The Breaking Ice, as seen by Anthony Chen

Picture of the film RAN DONG (THE BREAKING ICE) by Anthony Chen © Canopy Pictures

Anthony Chen has been a Festival regular since 2007, when he won the Short Film Special Distinction for Ah Ma. In 2013, the Singaporean filmmaker won the Caméra d’or for his feature film Ilo Ilo. This year, he presents année Ran Dong (The Breaking Ice) for Un Certain Regard. – a drama set in a snowy city in the north of China about the relationship between three young adults.

What inspired you to begin work on The Breaking Ice ?

It was looking to liberate myself from my old ways, and challenge myself outside my comfort zone, I thus forced myself to make the film in an unfamiliar country, terrain, and climate.

Please describe your working method and the atmosphere on set. Anecdotes welcome.

This was a film made with a lot of risk taking, impulse and spontaneity. Everyone came on board when there wasn’t even a script. The atmosphere on set was great, everyone was giving so much to the film. But it was very very cold. We were shooting in the north of China in temperatures of minus 0.4 degrees.

Please share a few words about your actors.

They are young, beautiful and some of the loveliest people I have worked with thus far.

What did you learn during the course of making this film?

Sometimes it isn’t a bad thing to take risks.

Creativity is sparked when you are forced into a corner.

The magic happens when you least expect it.

What would you like people to remember from your film?

I always like my audiences to be moved, in any way at all, whether by the characters, themes or emotions, the music or just a scene for the film.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker? What were the sources of your inspiration?

I think the seed was planted in me somehow when I watched a movie in the cinema for the first time. I was four yeard, and the film was Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. So many filmmakers and their work have continued to inspire me from Ozu àtp François Truffaut, the lateEdward Yang, Hou Hsiao Hsien, Lee Chang-Dong and Hirokazu Kore-eda.

Can you tell us about your next project?

It will be exactly 10 years at Cannes since my first film Ilo Ilo, won the Caméra d’or. I worked on Wet Season, with the actors Koh Jia Ler and Yeo Yann Yann. The 11-year-old boy I discovered in Ilo Ilo has grown into a proper adult now and I will be shooting the third and final part of my ‘Growing Up’ Trilogy with the two of them again titled We Are All Strangers.