books and Films about Southeast Asia *Redux*
June 1, 2011 7:42 AM   Subscribe

What are the books and films that really get across the vibe of cities or regions in Southeast Asia?

In 2005 einarorn asked a very similar question about books (, but I thought a good bit has changed in 6 years, so hopefully there will be some great new additions to that list.
posted by phaedrus441 to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think Chungking Express is oe of the best movies I've seen for this. It's a strange and expressionistic film, and this helps to make its environment feel more real than a "realistic" portrayal might.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:28 AM on June 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

Shantaram, by Gregory David Harrison, REALLY hit me as far as Mumbai. Bonus, being it is a very very thinly veiled novel, based on his own life story. It's like you can smell it as you read.
posted by timsteil at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2011

Maximum City for Bombay/Mumbai
posted by sweetkid at 9:04 AM on June 1, 2011

Sacred Games, by Vikram Chandra, is set in Mumbai and touches on the relationship between the police, organized crime, and terrorism.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:10 AM on June 1, 2011

I didn't really like the movie, but I thought that Sandcastle came close to capturing certain aspects of life in Singapore. It's a coming-of-age movie about a teenager and the period just before he's conscripted, like all other males of his age, into the military for two years.
posted by nihraguk at 10:43 AM on June 1, 2011

I thought The Windup Girl gave a great dystopian vision of future Thailand. Also, River of Gods was a great dystopian vision of future India.
posted by reverend cuttle at 2:36 PM on June 1, 2011

I really enjoyed Sightseeing, a book of short stories written by Rattawut Lapcharoensap and set in Thailand.
posted by Wantok at 6:05 PM on June 1, 2011

Off The Rails in Phnom Penh did a good job exploring the seedier side of Cambodia.
posted by reenum at 7:28 PM on June 1, 2011

The Indochina Chronicles is a non-fiction account of a trip down the Mekong River from China to Vietnam. Adds some texture as well as some historical consciousness.

The Quiet American conjures '50s Vietnam; the place has changed of course. It's a good book (and movie).
posted by grobstein at 9:30 AM on June 14, 2011

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