Cannes Film Festival has finally revealed the full programme of its 71st edition and the small Asian selection is very promising and includes few regular participants along with some talented new newbies.
Let’s have a first look at the list.
“Burning” by Lee Chang-dong (South Korea)
This much anticipated adaptation of “Barn Burning”, a short story by Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami, is a tale of three young adults and – in full Murakami’s style – a mysterious accident. Back after a 7-year break, director Lee Chang-dong has summoned Yoo Ah-in (“The Throne” and “Veteran”), Steven Yuen (“Okja”) and pretty new actress Jeon Jong-seo for the roles.
“Ash is Purest White” by Jia Zhangke (China)
Jia Zhangke returns to Cannes with this big-budget and ambitious film; a love story set on the backdrop of China criminal world in the industrial town of Datong, spanning from 2001 to 2017. Within the cast the unmissable director’s muse and wife Zhao Tao and Liao Fan who we have seen and appreciated in 2014 noir “Burn Coal, Thin Ice”.
“Shoplifter” by Kore-eda Hirokazu (Japan)
Cannes beloved Japanese director Kore-eda is back with “Shoplifters” in which a family of small-time criminals finds a lost child in the street and takes him in. Indeed a familiar ground for a director who has created some of the most poetic stories around children ad families. Charming cast includes Lily Franky, Koreeda’s regular Kirin Kiki and Sakura Ando.
“Netemo Sametemo (Asako I & II)” by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)
In competition also first-time-at-Cannes director Ryusuke Hamaguchi (of multi-awarded “Happy Hour”) with an intriguing drama about a mysterious encounter of a woman with a man who might not be what he looks.
Un Certain Regard
“Manto” by Nandita Das (India)
Big names of Indian cinema Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Rasika Dugal star in this biopic of the controversial Urdu poet and writer Saadat Hasan Manto. The only Indian film competing in Cannes 2018, this historical period drama is the work of acteress-director Nandita Das.
“Long Day’s Journey Into Night” by Bi Gan (China)
Bi Gan’s 2015 debut movie “Kaili Blues” was an astonishing elliptical ballad about blurring time and searching for past and future and this noir-tinted new work follows a man with a dark past returning to his home-town. The star-studded cast includes Tang Wei, Sylvia Chang and also Chen Yongzhong from “Kaili Blues”.
“Dead Souls” by Wang Bing (China)
Like his acclaimed last movie Mrs Fang, the new work of documentarist Wang Bing is about dying. Fans of the director’s trademark lengthy works will not be let down this time by a hefty 8 hour and 15 minute running time.
“10 Years in Thailand” by Aditya Assarat, Wisit Sasanatieng, Chulayarnon Sriphol, Apichatpong Weerasetakul (Thailand)
This collection of short movies is the Thai version (there will be soon a Japanese one too) of the Hong Kong crowd-funded project that followed the Umbrella Protest and that envisioned Hong Kong in 10 years from the present. In the same way 5 Thai directors are imagining their country in 10 years into the future. Previous Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasetakul is one of them.
“The Spy Gone North” by Yoon Jong-bin (South Korea)
The movie, based on a true story and set before the 1997 elections for the South Korean President is all in the title; a secret agent tries to negotiate a deal with North Korea. Maybe not the most original of the plots but the presence of histrionic actor Hwang Jung-min should be a guarantee of quality.
Short Films Cometition
“Judgement” by Raymund Ribay Gutierrez (Philippines)
“Duality” by Masahiko Sato, Genki Kawamura, Yutaro Seki, Masayuki Toyota, Kentaro Hirase (Japan)
“On The Border” by Wei Shujun (China)
The Cinéfondation Selection 2018
“Dong Wu Xiong Meng” (The Storm in Our Blood) by Di Shen (Shanghai Theatre Academy – China)