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Acquisitions – Foreign Films

Film Movement Form Unique Bond with Camera d’Or Winning “Ilo Ilo”

It’s not often when Singaporean cinema manages to break into our news headline stream, but on the heals of his Camera d’Or win (best debut film at the Cannes Film Festival – this includes the Directors’ Fortnight and Critics’ Week sections) this past Sunday night (you can see the all smiles pic of the filmmaker accompanied by head jury member Agnès Varda), Anthony Chen will see his Ilo Ilo grab an early limited 2014 theatrical release via the Film Movement folks.

Gist: Set during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis backdrop, Ilo ilo chronicles the relationship between the Lim family and their newly arrived maid, Teresa. Like many other Filipino women, she has come to this Singaporean city in search of a better life. Her presence in the family worsens their already strained relationship. Jiale, the young and troublesome son, starts to form a unique bond with Teresa, who soon becomes an unspoken part of the family.

Worth Noting: This was not Chen’s first experience on the Croisette, his earlier short film Grandma (Ah Ma) (see below) won a special mention in the Palme d’Or short film competition in 2007.

Do We Care?: With previous winners in the likes of Jafar Panahi, Naomi Kawase, Corneliu Porumboiu, Steve McQueen and most recently, Benh Zeitlin, generally, the Camera D’Or winner announces a bright, new talent worth checking out. We pulled the quotes from the press release that gives us an idea of why we’ll seek it out on the fest circuit: Film Comment’s Robert Koehler is quoted as saying this is “the very beating heart and soul of cinematic storytelling” while ScreenDaily’s Tim Grierson mentions “its emotional wallop sneaks up on you”.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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