Asian films in the 71st Cannes International Film Festival

The 71st Cannes International Film Festival had just ended a few months, and in this festival, more directors and films from Asia joined the competition, which enables Asian films to be a highlight of this year’s festival. The main competition unit has 10 European and American films and six Asian films which are the most in recent years. At the same time, a large number of directors are competing for the first time,and it means the festival this year will open a new chapter in history for selecting a new generation of films. Six Asian films were selected in the main competition unit, including two Iranian films “Everybody Knows” and “3 Faces”, two Japanese films “Asako I & II” and ” Shoplifters”, the Korean film “Burning” and the Chinese film ” Ash Is Purest White”. The Palme d’Or as one of the biggest prizes in the films industry has always been paid attention to. The Japanese film Shoplifters which directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda won the Palme d’Or in 2018 festival. In this year’s competition, I am most concerned about two movies, one is Jia Zhangke’s “Ash Is Purest White ” and the other is Hirokazu Kore-eda ‘s ” Shoplifters “, and these two directors were both competing for the fifth time.

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After the frustration of Chinese films in recent years in Cannes, this year has finally achieved good results. First of all, Ash is Purest White directed by Jia Zhangke was the only Chinese film competing for the Palme d’Or. It’s a gangster-fueled revenge drama that is billed as his most expensive and mainstream film to date. It explores China’s development through the experience of a woman released from prison, reflecting the rapid changes in China in the 21st century. Jia Zhangke as a director is good at capturing Chinese social landscapes to show Chinese people’s own stories. I think making the film is the way to show one’s observation of the world. With the rapid development of the Chinese film market, he insisted on being himself to express rather than being soulless like some directors.


Then, I also paid attention to Shoplifters which won the Palme d’Or in 2018 festival. This film tells the story of several abandoned people who make up a false family and make a living by stealing. It’s not only an ordinary family movie but also a story about stealing and love, which returns to humanity. The important key to success is the emotion in this film. Like Jia Zhangke, the director Hirokazu Kore-eda is also the fifth time to enter Cannes’s main competition unit, and he insists on filming the story of Japanese families. The film has a very special sad story that love and crime are entangled with each other, but the reality is so cruel, which shows the side of our society and needs to be seen by more people. I think it is the main reason to won the Palme d’Or.


After focusing on these two films, I think the film is divided into regions, because different regions and cultures may have different impacts and styles on the film. In fact, European films and American films have their own forms, and now the new Asian films are actually in a stage of formation. With the Asian film industry that is forming own unique style, we may be able to look forward to them becoming more mature and successful in the future film festivals.


Reference :

Festival de Cannes. (2018). Festival de Cannes – Official Site. [online] Available at: (2018). Chinese film director Jia Zhangke’s “Ash is purest white” competes for 2018 Cannes festival’s top prize – Xinhua | [online] Available at:

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