The largest film festival in Asia, the Shanghai International Film Festival, is back and bigger than ever. It runs from the 14th of June through to the 23rd of June, and whilst Vietnamese-French filmmaker Tran Anh Hung (“The Taste of Things”) may be the jury president this year – here are our picks for ten of the must-see films at the festival!

1. A Bathroom of One’s Own

After reading Virginia Woolf’s famous and acclaimed novel “A Room of One’s Own,” Lucia Casañ Rodriguez was inspired to deliver her take on the material with “A Bathroom of One’s Own.” The story follows Antonia, a 65-year-old housewife who often finds the bathroom a much-needed sanctuary and a place where she can focus on writing as an escape from her monotonous life. It will be hosting its world premiere at the festival.

2. A Man and a Woman

Guan Hu’s most recent feature, the Cannes premiere, “Black Dog,” took home the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section. Now he is back with another buzzy premiere, “A Man and a Woman.” This romantic, pandemic-era drama stars Huang Bo and Ni Ni, two people who happen to stay at the same hotel while waiting to enter China. Separated by a wall, they begin confiding in one another, with the story following the pair’s growing connection.

3. Another German Tank Story

German director Jannis Alexander Kiefer brings his new film, the tragicomedy “Another German Tank Story,” to the festival, a powerful ensemble about a group of villages chasing their dreams whilst Hollywood arrives to make a series about the Second World War. It may be a first feature, but one that will surely be a highlight for many with its offbeat visual style and oddball comedy.

4. Birds of a Different Feather

10 Must-See Films at the Shanghai International Film Festival

Indian actor and filmmaker Manohara may have got his start as a child actor, winning best child actor in Prithvi Konanur’s “Railway Children,” but now he returns with “Birds of a Different Feather,” which he co-wrote with the author of the autobiography it is based on, Sonia S. It is the coming-of-age story of Sonia, a 12-year-old with albinism who comes from a poor family. After an attempted suicide, she is forced to finally come to terms with her identity. This first feature will appear in the Asian New Talent section and is a story specifically to inspire young people.

5. Chasing Johnny

One of the few non-world premieres, “Chasing Johnny” by French director Baptiste Debraux, has received a positive reception overall from those who have watched the film. It is a crime thriller chronicling a man’s journey to becoming a symbol of revolt. Filled with tension, local activist Johnny is sought by both an investigator and his friend after a robbery gone wrong, but who will find him first?

6. Don’t Worry, Be Happy

A Cannes regular, Wei Shujun, has a film premiering in competition at this year’s Shanghai International Film Festival, “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” It depicts the story of Wu You, a man living with his 70-year-old mother, who is a key part of the Sunshine Club, a club devoted to positive living. When his mother falls unexpectedly ill, this belief in an optimistic outlook is tested throughout the course of the film.

7. The Hedgehog

Gu Changwei, previous winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlinale Film Festival, is back with “The Hedgehog”. Another Chinese world premiere, “The Hedgehog” is based on the Chinese short story Xian Zheng and follows a stuttering and rebellious teenager and his mentally ill uncle. The film is notable for its high profile cast, including Ge You, who was the first Chinese actor to win the best actor prize at Cannes for 1994’s “To Live”.

8. Her Second Chance (La seconda vita)

Italian director Vito Palmieri brings his latest film, “Her Second Chance,” to the festival. It stars Marianna Fontana as Anna, a woman released from jail after 15 years for a murder she committed as a teenager. This meditative drama explores a variety of complex themes surrounding emotional transformation, prejudice, and the need for closure as Anna runs away to a small Tuscan town.

9. Starfall

Zhang Dalei, predominantly recognised for his short films, is going to have a busy festival, with premieres for both feature “Starfall”, and short “Dream On”. The director has won awards at the Berlinale Film Festival and will be hoping to do the same with “Starfall,” an environmental drama about a Beijing worker who returns home to find the rural paradise of his childhood deteriorating due to logging and coal mining.

10. The Wasteman

Whilst Mohammad Rasoulof’s “The Seed of the Sacred Fig” might be attracting most of the attention of Iranian cinema this year, Ahmad Bahrami will be hoping to match that energy with his Iranian drama, “The Wasteman.” It takes place in a strange, seemingly unoccupied village, as a middle-aged wagon driver carries a lifeless corpse toward a cemetery. This abstract work is critical of the Iranian theocracy and is sure to generate controversy, both good and bad, after its world premiere at the festival.

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