Anthony Chen’s The Breaking Ice premieres to strong reviews at Cannes
Singaporean film-maker Anthony Chen’s fourth feature film, The Breaking Ice, made its world premiere to an enthusiastic crowd at Theatre Claude Debussy in Cannes, France, on Sunday.
The premiere was attended by Chen, Chinese actress Zhou Dongyu, Chinese actor Liu Haoran, producer Xie Meng, production designer Du Luxi, editors Chen Hoping and Soo Mun Thye, and composer Kin Leonn.
Zhou, 31, and Liu, 25, starred in the film with Chinese actor Qu Chuxiao, 28, who is currently filming in China.
The Breaking Ice marks Anthony Chen’s feature-length return to Cannes 10 years after his Camera d’Or winning debut feature. Ilo Ilo had also premiered on the first Sunday of the festival in 2013.
Ilo Ilo went on to pick up 40 awards at festivals worldwide, including four Golden Horse Awards at the 50th Golden Horse Awards in Taiwan, and was selected as Singapore’s submission to the Oscars.
According to a press statement, Chen, 39, thanked the cast and crew for “going on this crazy journey” when introducing The Breaking Ice. He added that the script was completed only 10 days prior to shooting.
The film was selected for the Un Certain Regard category of the 2023 Cannes Film Festival.
The Breaking Ice played to a 1000-strong audience, who gave a standing ovation which lasted several minutes when the credits rolled, said the statement.
It was an emotional moment for the director and actors, and Chen was embraced by Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda, whose own film Monster premiered earlier in the week in the main competition of the festival.
Early reviews of The Breaking Ice were positive, with Indiewire calling it “a sweet and shimmeringly beautiful film”, while The Guardian praised Chen for bringing “warmth, sympathy and directness to this intimate drama set in Yanji on China’s border with North Korea”.