On Wednesday May 17 at 7pm, Kore-eda Hirokazu's Monster made its world premiere in competition, to thunderous applause. The film's narrative structure uses numerous flashbacks. The originality of this narrative caught the eye of the jury, who awarded the screenplay prize to Sakamoto Yuji, the film's screenwriter.
On Thursday May 18 at 11:30 a.m. at the Critic’s Week, Jordanian director Amjad Al Rasheed's Inchallah a boy was screened, a beautiful portrait of a widow who frees herself from the guardianship of men thanks to her fierce willpower. The Israeli-born Palestinian actress Mouna Hawa, who has already made a name for herself in Maysaloun Hamoud's In Between, gives a remarkable performance.
At 2.30pm, Wang Bing's Youth (Spring) is presented in competition at the Grand Théâtre Lumière. This is the first part of Wang Bing's 3:32-hour documentary on the work of young Chinese textile workers. The length of the work is a trademark, a signature of the great Chinese documentary filmmaker.
At 3pm on Gray d'Albion beach, on the initiative of the CNC and KOFIC, the official launch of the France-Korea Film Academy took place. Kim Dong-ho, co-founder of the Busan Film Festival, was named president of this institution, which will strengthen ties between French and Korean film professionals. The academy will have three components: training, culture and industry.
The various presidents of film institutions in ASEAN member countries were also present. They were invited to discuss future co-production projects.
At the end of the working session, Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak presented the insignia of Chevalier des Arts et Lettres to KOFIC President Park Ki-yong on behalf of the French Republic.
During the drink of friendship, representatives of the various government bodies present, notably the FDCP (Film Development Council of Philippines), were able to talk with those present, who were particularly attentive to Asian cinema.
At 5:30 p.m., as part of Cannes Classics at the Salle Buñuel, the 1947 Record of a Tenement Gentleman by Ozu Yasujiro, produced and restored by Shochiku and distributed by Carlotta Films, was screened. The screening was attended by Wim Wenders, the most "Ozuian" of Western directors, and was introduced by Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the Cannes Film Festival.
The evening of Thursday, March 18, 2023 was rich in events celebrating Asian cinema: at 7pm La Mongolian Cinema Night, at the Croisette Beach, proving the vitality of Mongolian cinema, followed at 8:45pm by Taiwan Cinema Night at Long Beach and finally from 10pm onwards by the Wang Bing evening on the Arte boat.
On Friday May 19 at 11am in the Salle Buñuel, as part of Cannes Classics, festival-goers were treated to a little gem of Indian cinema, Ishanou - The Chosen One by Aribam Syam Sharma.
At around 12:30 pm, the QCinema luncheon at Long Beach, hosted by Liza Dino and Ed Lejano, brought together the great family of Asian cinema to share moments of fraternal, gastronomic and cinematic conviviality.
At 2.30pm, at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, the latest masterpiece from Turkish cinema master Nuri Bilge Ceylan, About Dry Grasses, was screened in competition. This powerful work followed in the footsteps of Erden Kiral's A Season in Hakkari, Eric Rohmer's Ma night at Maud’s, and Abbas Kiarostami's The Wind Will Carry us, confirming Nuri Bilge Ceylan's undeniable talent, reaching the pinnacle of his art, that of the Nemrut Dag.
At 4pm, the NETPAC (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) Meeting was held in the Iranian Independents Riviera stand at the Marché du Film. It brought together a number of members of this international organization present in Cannes, including KIM Dong-ho, co-founder (Korea), Mohammad Atebbai, vice-president (Iran), Ed Lejano vice-president (Philippines), Martine Thérouanne, board member representing Europe (France), and Gulnara Abikeyeva (Kazkahstan).
Saturday May 20, 2023 at 11 a.m. in the Salle Debussy's Un Certain Regard section, Chinese director Wei Shu Jun presents Only The River Flows, his elegantly shot new crime film. His sense of ellipsis lends added force to his subject. His previous film, Ripples of Live, was selected in 2021 for the Directors' Fortnight.
At 12.45pm, at the CNC meeting on the Gray d'Albion beach, Madame Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak outlined the measures taken by her ministry and the CNC to defend cinema as part of the ongoing defense of the French cultural exception.
The CNC meeting provided an opportunity for the entire profession to meet up again, in particular to review the distributors taking the risk of releasing Asian films in this post-Covid period.
The remainder of the day was devoted to a series of events offering the opportunity to meet key players in the cultural life of cinema in the Near and Far East: at 4pm, the Arab Cinema Center's awards ceremony, organized by critics from the Arab world, Maghreb and Mashreq, at Plage des Goéland; at 7pm, the El Gouna Festival evening, Yalla Boat, Port Pierre Canto; at 8:30pm, Philippine Cinema Night at Ma Nolan's Irish pub; and at 9:30pm, Korean Movie Night, Plage Vegaluna.
On Sunday May 21, 2023 at 11am in the Salle Debussy, Anthony Chen's long-awaited new film, The Breaking Ice, was screened. This magnificent film, which focuses on the Korean minority of Chinese nationality, contains many cultural keys which unfortunately seem to be understood only by connoisseurs of Asia, and are unlikely to be understood by a large proportion of Western audiences. This sensitive and beautiful film shot in North China, close to the North Korean border, by a director from Singapore, is astonishing and deeply moving.
At 1pm, we meet with Chinese documentary filmmaker Jin Huaqing, whose latest film Dark Red Forest has won awards at numerous international festivals. This feature-length documentary is the fruit of four years' patient and lengthy filming. It offers a glimpse into the daily lives of some 20,000 Buddhist nuns living in the Yarchen monastery in the highlands of Tibet. Jin Huaqing is the author of numerous hard-hitting documentaries on life in China. He has won nearly sixty awards at film festivals around the world. He's a director to watch and encourage.
At 4.15pm, in the Salle Debussy, Mongolian director Zoljargal Purevdash's first film, If Only I could hibernate, will be screened, in selection for Un Certain Regard, competing for the Camera d'Or. This refreshingly funny film will delight young and old alike.
The evening will be packed with meetings at AFCAE's Lucky Time and Marché du Film's Fantastic Fanatic Mixer Party, not to mention Diaphana Distribution's meetings, the 15th anniversary party of the Institut Français' Fabrique de Films and the team party for Anthony Chen's The Breaking Ice.
Monday, May 22, 2023 at 11:30 a.m. screening as part of the quinzaine des cinéastes of Blackbird, Blackbird, Blackberry by Georgia director Elene Naveriani. The film portrays a single woman in the harsh rural Caucasus.
Then, still at the Quinzaine des cinéastes, the 3:02 long film by the Vietnamese director of Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell, a road movie steeped in mysticism and impeccably photographed, which earned its maker the Camera d'Or.
Tuesday May 23, 2023, screening of the Iranian film in selection at Un Certain Regard Terrestrial Verses by Ali Asgari and Alireza Khatami, a hard-hitting film recounting nine slices of daily life in Teheran.
On the same day, the Cannes Première screening of Takeshi Kitano's Kubi took place. This costume film depicts the historical incident of Honno-ji, a vassal of Oda Nobunaga, who revolted and drove the famous warlord to commit hara-kiri in Kyoto in 1582.
In the evening, at 8.45pm, the festival directors' dinner took place at the Café des Palmes in the Palais des Festivals, at the invitation of Iris Knobloch, new president of the Cannes Festival, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate. As usual, it provided an opportunity for fruitful exchanges between film festival directors from all over the world (Washington, Melbourne, Toronto, Venice, Berlin, Munich, Vienna, Istanbul, Vesoul, etc.), and with the new director of the Cannes Film Market, Guillaume Esmiol.
On Wednesday May 24, 2023, at 11am, Kim Chang-hoon's Korean film Hopeless at Un Certain Regard had the unfortunate taste of déjà vu in Korean cinema. At 6:30pm, at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, Tran Anh Hung's The Pot-au-Feu reconciled Asia and the West through gastronomy. This film can be seen as the Westernized version of A la verticale de l'été. As Tran Anh Hung so aptly and beautifully put it, "Cannes allowed me to make the Vietnamese language, my native tongue, and the French language, my adopted language, heard".
Thursday May 25 at 4pm at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, Wim Wenders, with Perfect Days, demonstrated that a Westerner could be even more Japanese than the Japanese.
Friday May 26, 2023, 11:30 am, Théâtre Croisette, Quinzaine des cinéastes, Hong Sang-soo, with In Our Days proved once again that he is the most "Rohmerian" of Korean directors.
Also in the Directors' Fortnight, Agra by Indian director Kanu Behl, paints a very neo-realistic picture of Indian society.
Saturday, May 27, 2023, closing ceremony at 8.30pm. Before the Palmarès, the last screenings and at 3:30 pm, the Ecumenical Jury Prize for Perfect Days by Wim Wenders, with Japanese actor Koji Yakusho.
The Cannes Film Festival is the place to meet or meet again as many personalities as possible in the shortest possible time, in order to build future projects.