Why Are Chinese Artists Barely Present at Cannes Film Festival 2022?

Prolonged pandemic restrictions and politics have prevented Chinese artists from participating in the 75th Cannes Film Festival

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9:07 PM HKT, Tue May 24, 2022 1 mins read

On May 17, film industry personnel donned their red carpet best to attend the opening ceremony of the annual Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on the French Riviera. Only a handful of Chinese filmmakers and stars graced the event.

The 75th iteration of the festival is ongoing and will come to a close on May 28.

Best known for starring in Lust, Caution, a Venice Golden Lion award-winner, Tang Wei is the only Chinese name to be found in the competition’s main category of films. The actress has been recognized for her performance in the Korean crime drama Decision To Leave, directed by Park Chan-wook.

Long before starring in Park’s project, Tang appeared in the Korean production Late Autumn (2010), directed by her husband, Kim Tae-yong.

A Short Story by Bi Gan, another Chinese artist on the radar, was nominated for the Short Film Palme d’Or. The young experimental filmmaker is best known for the mystery drama Kaili Blues (2015).

Two shorts — The Silent Whistle and Will You Look At Me — by Chinese student filmmakers Li Yingtong and Shuli Huang were nominated for the Queer Palm Award, an independently sponsored prize for films with LGBTQ+ themes.

While Chinese social media usually goes abuzz during every Cannes Film Festival, Chinese media has barely mentioned this year’s affair.

Sharp-eyed film enthusiasts have also pointed out a scarcity of filmmakers and celebrities from the Chinese cultural sphere at this year’s awards.

Some have speculated that Chinese artists have been put off traveling by China’s prolonged pandemic restrictions. The Hollywood Reporter called China’s conspicuous absence a potential punitive political move and form of protest following the last-minute addition of a Hong Kong documentary covering pro-democracy demonstrations.

According to an anonymous tipper, not a single film from Cannes’ 2022 selection will receive the green light to be distributed in China, reported The Hollywood Reporter.

On May 18, the animation A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, directed by Liu Jian, pulled out of the festival, marking a year with no Chinese feature-length titles.

Cover image via VCG

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