2 Chinese Films to Compete at the 76th Venice Film Festival

By Katherine Chen, August 1, 2019

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Two Chinese films are to compete for the Golden Lion award at the 76th Venice International Film Festival this year, according to a report by Global Times.

Saturday Fiction from director Lou Ye and No. 7 Cherry Lane from filmmaker Yonfan will represent China at the annual festival. The lineup for this year’s competition was announced last Thursday, July 25, in Rome.

This film festival will also include Steven Soderbergh’s The Laundromat and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, while Roman Polanski will be represented with J'Accuse. His inclusion in the festival has sparked much controversy, but festival chief Alberto Barbera has defended his work

Saturday Fiction, a period drama set in 1941, follows an actress in Shanghai who worked undercover for the Allies during the Japanese occupation. She is faced with a dilemma upon discovering the Japanese plan to bomb Pearl Harbor. The film, written by Ma Yingli, stars an international cast with actors from China, Japan, France and Germany.

Gong Li, the lead role in Saturday Fiction, will also star as the villain in Mulan, Disney’s 2020 live-action remake of the 1998 animation. Previously, she won the Best Actress Award at the Venice festival in 1992 for Story of Qiu Ju

No. 7 Cherry Lane is director Yonfan’s animation debut, exploring a love triangle in ’60s Hong Kong. The film showcases the qualms of an era in which the island experienced massive economic growth. The film stars Sylvia Chang, Vicki Zhao, Daniel Wu, Alex Lam and Kelly Yao as voice actors. It will also be competing at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

Yonfan is perhaps best-known for The Story of Rose (1985) and Bishonen (1998). In 2009, his film Prince of Tears was selected for the Venice festival and the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. In 2017, he served on the jury for the Venice festival.

Founded in 1932, the Venice International Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the world and one of the ‘Big Three,’ alongside the Cannes Film Festival and the Berlin International Film Festival. The 76th Venice International Film Festival will be held from August 28 to September 7.

READ MORE: Internet Blows Up After Mulan Trailer. Here's What People Are Saying

[Cover image via Douban]

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