Cannes Film Festival 2022: the Asian movies featured, from Lee Jung-Jae’s Hunt to Park Chan-wook’s Decision to Leave, and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Broker
- Chinese actress Tang Wei stars opposite Park Hae-il in Korean maestro Park Chan-wook’s Chinese-language thriller; Lee Jung-jae is behind the camera for Hunt
- Hirokazu Kore-eda is back on the French Riviera with Broker, whose Korean star Bae Doona pops up in Next Sohee too; China is represented by two short films
The Cannes Film Festival returns to its traditional May berth, after last year’s pandemic-related switch to July, with splashy Hollywood premieres like Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, and Three Thousand Years of Longing mixing with high-art competition entries.
Despite no Chinese feature films showing, as was the case at its 2021 edition, across the festival held on the French Riviera there is some significant Asian representation both in and out of competition.
The jury members, meanwhile, include Huh Moon-yung, director of the Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, who will sit on the Critics’ Week panel.
Here is our pick of the Asian films playing at Cannes this year:
Decision to Leave (South Korea)
Hunt (South Korea)
Lee plays a Korean Intelligence Service Foreign Unit chief tasked with rooting out a North Korean spy – known as Donglim – in their ranks. Fellow Korean star Jung Woo-sung (The Good, The Bad, The Weird) co-stars.
Broker (South Korea)
This latest drama comes with an intriguing premise: a world where boxes are left out for parents to drop off unwanted babies that they cannot look after themselves.
Plan 75 (Japan)
Among the films showing in the festival’s Un Certain Regard sidebar competition is this Japanese-French-Philippines co-production from first-time feature director Hayakawa Chie.
The story centres around three main characters – an ageing woman, a Plan 75 salesman and a young Filipino labourer. Japanese actor Hayato Isomura headlines the cast.
All the People I’ll Never Be (Cambodia)
Cambodian producer-director Davy Chou makes it into Un Certain Regard with All the People I’ll Never Be (aka Retour à Séoul). Chou previously produced Kavich Neang’s White Building, which had its premiere at the 2021 Venice Film Festival, and this latest effort marks his second feature following 2016’s Diamond Island.
Park Ji-Min plays a 25-year-old Frenchwoman who was born in Korea but adopted, and now returns to her birthplace to track down her biological parents. Among her co-stars are Oh Kwang-rok, previously seen in the brilliant A Bittersweet Life and Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy and Sympathy for Mr Vengeance.
Irma Vep (USA)
Next Sohee (South Korea)
The closing film of the Critics’ Week sidebar comes from Korean director Jung July, whose debut feature A Girl at My Door previously played in Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section.
This film tells of Sohee, a young high school student who falls under huge pressure when she takes work in a call centre. Her fate, and that of a detective, will intertwine, in a story that looks set to examine workplace stress.
Will You Look at Me (China)/Canker (China)
Two short films, both from China, are also set to play as part of the Critics’ Week selection. The first is Will You Look at Me, a self-reflective documentary piece by Shula Huang, in which the filmmaker travels to his hometown and undertakes a searching conversation with his mother.
The second, Canker, comes from the Beijing-born Lin Tu and tells the story of a social media influencer, named 33, who has a sore inside her lower lip that keeps getting larger. Now that looks like a delicious premise.
The Cannes Film Festival runs from May 17 to May 28.