Favorite BL Directors- Part II

“The most honest form of filmmaking is to make a film for yourself.”- Peter Jackson.

For all intends and purposes, Directors are always integral to the art of filmmaking. From directing behind-the-scenes to managing the crew members, directors handle the tedious task of converting a storyline into a dream-like reality. Their determination to create masterpieces has gifted us with varied classics that will be forever memorable. In today’s feature, our authors will be talking about their favorite BL directors and their filmmaking style!

Yarnball’s Favorites

I have to admit I don’t have a lot of favourite directors outside of Thai BL, probably because a) I haven’t come across as many shows in Japanese and Chinese dramas where the direction stood out to me and b) if the direction has stood out to me, as in the case of Word of Honor and The Untamed, for example, it’s the work of a team of directors rather than just one.

Backaof Noppharnach Chaiwimol

I’m sure Aof will make it on to many ‘favourite director’ lists. Sure, I do think he does better when he doesn’t have to add ‘filler’ to series and sticks to a strong central story, but with classics like Dark Blue Kiss, A Tale of A Thousand Stars and most recently, Bad Buddy, under his belt, his skill cannot be denied. I really love his work as a director and a storyteller. He excels at bringing out his actors’ best performances and highlighting the real chemistry between them without relying on forced skinship and fanservicey scenes. I also love how his agenda is always to add a genuine aspect of queer existence into his narratives – coming out, feelings of alienation from society, acceptance by the family. He has characters talk about sexuality in a way that is often refreshing and so, so important for the genre as a whole.

Boss Naruebet Kuno

To be fair, I’ve only watched Boss Kuno’s work in I Told Sunset About You, which was more than reason enough for me to include him in my list of favourite directors. Again, I really admire his dedication to his craft – watching his behind-the-scenes videos of ITSAY showed us how determined he was to get the perfect shot or the best performance from his actors. The way he had a vision for how nearly every scene would play out, and a deeper meaning he wanted to convey through these scenes is reflected in the quality of the finished series.

Nuchy Anucha Boonyawatana

Another director I discovered thanks to one series, which is the recent Not Me, I have nothing but pure admiration for Nuchy’s work. I cannot stop talking about how important it is that more and more BL have queer people at the helm, because they are often able to not only bring a layer of authenticity to the work, but also use BL to convey larger concerns of the community, and that is absolutely what Nuchy has done with Not Me. The series is full of her raw vision, in terms of the visual style and her choices in settings and costumes, and you can see her skill in the way she has pushed every single one of her actors to deliver powerhouse performances. I have, after Not Me, gone on to watch what is probably her magnum opus – the film Malia The Farewell Flower, and I cannot recommend it enough.

I also want to mention the work of Jojo Tichakorn, who is not yet a ‘BL Director’, but will be when Never Let Me Go comes out this year, and Film Pawis, who was doing a very impressive job with direction on Enchanté but was let down with some less-than-good scripting decisions.

PotatoBLChild’s Favorites

Aof Noppharnach Chaiwimol

I think the EarthMix bias may be at work here, but I also know that Aof makes some really good BL, so I don’t have to worry too much. The cinematography and a lot of his choices are good enough to keep us watching. I’m sure that many of us felt that a few things in Bad Buddy could have been better, but overall his works are extraordinary. He also made rooftop scenes and forehead kisses more precious—they’re probably some of my favourite moments from Bad Buddy and 1000 Stars.

Nuchy Anucha Boonyawatana

I’d started watching The Blue Hour for Oab and Gun, and Not Me for Off and Gun. However, I stayed for Nuchy and her creativity. I don’t think there are enough words to describe how excited I was when I realised that she’s the creator of Not Me. I love how she subtly embedded herself in the series and made us realise how everything is political. She opened up a lot of conversations about what is currently going on in Thailand through her works, and I’m thrilled that the BL industry as a whole is talking about these things.

Kim Soo Jung

For me, Kim Soo Jung’s work takes the cake because she made the adaptation of a long Korean manhwa into its long live-action form look so easy. Most of the changes in Semantic Error were included, keeping in mind the original work. Even with all the constraints of a miniseries that is only eight episodes long –with each episode less than 25 minutes—she and her team managed to create something so beautiful that both manhwa and non-manhwa readers could enjoy it.

Hwang Da Seul

What makes Hwang Da Seul commendable is the sheer number of BL works she’s created in a short period, from Where Your Eyes Linger (2020) to her latest work, Blueming (2022). My favourite is To My Star (2021), though—just saying. She showcases her talents not only through her cinematography but also through her screenwriting. Other than Sweet Blood which fell (slightly) short of our expectations, her works are nothing short of brilliant. I’m sure most viewers are already excited for To My Star 2, and hopefully, we’ll soon get to see her fantastic work in that as well.

Special Mentions

Nothing too long this time—just a shoutout to directors who fit the bill, but I didn’t have a lot to write about (or they were already talked about at length by my fellow writers)—Boss Naruebet Kuno for ITSAY and IPYTM (because I loved the conversations he opened up regarding queer identities); Lee Ching Jung and Tsai Mi Chieh for some of the best-produced series of HIStory (Trapped and Make Our Days Count).

We will be back next week with the third edition of this feature. So till then, keep watching this space as we bring you more updates from the Asian BL World!

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