Behind every great drama is a hardworking and great director, someone who not only guides but becomes highly involved in the story they are putting on camera.
For the next few weeks, we at the BLXpress will reveal our list of favorite BL directors as we show our appreciation to the people who bring these artistic and dramatic moments to life.
Nuchy Anucha Boonyawatana
I first became a fan of P’Nuchy’s work a few years ago after renting The Blue Hour. I’m a big fan of dark, psychological, and emotional dramas, and there was a unique quality to The Blue Hour that remained with me long after it ended. The film made me think and feel; something I’ve realized is P’Nuchy’s strength when it comes to visualizing a project. I followed The Blue Hour up with Malila: The Farewell Flower and realized that P’Nuchy’s directing reminded me of poetry. And I’m a fan of her brand of poetry, the attention to detail, the symbolism, and the heart that she puts into her work. I recently fell in love with Not Me, a drama that said so much to so many people. If you are a fan of visual filmmaking full of depth, no matter the genre, P’Nuchy is undoubtedly the director to check out.
Boss Naruebet Kuno
Though I’ve seen a few of his other projects, P’Boss’s work on I Told Sunset About You leaves the most profound impression. ITSAY was truly a game-changer when released, connecting with its viewers intimately and personally. I’m hoping that ITSAY is a sign of the kind of work P’Boss plans to bring to the screen, and if it is, I certainly promise to be there for it.
Liu Kuang Hui
I’ve honestly only seen one film directed by Liu Kuang Hui, but it was enough to make me a fan. Your Name Engraved Herein left a deep impression on me. It was a very intimate and personal story that connected with many of its viewers, and the fapct that it emulated Liu Kuang Hui’s own first love story speaks volumes about why. It takes courage to delve into a project that hits so close to the heart. As a writer, the projects most personal to me affect me the most. Those are the books I fully bled onto the pages of, and I felt that same bleeding of emotional feelings in Your Name Engraved Herein. Although Your Name Engraved is my first Liu Kuang Hui film, I fully intend to follow what he does moving forward.
New Siwaj Sawatmaneekul
There is something about Thai director P’New that I continuously come back to. I think I’ve seen every project he’s been a part of at this point, and I keep coming back for more. There’s a lot of potential in his work. Even when I find I’m not as invested in one of his dramas as I’d like to be or I find myself disinterested in a particular story, I still return to him. There are moments of brilliance in his projects that tell me he’s got a lot he wants to do and a vision for his work. I feel like he’s got something great inside of him waiting to be set free, which is why he makes this list. This is especially apparent in the drama Until We Meet Again. He makes it onto this list because of the potential I feel he has to capture specific moments on camera. I want to be there when he says, “Action!” And then gives us that something great I feel is coming.
I am a massive fan of Japanese gay romances. They have a uniquely deep feel that sets them apart from other Asian BLs. Even when they’re comedic. So, if I could, I would list every director involved in all of the Japanese BLs released thus far. Instead, I will focus on the three I am most familiar with, beginning with My Beautiful Man’s Sakai Mai. Because I am familiar with and am a fan of her previous works, I went into My Beautiful Man with high expectations and was not disappointed. Although Kiyoi is a complicated character to get close to, I was impressed by the vulnerability actor Yagi Yusei managed to bring to Kiyoi and the direction that Sakai Mai took the drama. By starting the drama with one POV and then suddenly switching to the other, viewers could look at Hira and Kiyoi from each other’s eyes. It was beautiful.
Although there are two directors attached to the Japanese BL series Cherry Magic, it’s Yuasa Hiroaki and his directing style that I’m most familiar with. His precious works drew me in, particularly Koe Koi, and Cherry Magic offered the type of beautiful storytelling I was hoping to see from him.
One of the directors for the Japanese BL Kieta Hatsukoi, Horai Tadaaki, is probably the director I’ve seen the most projects from out of all the Japanese BL directors. He’s on this list because of that. When I find myself continuously drawn to a director’s style, I know he has a quality to his visual storytelling that I admire.
Hwang Da Seul
Hwang Da Seul has certainly proven herself as a visual storyteller. From Where Your Eyes Linger to To My Star to Blueming, the BL projects she has helmed all have a humanistic touch that cuts deeply. She has a very interesting way of telling a story, using small touches to reach out to the viewers, such as the pimple popping in To My Star and the bike riding in Blueming. These very down-to-earth moments add a very human depth. Her dramas make it seem like stepping into the screen and becoming a part of the story is a real possibility.
Kim Soo Jung
Considering the amount of success and mainstream media attention the Korean BL Semantic Error brought to the Korean BL scene, director Kim Soo Jung certainly deserves her spot amidst the other directors mentioned. While I haven’t seen anything else she’s been a part of, I am completely invested in whatever she decides to put out next.
In the BL world, we always talk about the actors and how much we love them. We seem to forget there is a crew in the background making sure that the production and technicalities are dealt well, so we get to watch the BL’s we love. Director lead the narrative in the right direction. There are a lot of directors out there, but I have my personal favorites. I love a drama directed with kindness, caring, and understanding of the LBGTQ+ community.
Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol
My Dear Loser, Gay OK Bangcock, Moonlight Chicken, 2gether the Series, Dark Blue Kiss, A Tale of a thousand stars, Bad Buddy The Series, Baker Boys, He’s Coming to Me, Cupid’s Last Wish, Fish Upon the Sky are my all-time favorite dramas directed by Aof Noppharnach. They are brilliantly executed but not overtly dramatic. He has a way of telling the story in a way that is interesting and entertaining at the same time.
New Siwaj Sawatmaneekul
New is another fan favorite director that I adore; as he directed Love by Chance (which introduced me to BL). When I watched this series, I fell in love with the way this storyline played out. He has directed some of my other favorite dramas like- 7 Project, Until we meet again, Love by Chance 2, Make It Right The Series, Reminder S. His direction is flawless and I really admire the way, he turns each of his works into masterpieces.
These are my favorite directors. Yes, there are more out there, but these two are the ones who make me happy when I watch their dramas. They tell a story without a lot of dramatics and they always stand beside their actors. The BL world is not all rainbows and unicorns, there is a dark side and I am glad the directors I admire are on the right side of the horizon.
We will be back next week with the second edition of this feature. So till then, keep watching this space as we bring you more updates from the Asian BL World!
2 thoughts on “Favorite BL Directors”
Some solid choices-
one note as impressive as Aof’s resume is- he is not credited with directing etc on Fish Upon the Sky and is producer only of the pleasant but uneven Baker Boys.
He gets extra kudos for some of his screenwriting adaptations- especially for me “He’s Coming To Me”- the mystery suspense was not present in the novel and both characters were much more likable in the the TV series.
Also- have to shout out to WYEL and BlueMing director Hwang Da Seul= her projects pack a lot into very few minutes.
New has some strong projects and Until We Meet Again is an all time fave for me plus parts of LBC. After that- pretty spotty. Still many actors on his films have achieved career highlights: Fluke in UWMA, Fiat in MGYG and Perth in LBC.
Thank you for looking behind the camera. I’m crazy about the films from Japan too. A lot of the Thai films need to get in touch with humor found in Make It Right. It was the first series to bring me to the world of BL 🙂