Asian Winners in Cannes

System Administrator Saturday July 15, 2023

The 76th Cannes Film Festival has come to an end. NETPAC board member Ed Lejano noted that five out of ten awards were given to Asian films. In general, in the Main competition, 3 out of 21 films were submitted from Asia, 6 out of 20 in Un Certain Regard, 5 out of 19 in Directors' Fortnight, and 1 out of 7 in Critics' Week. Certainly Asian films demonstrate the power and diversity of Asian cinema, despite the fact that there were not so many Asian films - 15 films out of 67 in the four official programs of Cannes.

NETPAC meeting at Cannes this year for a catch up at the Iranian Independents booth.
NETPAC meeting at Cannes this year for a catch up at the Iranian Independents booth.


Monster by Kore-eda Hirokazu won The Best Screenplay award, which was presented to Yuji Sakamoto. Seventy years later, we have a new version of Rashomon: the story of a teenager at school is told from three points of view: his single mother, who believes that her son at school is being terrorized by a teacher, from the point of view of that teacher - a kind person in essence and through the eyes of the boy himself who lives in the wonderful world of his fantasies and hobbies. Truth does not exist, there is only a point of view. Ruichi Sakomoto wrote a wonderful music for the film - it was his last work in the cinema.

Nuri Bilge Ceylan competed seven times in the main competition of Cannes. Also, like Hirokazu, he was awarded the Palme d'Or in 2014 for the film Winter Sleep. His new film, About Dry Grasses, is a slow, mediatic film about a teacher at a school who is accused of pedophilia. The film won The Best Actress: award for Merve Dizdar, who played a teacher with one artificial leg who the protagonist tries to care for. 

The third Asian prize was also given to actor -  Koji Yakusho for The Best Actor in Wim Wenders' Perfect Days. We remember him very well from the films Eel by Imamura, Babel by Iñarritu and other films. The film was shot in Japan, and just as Wim Wenders once made a film about an Angel over Berlin, so now it’s about an Angel over Tokyo. The hero Koji Yakusho cleans public toilets in the morning, and the rest of the time he observes the beauty of life - just pure zen.

The fourth and fifth prizes went to Vietnamese directors, which, in my opinion, speaks of a new status in the world of Vietnamese cinema.

The Best Director award went to Tran Anh Hung for the French film The Pot-au-Feu, starring Juliette Binoche and Benoît Magimel. All critics noted that this is an ideally made film, externally it is about cooking, but internally about love that breaks hearts. Tran Anh Hung has already received such high awards as the Golden Lion of Venice for Cyclo, the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film for The Scent of Green Papaya, but the victory at Cannes once again confirmed his high directing level.

The Golden Camera for Best Debut Film was awarded to the Vietnamese film Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell directed by Pham Thien An and screened in the Directors' Fortnight program. Set in the wild and obscure landscapes of Vietnam, this is a stunningly beautiful film about a man named Thien who carries the body of his bride who died in a motorcycle accident to Saigon.

That’s all about the winners. But I also would like to note the Mongolian cinema, which made a breakthrough this year and was shown for the first time in Cannes. Zoljargal Purevdash’s If Only I Could Hibernate  a participant of the "Un Certain Regard" program. A story about how in a poor family a mother with her youngest child leaves to work, and the remaining four children themselves survive in a cold yurt in winter. At the same time, the film has a lot of humor and light.

Written by Gulnara Abikeyeva


Supriya Suri's Interview with Muhiddin Muzaffar

Director Muhiddin Muzaffar (1) 2 Min

1. I entered the cinema through the theatre. I was an actor in our local theatre called Kanibadam, named after Tuhfa Fozilova. After working for five years, I decided to do a theatre director course. I graduated with honors and became a director. We successfully staged performances at international festivals.


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