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Film Fanatic: Anthony Chen’s new film ‘The Breaking Ice’ to make world premiere at 76th Cannes Film Festival

10 years after his debut film Ilo Ilo shook the film world by clinching the Camera d’Or for best debut feature in 2013, Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen will be returning to Cannes next month to premiere his new film.

As announced by the Cannes Film Festival at its press conference in Paris, The Breaking Ice (Chinese title: 燃冬) will world premiere at Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section, where it will be in contention for several awards including the Un Certain Regard Prize and Jury Prize. The Un Certain Regard section focuses on both up-and-coming arthouse directors and artistically daring films. Filmmakers who have screened in the section include Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Yorgos Lanthimos, Ryan Coogler and Ruben Östlund. This year, the festival’s 76th edition will run 16-27 May.

The Breaking Ice, written and directed by the Singaporean auteur, reunites him with Chinese star Zhou Dongyu 周冬雨, with whom he made The Break Away (Chinese title: 隔爱) in 2021 as part of US distributor Neon’s pandemic anthology The Year of the Everlasting Storm. The film, which also stars two other top mainland actors Liu Haoran 刘昊然 (Detective Chinatown franchise 唐⼈街探案) and Qu Chuxiao 屈楚萧 (The Wandering Earth 流浪地球), follows the blossoming relationship among three young adults in their twenties, set over a short few days in the winter snow.

The past year has been most productive for the filmmaker. Just earlier this year in January, Chen premiered his third feature film Drift (Chinese title: 漂流⼈⽣), also his English language debut to great acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. The Breaking Ice marks the first Mainland Chinese feature for the filmmaker.

This is Chen’s fourth outing at Cannes. His short film Ah Ma was lauded with a Special Mention when it competed at the festival in 2007, becoming the first Singaporean to be awarded in Cannes. Subsequently, His debut feature Ilo Ilo was awarded the prestigious Camera d’Or in 2013. The Year of the Everlasting Storm world premiered in the Special Screenings section in 2021. All three films received critical acclaim and further cemented his position as one of Asia’s brightest directors.

The Breaking Ice is produced by Anthony Chen and Chinese producer Meng Xie out of their new Shanghai-based Canopy Pictures. China’s influential Huace Pictures cofinanced the film and will handle Mainland Chinese distribution of the film, while international sales agent Rediance will launch worldwide sales at Cannes.

This April, the Beijing International Film Festival is also feting Anthony Chen as Filmmaker-in-Focus, dedicating a section playing all his films including Ilo Ilo, Wet Season and Drift. The festival will also screen his recently produced Singapore hit Ajoomma. Chen will attend the festival in Beijing to meet with Chinese audiences later this month.

The Breaking Ice will make its world premiere at the 76th Cannes Film Festival in May 2023. More information available here and here

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