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Cannes Film Festival 2019: The Films To Look Out For

As much as Cannes Film Festival draws plenty of eyeballs for its outre, couture-riddled red carpet, most people who attend are actually there for the real meat; the most prestigious, experimental and masterful films of the year. One such insider is Vincent Quek, founder of independent film distributor Anticipate Pictures, who recently attended the latest edition. Below, Quek’s recommendations from this year’s festival that will hit theatres in coming months:
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Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Release date: Dec 2019 Winner of Best Screenplay Award – 71st Festival de Cannes 2019 Quek says: “A sensuous, tender and honest portrayal of the budding friendship and love between two souls in 18th century patriarchal France. This is Call Me By Your Name meets The Piano for the L in LGBTQ. The film is gorgeous – a painting in literal motion. My personal top film of the festival.” Sorry We Missed You
Release date: TBA Quek says: “Director Ken Loach, already an octogenarian, reminds me of another filmmaker Michael Haneke, both of whom have an incisive eye for what makes this world tick, telling compelling stories in the most simple and economical sense. The results are heartfelt and shattering in equal measure. In this latest work, he targets our modern gig economy, familiar to all of us through celebrated ‘disruptors’ like the Grab/Uber or Redmart or Amazons of today, and strips it down to a single family whose happiness is mere currency with these newfound job opportunities. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after, and you would maybe do a double take for the eponymous ‘gun’ when a deliveryman shows up at your doorstep.” Young Ahmed
Release date: TBA Winner of Best Director Award – 71st Festival de Cannes 2019 Quek says: “The celebrated filmmaking duo Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have also trained their lens on one of the most terrifying horrors of societies today – the radicalisation of a young boy in modern day Belgium. It is a tense and gripping film, filled with twists and turns and at the end of a taut 84 mins, you get a sense that beneath every potential pit, there exists a model of innocence. But can that innocence be regained? This film will start conversations – ones that we should already be having.” Atlantique
Release date: TBA Winner of Grand Prix Award – 71st Festival de Cannes 2019 Quek says: “An African romantic fable weaving themes of modern day slavery and the supernatural in this sublime, magical realist work by French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop. I considered bringing this title into Singapore for a theatrical run but it would have been a hard sell for Singapore audiences, even if it incorporated familiar themes such as migrant workers and the souls of unrest returning to make things right. Netflix has fortunately stepped up and will give this film a release on their platform in the near future.” For Sama
Release date: Late 2019 Winner of Golden Eye Prize for Best Documentary – 71st Festival de Cannes 2019 Quek says: “Why do some civilians not leave war zones? What are the implications of bombing out cities in efforts to stamp out quote-unquote ‘terrorism’? Who pays for the body count that is steadily rising in the 2nd deadliest civil war of the 21st century? In this first-hand look through the lens of a former 4th year economics student turned filmmaker, the answer is – the civilians do. With her marriage and the birth of her daughter Sama, Waad Al-Kateab faces questions most mothers don’t: Does she stay to fight for a country whose leader regularly targets hospitals and schools to be bombed, or does she leave for the protection of her baby and her beloved husband but join the millions currently seeking asylum in Western countries that loathe their presence? You won’t soon be forgetting the images in this award-winning documentary, in this simple, straight-to-the-point film that cuts to the human cost of a war through the eyes of a young mother.”