Shanghai Film Festival 2023: The competition list for the 25th-anniversary edition of the Shanghai International Film Festival was released on Monday, May 29, with a strong emphasis on Chinese films from the home country as well as significant representation from Iran and Japan. However, it’s intriguing that the festival’s organizers decided not to include even one movie from the American film industry in their 2023 competition lineup.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in early 2020, the festival has not been freely accessible to the international film industry. The 2023 Shanghai Festival, which runs June 9–18, will be the first. The festival was put off last year due to Shanghai’s month-long COVID-19 shutdown and the severe travel restrictions in place at the time. The festival was hosted the previous two years, but due to the difficulty of finding flights in and out of China at the time, it became almost purely a Chinese domestic event.

The Shanghai Film Festival 2023

The Shanghai Film Festival is regarded as China’s most prestigious and established film event. However, given that the festival, like all official cultural endeavors in China, is subject to prevailing local political interests as much as the artistic intent of programmers, its competition lineups have a tendency to be fairly unusual for a festival of its size. According to the organizers, more than 128 nations and regions submitted over 8,800 film entries for the 2023 edition.

While there are five films from Iran, two from Hong Kong, and nine films from mainland China, there are none from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or South Korea.

See below for the full line-up of SIFF’s competition sections and selected titles.

Feature Film Competition

Shanghai Film Festival 2023
A still from Chen Shizhong’s debut feature Good Autumn, Mommy


  • “All Ears” Dir. Liu Jiayin (China)
  • “Dust To Dust” Dir. Jonathan Li (China)
  • “Good Autumn, Mommy” Dir. CHEN Shizhong (China)
  • “Joseph’s Son” Dir. Haobam Paban Kumar (India)
  • “Kindling” Dir. Connor O’Hara (U.K.)
  • “Mom, Is That You?!” Dir. Yôji Yamada (Japan)
  • “Muyeres” Dir. Marta Lallana (Spain)
  • “Nina” Dir. Oksana Bychkova (Russia-Georgia)
  •  “The Annoyed” Dir. Mehdi Fard Ghaderi (Iran)
  •  “The Chapel” Dir. Dominique Deruddere (Belgium)
  •  “The First Day Of My Life” Dir. Paolo Genovese (Italy)
  •  “Yoko” Dir. Kazuyoshi Kumakiri (Japan)

Asian New Talent

  • “1.5 Horsepower” Dir. Rasool Kahani (Iran)
  • “Cause Of Death: Unknown” Dir. Ali Zarnegar (Iran)
  • “Day Dreaming” Dir. WANG Zichuan (China)
  • Gone With The Boat” Dir. CHEN Xiaoyu (China)
  • “In Broad Daylight” Dir. Lawrence Kan (Hong Kong)
  • “Love, My Way” Dir. LIU Bing (China)
  • “May” Dir. LUO Dong (China)
  •  “People Who Talk To Plushies Are Kind” Dir. Yurina Kaneko (Japan)
  •  “Qash” Dir. Aisultan Seit (Kazakhstan)
  •  “Sunday” Dir. Shokir Kholikov (Uzbekistan)
  • “The Signal” Dir. Lee Phongsavanh (Laos)
  •  “Time Still Turns The Pages” Dir. Nick Cheuk (Hong Kong)

Animated Feature Films

  • “Dolphin Boy” Dir. Mohammad Kheirandish (Iran-Türkiye)
  • “Four Souls Of Coyote” Dir. Áron Gauder (Hungary)
  •  “Gonta: The Story Of The Two-Named Dog In The Fukushima Disaster” Dir. Akio Nishizawa (Japan)
  • “Master Zhong” Dirs. WANG Yuxi-HUANG Shanchuan (China)
  • “The Inseparables” Dir. Jérémie Degruson (Belgium-France-Spain)


  • “Anxious In Beirut” Dir. Zakaria Jaber (Jordan-Lebanon-Qatar-Spain)
  • “Leap Of Faith” Dir. YANG Lina (China)
  •  “Moses’ Spies” Dir. Itzik Lerner (Israel)
  •  “The Caravan” Dir. Núria Clavero-Aitor Palacios (Spain-Mexico)
  •  “The Passion Of Mahmoud” Dir. Davoud Abdolmaleki (Iran)

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