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Abderrahmane Sissako's La Colline Parfumee

Annual Top Films Lists

Top 200 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2023: #43. Abderrahmane Sissako’s La Colline Parfumee

Top 200 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2023: #43. Abderrahmane Sissako’s La Colline Parfumee

The Perfumed Hill

A project that has been gestating perhaps not that long after the release of Timbuktu (2014), Mauritanian-born Malian filmmaker Abderrahmane Sissako was indeed stranded on the tarmac for a bit but La Colline Parfumee finally did get taxied out with filming taking place in both Africa and Taiwan for a drama romance set between China’s tea hills, the Ivory Coast and Cape Verde. Production began before September of last year with the likes of Nina Melo, Han Chang, and Ke-Xi Wu. Sissako mentioned that he was inspired to tell this story after discovering in 2005 a restaurant called La Colline Parfumée that was run by an Afro-Chinese couple.

Gist: This follows the journey of Joice, who leaves the Ivory Coast to start a new life in Guangzhou, China, after saying “no” on her wedding day. She finds a job at a tea boutique owned by Cai, a Chinese man, in the vibrant region of Guangzhou, known as the “Chocolate City.” In the secrecy of the back shop, Cai decides to initiate Joice to the tea ceremony and through the teaching of this ancient art, their relationship slowly turns into tender and passionate love.

Release Date/Prediction: Conventional thinking is this is headed to Cannes, but we’re putting our money on Venice Golden Lion comp.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, 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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