Screen spotlights 14 Asian titles aiming to tempt festival directors in 2022 including new titles from Brillante Mendoza, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Park Chan-wook and Makoto Shinkai.
Dir. Brillante Mendoza
Mendoza reunites with his Cannes best actress winner Jaclyn Jose (Ma Rosa) and Kinatay star Coco Martin in this hit-and-run drama, about a widow unknowingly hired by the culprit to work in his family restaurant as he wishes to make amends. This is the first film of the second edition of the B2B programme launched by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society and China’s Heaven Pictures.
Contact: HKIFF Collection
Dir. Makbul Mubarak
This Indonesian feature debut follows a timid 18-year-old boy who keeps the house for a retired general; however, things turn nasty when the mayoral election approaches. Principal producer for this multiple country co-production is Yulia Evina Bhara from Indonesia. Makbul’s 2017 short film The Malediction won awards at the Singapore and Indonesia film festivals.
Contact: KawanKawan Media
Broker (South Korea)
Dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda
Palme d’Or winner Kore-eda (Shoplifters) is in post-production for this Korean-language drama produced by Zip Cinema and backed and distributed by CJ Entertainment. Song Kang-ho, Gang Dong-won, Lee Ji-eun, Doona Bae and Lee Joo-young star in a story that follows two men who have taken a child from a “baby box” where parents can leave infants they can’t raise, a regretful mother and two police detectives.
Contact: CJ Entertainment
Clap Your Hands (China)
Dir. Zhu Jie
Produced by Summer Is Gone producer Zhang Jian, this debut feature recounts the tough journey of a working-class woman taking care of her daughter suffering from a rare bone disease. Despite the sad storyline, the characters find courage and hope in life. Beijing-based Zhu previously won the top prize for his debut short film Color Of Paradise at Tokyo’s Short Shorts festival in 2007.
Contact: Parallax Films
Decision To Leave (South Korea)
Dir. Park Chan-wook
Cannes regular Park (The Handmaiden) wrapped production on this film last March with no intention of rushing to festivals or release. He is still in post-production on the Korean-and-Chinese-language film about a detective (played by Park Hae-il) drawn to a mysterious woman (Tang Wei) while investigating her husband’s death. Moho Film is producing with CJ Entertainment backing and distributing.
Contact: CJ Entertainment
Glorious Ashes (Vietnam-France-Singapore)
Dir. Bui Thac Chuyen
Chuyen’s latest film is set in Vietnam’s southernmost fishing town, focusing on three women and their unique relationships with their men. It is adapted from short stories by local author Nguyen Ngoc Tu and produced by Tran Thi Bich Ngoc, Richard Magnien, Marie Mouchel-Blaisot and Jeremy Chua. Chuyen’s credits include his 2005 debut feature Living In Fear, which won him Shanghai International Film Festival’s Asian New Talent award, and Adrift, which played in Venice’s Horizons section in 2009.
Contact: An Nam Productions
Good Autumn, Mommy (China)
Dir. Chen Shizhong
The Assassin actress Shu Qi plays a sugarcane farmer who sets off on a journey to find her newborn daughter after she is lost during a rainstorm. White K (The Best Is Yet To Come) co-stars in this debut feature by Chen who was selected as one of the top five directors of the young director support programme by the China Film Director’s Guild in 2019.
In The Morning Of La Petite Mort (Taiwan)
Dir. Wang Yu-Lin
Wang’s new film is a provocative erotic drama about a Japanese food delivery man, a Taiwanese prostitute and a Filipino cleaner who are swept up by their insatiable appetites for sex. Producer Patrick Huang recently produced C.B. Yi’s Moneyboys, which played in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard last summer. Wang previously co-directed Seven Days In Heaven, which received two prizes at the 2010 Golden Horse Awards, while his previous feature Alifu, The Prince/ss competed in Tokyo film festival’s Asian Future section in 2017.
Contact: Flash Forward Entertainment
A Light Never Goes Out (Hong Kong)
Dir. Anastasia Tsang
Veteran actress/director Sylvia Chang plays a widow determined to fulfil her late husband’s wish of recreating a demolished neon sign, once an icon that illuminated Hong Kong. Simon Yam and rising actress Cecilia Choi (Beyond The Dream) co-star. The Way We Dance producer Saville Chan produces this debut feature for Tsang, who is a graduate of Sorbonne University’s film department.
Contact: Eyes Front Pictures
Dir. Phuttiphong Aroonpheng
Thai musician Hugo Chakrabongse plays a Thai-American ex-pop star who returns to his hometown in northeastern Thailand, a place still haunted by ghosts of American GIs from the Vietnam War. Phuttiphong’s directorial debut Manta Ray received multiple festival prizes including the Venice Horizons award in 2018. That film’s Thai producers Mai Meksawan and Chatchai Chaiyon are also producing Morrison.
Contact: The Party Film Sales
Smuggle (South Korea)
Dir. Ryoo Seung-wan
Ryoo, whose The City Of Violence played in Venice’s midnight section in 2006 and Crying Fist was in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight the year before that, is in post-production on his latest action film. Exploring the world of Korean haenyeo – or ‘sea women’ who deep-dive without breathing equipment – the film stars Kim Hye-soo, Yum Jung-ah, Zo In-sung and Park Jeong-min and follows two haenyeo who get caught up in the smuggling business in the 1970s. Filmmaker R&K is producing, backed by distributor NEW.
Contact: Contents Panda
Suzume No Tojimari (Japan)
Dir. Makoto Shinkai
Following his international blockbuster hits Your Name and Weathering With You, Shinkai is completing an animated feature about a 17-year-old girl named Suzume who travels around Japan closing mysterious doors to shut out calamity. While the official English title is yet to be confirmed, the literal translation from the Japanese means Suzume’s Door-closing. It is scheduled for an autumn release in Japan.
Warriors Of The Future (Hong Kong)
Dir. Ng Yuen Fai
Described as the most expensive sci-fi from Hong Kong in recent years, this VFX-laden film is set in an apocalyptic near-future when a giant plant hitches a ride inside an asteroid to planet Earth, triggering unprecedented catastrophe to humanity. Louis Koo, Lau Ching Wan and Carina Lau topline the cast of this directorial debut by award-winning visual-effects specialist Ng.
Contact: One Cool Pictures
Your Lovely Smile (Japan)
Dir. Lim Kah Wai
Osaka-based Malaysian director Lim’s ninth film is a road movie about an independent filmmaker who travels from Okinawa to Hokkaido to pitch his films to various arthouse cinemas during the pandemic. Lim has previously directed an Osaka-set trilogy, including Come And Go which premiered in Tokyo and Tallinn Black Nights in 2020.
Contact: Cinema Drifters
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