4 Singaporean Films To Watch Out For At The Cannes Film Festival 2024

Homegrown filmmakers shine at this year’s prestigious film festival in France
Photo: Cannes Film Festival

This May, four filmmakers from Singapore will be making their way to the charming coastal town of the French Riviera to unveil their latest cinematic masterpiece to the rest of the world. Two local feature films and two short films will be broadcasted at the 77th Cannes Film Festival, taking place from 14 to 25 May 2024. 

The two feature films are Viet and Nam, produced by Lai Wei Jie and Mongrel, directed by Chiang Wei Liang. Meanwhile, the two Singaporean-directed short feature films are Withered Blossoms by Lionel Seah and Cold Cut by Tan Siyou. 

Below, find out more about the four local films broadcasted at this year’s Cannes film festival.

Viet and Nam

Viet and Nam will compete in Un Certain Regard, a category at the Cannes Film Festival that presents unique and unconventional narratives. The film takes viewers on a perilous journey set in the depths of underground coal mines as two young miners, Viêt and Nam, search for the missing remains of Nam’s father. Together, they follow the path of memories and dreams and retrace the footsteps of the past. The visionaries behind the film are Vietnamese director Truong Minh Quy and Singaporean co-producer Lai Wei Jie, who is best known for producing Pop Aye (2017) which won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.


Photo: E&W films

Mongrel has been nominated for the Directors’ Fortnight section of the festival. Set in the mountains of Taiwan, Mongrel tells the story of a caregiver lacking formal education and training, yet competent at tending to the needs of the elderly and the disabled. When the demands of his caregiving role in the mountains become too overwhelming, he is confronted with a difficult decision: prioritise his own survival or uphold his dignity. The film touches on the physical and emotional toll that caretakers have to shoulder and the mistrust families often harbour towards them, both of which are deeply personal issues to the director, Chiang Wei Liang. In his works, the local filmmaker frequently examines the diaspora of South East Asians and highlights marginalised individuals in society, as evident in short films like Only The Mountain Remains (2008) and Nyi Ma Lay (2017).

Withered Blossoms

Out of 2,260 worldwide submissions, Withered Blossoms was selected to compete in the La Cinef, a category for aspiring filmmakers and students. The film tells the tale of a young woman who finally pays an unexpected visit to her grandmother after dealing with a difficult breakup. It delves into the touching bond between the two, serving as a poignant reminder for viewers to cherish the relationships in their life before they’re lost to time. Director Lionel Seah describes the film as a series of conversations he yearns to have with his own grandmother. On an ending note, he expresses, “Just like when the sakura petals wither and fall off the tree, I hope that Withered Blossoms will be a film that portrays that fleeting beauty.”

Cold Cut

The Machine (2023) (Photo: Tan Siyou)

In addition to Mongrel, Cold Cut will screen at the Directors’ Fortnight section of the festival. Directed by Tan Siyou, the film follows the story of a 19-year-old old girl about to compete in a talent show before a mysterious butcher “takes her to unknown horizons”.  As you anticipate the release of Cold Cut, consider tuning in to other internationally-acclaimed films by the Los Angeles-based Singaporean filmmaker, such as Strawberry Cheesecake (2021), which premiered in the Locarno Film Festival, and Hello Ahma (2019) which debuted at The Toronto Film Festival. 

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