The Deauville Asian Film Festival came into existence in 1999, on the initiative of Alain Patel, and was then taken up by Deauville Town Hall and Le Public Système Cinéma.
Twenty-four years after the launch of the American Cinema Festival, Deauville pushed back the boundaries of the cinematographic art once more, offering cinema enthusiasts a further opportunity to travel to new destinations. We still do not have the words to describe the treasures and the diversity of the Asian continent’s cinematographic production, as seen in films that arrive in Deauville from Hong Kong, China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, India and Malaysia… a cinematographic culture, part and parcel of a whole range of transformations that, festival after festival, surprises and astounds – a cinematographic culture that holds undiscovered marvels for everyone.
This is why the Deauville Asian Film Festival exists and prospers – because it cannot be dissociated from the history of Asian cinema, because it is a showcase for genuine talent, and because it is being written, with each Festival, with its legends.
1999 | First Deauville Asian Film Festival. Tribute to SHIN SANG-OK, emblematic star of South Korean cinema, prolific author of sixty films over a 45-year career, the best-known of which is A FLOWER IN HELL (1958).
Festival-goers were also to discover 2 previously unreleased films by the Taiwanese director EDWARD YANG, TAIPEI STORY (1985) and THE TERRORIZERS (1986). A year later, the director’s 7th feature film, YI YI (2000) opened the doors of the West to Taiwanese cinema, when it won the Director’s Prize in Cannes.
2000 | Launch of the Competition : LEE MYUNG-SE, South Korean director and producer, won the first Golden Lotus with his film NOWHERE TO HIDE (1999).
2001 | The Chinese WANG QUAN’AN presented his first film LUNAR ECLIPSE (1999).
The thriller JOINT SECUR ITY AREA (2000) established PARK CHAN-WOOK as one of the major directors of the new wave of Korean cinema. His film was awarded the Best Film Prize and the Best Director Prize. One year later, the Cannes Festival lauded his film OLD BOY (2002), which now has cult status.
The Festival welcomed the director LESTER JAMES PERIES, a major figure in 20th Century SRI-LANKAN cinema.
2002 | FAILAN, the first film by the South Korean director and screenwriter SONG HAE-SUNG, won the Grand Prize.
The Japanese Ryushi Hiroki was awarded the first digital Lotus for TOKYO TRASH BABY (2000). The Festival dedicated a retrospective to this director in 2006.
Tribute to a legend: the Japanese director AKIRA KUROSAWA.
Thirty films, thirty masterpieces listed as world heritage cinema, amongst them RASHOMON, THE THRONE OF BLOOD, RAN… Golden Lion in Venice with RASHOMON in 1951, a decisive film which signalled international recognition of Japanese cinema. Deauville hosted the first screening outside Japan of the original version of the Cannes 1980 Golden Palm winner, KAGEMUSHA - the Shadow Warrior, from which 35 minutes had been amputated by Francis FORD COPPOLA and George LUCAS, the executive producers of the international version…
Tribute was also paid that same year to JOHNNIE TO (KEI-FUNG), a major figure in Hong Kong cinema, who left his distinctive stamp on detective films: THE MISSION was his first film to be distributed in France in 2001, followed by FULL TIME KILLER, BREAKING NEWS, ELECTION and PTU in 2004.
TEARS OF THE BLACK TIGER by WISIT SASANATIENG was presented in the Panorama section, signalling the debut of this director, who went on to win the International Film Reviewers’ Lotus in 2006 with CITIZEN DOG.
2003 | The Chinese LI YANG and his film BLIND SHAFT won over the audience.
The great director WON KAR-WAI, an emblematic figure in Hong Kong cinema, honoured the Festival with is presence. He is mainly known in France for his film IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, whose original version with sub-titles drew audiences totalling 1.2 million people when it was released in France.
2004 | Emergence of the young director ROYSTON TAN (Singapore) who won the Jury’s Prize with his first full-length feature, 15.
Directed by LIU CHIA-LIANG, authentic master of kung-fu and direct heir of the teachings of the Shaolin monasteries, 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (1978) and the two following works, RETURN TO THE 36th CHAMBER (1980) and DISCIPLES OF THE 36th CHAMBER (1985) were presented in their full-length versions for the first time in France, in Deauville. These legendary works are now considered to be the most important kung-fu films ever made. They revealed legendary Hong Kong actor Gordon LIU, who went on to play in over sixty feature films, including KILL BILL 1 & 2 by Quentin TARANTINO.
Noteworthy creation of the Action Asia Prize, won for the first time by the film ONG-BAK by the Thai PRACHA PINKAEW.
2005 | LEE YOON-KI received an award for his film THIS CHARMING GIRL. The Festival continued to follow the Korean director’s career closely and awarded him another prize in 2007 for AD LIB NIGHT.
The tender HOLIDAY DREAMING by the Taiwanese HSU FU-CHUN won the Grand Prize and the International Film Reviewers’ Prize.
Tribute to the prolific Japanese director TAKASHI MIIKE. His second feature film, FUDOH, was ranked as one of the ten best films of the year in 1996 by Time Magazine. The director went on to make the trilogy DEAD OR ALIVE, then THE BIRD PEOPLE IN CHINA, AUDITION, VISITOR Q, etc.
The Lotus for the best script was awarded to JIA ZHANG-KE for THE WORLD. A year later the Chinese director obtained the Golden Lion at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival for STILL LIFE and presented 24 CITY at Cannes in 2006.
2006 | One of the symbols of the new South Korean cinema, KIM JI-WOON presented his fourth feature film A BITTERSWEET LIFE with which he won the Action Asia Grand Prize.
Tribute to the Chinese director CHEN KAIGE, discovered in the West in 1993 at Cannes with his powerful fresco ADIEU MA CONCUBINE.
The Taiwanese director TSAI MING-LIANG impressed festival-goers with the alienating urban landscape he filmed and the solitude of his characters in I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE.
Presentation of the film LOFT by the Japanese KIYOSHI KUROSAWA, revealed to international audiences in 2001 with KAIRO.
The children also had their festival with HAYAO MIYAZAKI, the star of Japanese animated film known for MY NEIGHBOUR TOTORO, PRINCESS MONONOKE and SPIRITED AWAY…
2007 | The Thai APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL won the Grand Prize with SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY, the 3rd opus of a trilogy composed of BLISSFULLY YOURS, and TROPICAL MALADY. Considered to be a major director of the 21st Century, he was awarded the Golden Palm at the Cannes Festival in 2010 for UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES.
PARK CHAN-WOOK returned to Deauville’s Boardwalk for the presentation of I’M A CYBORG BUT THAT’S OK.
2008 | Tribute to the South Korean director IM KWON-TAEK. His dramatic, social, poignant, and humanist films have made his the best known and best loved Korean director in the world. His film CHUNHYANG (2000) was the first Korean film selected for the Cannes Festival’s Official Competition. The director has won many international awards throughout his international career, for CHI-HWA-SEON (also known as PAINTED FIRE, STROKES OF FIRE or DRUNK ON WOMEN AND POETRY) and LOW LIFE.
Tribute to the Japanese comedian KÔJI YAKUSHO, an actor whose films have had multiple nominations and have gained international recognition: an opportunity to rediscover EUREKA, BABEL, RETRIBUTION, WALKING MY LIFE, not forgetting THE EEL, the second Golden Palm awarded to the director SHOHEI IMAMURA after THE BALLAD OF NARAYAMA.
The young actress, YU YUN-MI, who was 9 at the time, came with the whole film crew to receive the Grand Prize for WITH A GIRL OF BLACK SOIL by the Korean director JEON SOO-IL.
2009 | South Korean writer, scriptwriter, director, producer and politician LEE CHANG-DONG made a late but noted appearance in the world of cinema. The Festival paid tribute to him by screening his resolutely politically committed films, from GREEN FISH to SECRET SUNSHINE. He won the Screenplay Prize in Cannes a year later for his film POETRY.
The Indian actress and director NANDITA DAS, who had come to Deauville for the first Festival, returned for the Opening Ceremony of the 11th Festival with her first film as director, FIRAAQ.
The Hong Kong director TSUI HARK (ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA, THE BUTTERFLY MURDERS, THE LEGEND OF ZU, ZU WARRIORS OF THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, THE LOVERS, TIME AND TIDE, SEVEN SWORDS, THE BLADE…) ended the Festival with ALL ABOUT WOMEN.
The Koreans YANG IK-JUNE and NA HONG-JIN “took festival-goers’ breath away” with BREATHLESS and THE CHASER.
2010 | Tribute to the Philippine BRILLANTE Ma. MENDOZA (THE MASSEUR, SUMMER HEAT, JOHN JOHN, SERVICE, KINATAY, LOLA) for his work which surprises, shocks, and denounces…
The works of LOU YE, bearing the imprint of strength and conviction, braved Chinese censorship and repression to be presented to festival-goers: WEEKEND LOVER, SUZHOU RIVER, PURPLE BUTTERFLY, SUMMER PALACE, SPRING FEVER…
2011 | 11th March. Admiration for Asia went well beyond cinema, when the Festival determined to pay tribute to the victims of the Fukushima catastrophe. Screening of the entire works of one of the masters of contemporary South Korean cinema, HONG SANG-SOO. From TURNING GATE (2003) to TALE OF CINEMA (2005), he scanned amorous relationships with precision and matured his cinematographic language with each successive film.
After comedy (THE QUIET FAMILY, THE FOUL KING), horror (A TALE OF TWO SISTERS), darkness (A BITTERSWEET LIFE) and the waylaying of codes and genres (THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD), the South Korean star KIM JI-WOON, to whom the Festival paid tribute, returned to the dark thriller with his 6th feature, I SAW THE DEVIL.