Burning Winter Cannes Premiere: Hope found in the coldest place

    At noon on May 21st, local time in France, the Chinese film Burning Winter, shortlisted for the official section of the Cannes Film Festival "Un Certain Regard", held its world premiere at the Palais de Bussy. Director Chen Zheyi, starring Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haoran and other main creative members attended the premiere and watched the film together with the audience and media. It is worth mentioning that the Japanese film master Hirokazu Kore-eda also appeared in the queue and took a group photo with the main creator.

    The main creators of "Burning Winter" took a group photo at the Cannes Film Festival

    Singaporean director Chen Zheyi has been a frequent visitor to Cannes since he won the Special Mention Award for Best Short Film with "Grandma" in 2007. This is his fourth time being nominated for Cannes. In 2013, his debut feature film "Parents Are Not Home" won the Golden Camera Award at the 66th Cannes International Film Festival in one fell swoop. Ten years later, when he returned to Cannes with feature films, he also received a lot of attention. On the eve of the opening, the film Burning Winter was recommended by David Rooney, the chief film critic of The Hollywood Reporter, as one of the "Ten Must-See Films" in Cannes this year.

    Burning Winter poster

    a new try

    "Burning Winter" is Chen Zheyi's last brand new attempt in his film career. The Singaporean director set foot on the cold frontier of northern China for the first time, liberating himself from the old way of life, exploring and challenging himself outside his comfort zone. As always, he incorporates creative motifs such as the perspective of outsiders and the integration of multiple cultures into the story. Just like the title, the film brings an emotional super experience of warmth and cold collision.

    Stills of Burning Winter

    Yanji in the movie is a small city with a large Korean population in the northeastern border area of my country. During a local trip, the passionate and sensitive tour guide Nana played by Zhou Dongyu and the confused and melancholy young man Haofeng played by Liu Haoran got acquainted, and then a wanton and free young man played by Qu Chuxiao also joined them. A love adventure belonging to these three people set off in the frozen ice and snow world, and the growth past of the young people emerged one by one in the love-hate entanglement of the three.

    Chen Zheyi's film attaches great importance to characters, and the test performance also highlights the performance. The three leading actors Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haoran, and Qu Chuxiao are young actors born in the 90s whose acting skills are highly recognized. Once the international version of the poster with an ambiguous atmosphere was released, it immediately gained super high praise from the entire network degree of discussion. At the same time, judging from the film reviews released ahead, the three young actors also contributed large-scale performances that broke through their acting careers.

    Previously, the movie "Burning Winter" released the "Playing and Singing Slightly Drunken" clip, "Nana" Zhou Dongyu, "Haofeng" Liu Haoran, and "Han Xiao" Qu Chuxiao were in a messy room. Qu Chuxiao played the guitar and sang, Liu Haoran was thoughtful, and Zhou Dongyu, who was leaning on the sofa, couldn't help but have red eyes, and a tear rolled down his face, which made people feel distressed.

    There is no strong dramatic conflict in the film, but the director's capture of various details of life and the precision of the actors' inner drama present a sense of power that is still and deep. Chen Zheyi interestingly portrays the triangular relationship of three lonely young people. Following the acquaintance and "breaking the ice" of the three, the audience can feel the extreme cold and loneliness of the ice-sculpted building in the opening movie, which is like a prison. The invisible cold water surges, and there is also the beautiful and gentle melting of ice and snow, as well as the healing of each other like ice release. "Burning Winter" doesn't have the same compelling plot as the director's award-winning debut "Parents Are Not Home", but it has a more flowing texture.

    Stills of Burning Winter

    After the premiere, the film also received praise from Chinese and foreign media. Many foreign media, including the British "Guardian", "Hollywood Reporter", "Silver Screen", "IndieWire", "The Playist" and "The Wrap", used "eye-catching", "thawing pain", "sweet and twinkling" and "three The actor's performance is excellent", "a brand new attempt", "impressionist portrait of the Z era" and other words to praise. The Hollywood film media "The Wrap" praised that director Chen Zheyi created a bright and shining "Ancestor and Zhan"-style impromptu performance, which is both contemplative and driving. Burning Winter was one of the most evocative films shown in the opening days of this year's Cannes Film Festival.

    American film media "Indie Wire" commented that Chen Zheyi's "Burning Winter" found hope in the coldest place. It's a sweet and sparkly beautiful film about how life flows, then freezes, then unfreezes into something entirely new.

    Film review website The Playlist said Chen Zheyi's Cannes return to feature film was a bold experiment with rich rewards, exploring every aspect of a generation's hopes, dreams and anxieties through a laser-focused environment. It interweaves powerful performances and spiritual complexity, culminating in a fusion of local folklore that is simply beautiful!

    A film about young people in search of spiritual freedom

    At the premiere, Chen Zheyi said that filming "Burning Winter" was like an adventure. He took Zhou Dongyu, Liu Haoran, and Qu Chuxiao on the adventure together, and the script was completed before the filming started. I shot a story of a young man freely and unrestrainedly, this is a love letter to the post-90s and post-00s.

    Stills of Burning Winter

    Chen Zheyi also revealed the reason for choosing these three leading actors: He and Zhou Dongyu had collaborated in the short film "Love" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2021, and thought she was a suitable candidate for the heroine of the new work, and Zhou Dongyu also agreed to cooperate; I met Liu Haoran at a film festival, and the director immediately invited him to star in a new film; in the end, the producer recommended him to the director with "I Want Us Together" starring Qu Chuxiao. The four hit it off just like that.

    Chen Zheyi has read many articles about China's lost generation. From it, he saw that young people had to work hard and own things like their parents, which caused them a lot of struggle and anxiety. "Where does it lead? It's not just a Chinese problem, it's a common set of problems faced by young people around the world who are finding their purpose."

    "I hope (young people in China) can resonate with this film, perhaps spiritually, with one of the characters or themes that I am trying to explore," Chen Zheyi said. Movies of spiritual freedom, to a certain extent, whether it is in front of the camera or behind the camera, it also allows me to find spiritual freedom and break the rules that restrict me." He also said that he is very eager for "Burning Winter" It can be released in China, and the film has already obtained the Dragon Label.

    Stills of Burning Winter

    Chen Zheyi still recalled his romance with movies in Cannes. "I think the idea of making a movie was planted in me when I first saw it in the cinema. I was four years old and I saw Bernardo Bertolucci's The Last Emperor. ". So many filmmakers and their work have always inspired me, François Truffaut, the late Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Lee Cangdong and Hirokazu Kore-eda."

    In the future, director Chen Zheyi will continue to film the last part of his personal "Growth Trilogy" - "We Are All Strangers". "My first film "Parents Are Not Home" won the Cannes Golden Camera Award, exactly 10 years ago. I worked in the crew of "Tropical Rain" with actors Xu Jiale and Yang Yanyan. In "Parents Are Not Home", The 11-year-old boy I found has now grown into a real adult and I will be filming with them."


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