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Singaporean director Anthony Chen’s new film gets rave reviews at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

Chen’s film The Breaking Ice was screened in the Un Certain Regard category.

Singaporean director Anthony Chen’s new film gets rave reviews at this year’s Cannes Film Festival

Haoran Liu, from left, director Anthony Chen, and Dongyu Zhou pose for photographers at the photo call for the film 'The Breaking Ice' at the 76th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

On Sunday (May 21), Singaporean filmmaker Anthony Chen made a triumphant return to the Cannes Film Festival with his new movie The Breaking Ice – his fourth outing at the prestigious event.

Competing in the Un Certain Regard category, The Breaking Ice was screened to a 1,000-strong audience who then gave Chen and his team a standing ovation once credits rolled. Early reviews for the film have been overwhelmingly positive with most praising the film’s themes.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote: “Chen creates an arresting portrait of three young people trapped within their own existential crises. All three performances are tremendous. There are some great scenes, strong images, nice setpieces and Chen triangulates the sexual tension interestingly.”

David Erlich from Indiewire called The Breaking Ice “a sweet and shimmeringly beautiful film” that “finds hope in the most frigid of places”.

While promoting the film, Chen thanked his cast and crew for “going on this crazy journey” and revealed that the script was only finished ten days prior to shooting. 

He added: “Even though this film is shot and set in China, I find it a wonderful opportunity to introduce new Singapore talent to the world. In The Breaking Ice, Singaporean musician Kin Leonn composed all the original music, marking his feature debut."

Starring Chinese actors Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haoran and Qu Chuxiao, The Breaking Ice tells the story of the relationship between three young adults over a short few days in winter.

Chen previously won the Caméra d'Or award at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival for his movie Ilo Ilo which then went on to win multiple Golden Horse Film awards.

Source: CNA/hq