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Asia rules: films by Asian master directors at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest

There’s a special place for Asia in this year’s programme at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest (23-29 October), featuring films by established directors or debutants that started their careers with an award in Cannes. China, Japan, Thailand, the Philippines or India are the birthplaces of these love stories, family dramas, surrealist films, all of which are now travelling the world one festival at a time. Jia Zhangke, the most important Chinese director of his generation, Hirokazu Kore-eda, considered the new master of Japanese cinema, Naomi Kawase, the Asian woman director with numerous selections at Cannes and the unpredictable Palme d’Or winner Apichatpong Weerasethakul are some of the hot names in contemporary cinema whose films will screen for the first time in Bucharest.

One of this year’s Cannes competition favorites, Mountains May Depart provides a snapshot of China going through a profound change, as a young girl is being courted by two childhood friends – the owner of a gas station and a worker in a coal mine – and makes a decision that will determine her whole life. “Jia Zhangke’s Mountains May Depart is a mysterious and in its way staggeringly ambitious piece of work from a filmmaker whose creativity is evolving before our eyes”, writes The Guardian. The director’s talent has been confirmed by his films being selected at Cannes, Berlin or Venice and by trophies such as the Golden Lion for Still Life (2006) or the Award for Best Screenplay in Cannes for A Touch of Sin (2013). In 2014, he was a member of the jury in Cannes.

Another Palme d’Or contender, Our Little Sister, yet again confirms the talent of filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, called by some critics “the new Yasujiro Ozu”. A subtle work, meticulously orchestrated and full of poise, inspired by a manga story and joining the ranks of other Japanese masterpieces, Our Little Sister tells the tale of three sisters deciding to take in their step sister after the passing of their father, who had left them many years before. The film was not only a hit with the critics, but also with the audiences: in Japan, it earned millions of dollars at the box office. Kore-eda has visited Cannes five times, and in 2013 he won the Jury Prize with Like Father, Like Son.

A director discovered and promoted by Cannes, the Thai Apichatpong Weerasethakul, winner of the Palme d’Or for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), is back with a new cryptic and surreal film, Cemetery of Splendour, screened in Un Certain Regard. A group of soldiers has fallen ill with a strange kind of sleeping sickness and are transferred in a makeshift hospital in an abandoned school building. A young woman who volunteers to care for one of the soldiers falls in love with him and tries to solve the mystery of the illness. According to Variety it is a “gently hypnotic cinematic enigma” in which mysterious deities and other worldly visitors seamlessly blend into the ordinary reality.

Naomi Kawase, one of Cannes regular attendants, reveals old wounds in Sweet Red Bean Paste / An, a poetic, bitter-sweet drama about two men who spend their days together baking “Dorayakis”, traditional Japanese cookies filled with “an”, a sweet paste made out of red beans. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes 2015. Kawase was the youngest recipient of the Palme d’Or, in 1997, with Suzaku, and returned to the Côte d’Azur with four films, one of them awarded the Grand Jury Prize: The Mourning Forest (2007).

The Filipino filmmaker Brillante Mendoza (Kinatay – Award for Best Director, Cannes 2009), with Taklub, explores the consequences of the devastating typhoon Yolanda that hit the city of Tacloban in November 2014 and left over 6000 people dead. Survivors search for the bodies of those that are missing, trying to stay alive at the same time and to hold on to what little hope they have left. But a series of unforeseen events keeps challenging their resilience. Taklub was awarded the Un Certain Regard Ecumenical Jury Prize – Special Mention.

Also from Asia, there are two other stories that are set to make appearances at Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest: Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Journey to the Shore, winner of the Un Certain Regard Award for Best Director in Cannes, a story about the ghost of a husband who invites his wife on a journey, and Masaan, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, the first ever Indian film to win two awards at Cannes: Un Certain Regard Special Prize for Promising Future and the FIPRESCI Award.

Our Little Sister will be distributed in Romania by Independenţa Film, while Cemetery of Splendour, by ViTo Film.

Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest will take place between 23 – 29 October at Studio Cinema, Elvire Popesco Cinema and CinemaPRO.

More about the full list of films announced so far at www.filmedefestival.ro.

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The sixth edition of Les Films de Cannes à Bucarest is organized by Cinemascop Association and Voodoo Films, in partnership with the French Embassy and the French Institute in Bucharest. It is a cultural project financed with the support of the Ministry of Culture, the National Cinema Centre, ArCub, as part of the cultural program “Ești București” 2015 (the Centre for Cultural Projects of the City Hall of Bucharest) and the Romanian Cultural Institute.

The event is supported by the film distributors Independenţa Film, ViTo FILM, InterCom Film, Transilvania Film, Freeman Entertainment.

The festival is presented by Orange România, a long standing partner of the event.

Endorsed by: BRD Groupe Société Générale, Catena

The official car of the festival is BMW.

With the support of: Groupama Asigurări

Partners: Mercure Hotel, S.E.R.V.E, Țuca Zbârcea & Associates, UPS, The Chamber of Commerce, French Industry and Agriculture (CCIFER), ELLE, Braiconf

Loisir partner: M60

Media partners: Europa FM, Digi24, DigiFilm, UTV, Zile și nopți, CineMAP, Cinemagia, Glamour, Cațavencii, Hotnews, Ziare.com, CinemaRx, Decât o Revistă, Ziarul Metropolis, Sub25.ro, LiterNet.ro, Revista FILM, Urban.ro, All About Romanian Cinema (AaRC), Orasulm.eu, Cinefan, Acoperișul de sticlă

Media monitoring partner: mediaTRUST

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