First-time director Flora Lau's odd-couple romantic tale about an affluent woman and her mainland chauffeur has been selected to compete in the Cannes Film Festival's Un Certain Regard section.
Announced yesterday in France, Bends, starring Carina Lau Ka-ling and mainland actor Chen Kun, is the first Film Development Fund-supported film to appear in Cannes. It received HK$4 million funding from the government last September. The film also has investment from Distribution Workshop and Tomson Group.
It is understood that one other government-funded feature will be competing in another major international film festival yet to be announced.
Bends was backed by industry heavyweights including William Chang Suk-ping on production design, Christopher Doyle on cinematography and Nansun Shi as executive producer.
Film Development Council secretary-general Wellington Fung Wing said he was delighted by the news that the film had been chosen to compete in the event, following Echoes of the Rainbow's success in scoring a Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2010.
He said a lot of young directors needed support from experienced filmmakers.
"They are like mentors for these young directors, and these outstanding filmmakers can pass on their experience to the new blood," Fung said, adding that this year, five government-funded films would be released.
Flora Lau's drama will be up against the work of international filmmakers including American actor-director James Franco's As I Lay Dying, based on the story of the same name by William Faulkner, and French veteran director Claire Denis' latest offering Les Salauds.
Mainland director Jia Zhangke's Tian Zhu Ding (A Touch of Sin) is the only Chinese representation in the film festival's main competition.
Hong Kong veteran Johnnie To Kei-fung's Blind Detective has been selected to show in Midnight Screenings. The festival runs from May 15 to 26 in Cannes in the south of France.