Supported titles at Cannes 2023
09 May 2023
Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing’s latest epic documentary Youth (Spring), which screens in the official competition, is one of the seven titles either supported by the Hubert Bals Fund or presented at CineMart that are set to premiere at the 2023 Festival de Cannes. Several directors with IFFR histories, including the Argentinian directors Lisandro Alonso and Rodrigo Moreno, Georgian director Elene Naveriani, and Portuguese directors Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra, screen their latest projects alongside debut feature filmmakers Amanda Nell Eu from Malaysia and Thien An Pham from Vietnam.
The textile town of Zhili, 150 km from Shanghai, is the setting for the latest monumental documentary from Wang Bing, Youth (Spring), which screens in the main competition. An IFFR regular, Wang has screened his compassionate socially engaged work in Rotterdam since 2003 with the nine hour documentary Tiexi District: West of the Tracks. The Hubert Bals Fund supported the latest film through the NFF+HBF scheme together with the Netherlands Film Fund.
"In this city dedicated to textile manufacturing,” reads the official synopsis, “young people come from all the rural regions crossed by the Yangtze River. They are in their early twenties, share dormitories and eat in the corridors. They work tirelessly to be able one day to raise a child, buy a house or set up their own workshop. Between them, friendships and love affairs are made and unmade according to the seasons, bankruptcies and family pressures."
Un Certain Regard
Argentinian director Rodrigo Moreno presented his latest work, Los delincuentes, at IFFR’s co-production market CineMart in 2015. Making films since the 1990s Nuevo Cine Argentino movement, his minimal drama Reimon (2013) and first documentary, the lyrical ode to everyday life in Colón Una ciudad de provincia (2017), both screened at IFFR. His latest is a story about a bank robbery in Buenos Aires and screens in Un Certain Regard in the Cannes’s official selection.
Moreno’s compatriot Lisandro Alonso also finds his latest project in the official selection. Eureka is a journey through time and across continents, carried by a woman who becomes a migratory bird, examining indigenous cultures and the importance of preserving them. Alonso’s debut La libertad screened at IFFR 2002, followed by several others including the mysterious 19th century-set masterpiece Jauja (2014), starring Viggo Mortensen, who returns for Eureka. The project received development support from the Hubert Bals Fund.
Semaine de la Critique
Amanda Nell Eu will make history as the first Malaysian woman filmmaker to screen a film at Cannes with her Hubert Bals Fund-supported horror Tiger Stripes: “a new, witty, and extravagant take on teenage metamorphosis and rebellion. A surprising and delightful fantasy film that celebrates young women’s desire to let loose in a society that aims to firmly discipline them.”
“I don’t think anyone is going to be ready for this film because it is a real punch in the face,” she said in an interview with the South China Morning Post. Her debut short It’s Easier to Raise Cattle (2017) screened in competition in Venice, followed by the award-winning Vinegar Baths (2018), a horror focussed on a maternity ward nurse. Tiger Stripes, her first feature, is a Dutch co-production with Amsterdam based PPRL and was supported in several stages by the Hubert Bals Fund, including for development, and through the HBF+Europe and NFF+HBF schemes.
Quinzane des Cinéastes
Georgian filmmaker Elene Naveriani follows the critically acclaimed and Locarno prize-winning Wet Sand (2021) with Blackbird Blackbird Blackberry, supported for development by the Hubert Bals Fund and presented at CineMart in 2022. When Etero, a 48-year-old unmarried woman living in a small village in Georgia, finds her self in an unexpected relationship with a man, she must face the decision of whether to pursue the traditional route of coupling or continue to pursue a life of independence. Naveriani’s first feature I Am Truly a Drop of Sun on Earth (2017) premiered at IFFR.
Also screening in the sidebar is the debut from Vietnamese filmmaker Pham Thien An, Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell. Thien travels across Vietnam to take the body of his sister-in-law, killed in a motorbike accident, back to his hometown. There he's confronted by the past, memories and desires. The Hubert Bals Fund supported the project with development funds in 2019.
Portuguese filmmakers Filipa Reis and João Miller Guerra follow their Cape Verde-set debut fiction feature and IFFR 2018 Tiger Competition title Djon Africa with Légua, named after the Portuguese village where the old manor house in which the film takes place is located.
Emília, the elderly housekeeper is determined to continue to keep the unoccupied house in order for the absent owners. She’s helped by her friend Ana, whose daughter challenges her mother's choices. “Three generations of women search to understand where they belong in a world that is rapidly fading, where the cycle of life is renovated only through inevitable endings.” The project was presented at CineMart in 2021.