Manaki Brothers


The film Only the River Flows was screened as part of the official selection of the 44 th International Cinematographers Film Festival Manaki Brothers. It is a Chinese drama from 2023 directed by Wei Shujun, who is also the co-author of the script together with Kang Chunlei. Zhu Yilong is the star of the film.
“Zhu is a superstar in China. He is a wonderful person and when we work together on a film, we talk a lot and watch films together,” said Chengma Zhiyuan, the
cinematographer of the film.
The film is based on a short novel by Yu Hua, Mistakes by the River, and focuses on a police commander who is trying to solve a series of murders in a town by a river in rural China in the nineteen nineties. The film was selected to compete in Un Certain Regard section at the 76 th Cannes Film Festival in May 2023.
“I wanted a different dreamlike feeling in the film, not the usual. We strived to make the film original, unique, but we had no references. We hoped that our film would be
unique,” said Dhengma Zhiyuan, the cinematographer of Only the River Floes at today’s press conference.
According to Variety, seemingly noir, the film is a reminder of the alternative narrative perspectives and cinematic sophistication that used to move cinematography forward.
China Morning Post published: Only the River Flows is set in grey provincial China in the nineteen nineties, an era brought back to life with the aid of digital cameras and 16mm film camera footage.
“Our goal was to make a film that we would like, and a film that would look like we wanted it to look,” said Chengma Zhiyuan.
Ju-Yeol Han is the cinematographer of the film Devil in the Lake. It is a horror film brimming with unexpected twists – a true gift for every cinematographer.
“We tried to depict her creepy character with light, but as the film progresses, the audience learns that she was in fact a good and warm-hearted mother. For that reason, at the beginning, she was filmed in bluish shades, but later on, I used more reddish hues, to end up with very warm shades at the end of the film,” Ju-Yeol Han explained.
Han works for the National Television Network in South Korea and he said that the film industry often cooperates with them, and that is how he ended up being engaged in this project. At their press conference, the director and scriptwriter Luca Coassin and his cinematographer Stefano Bianchi talked about their short film Aiken, screened as part of the special shorts program.

Coassin was the winner of the Small Golden Camera 300 for the film Park. As a professional cinematographer, he has made more than a hundred short and feature
films, but this time he was in the role of a director.
“I remain a cinematographer first and foremost, but I direct music videos. The director must always choose his or her cinematographer. Directing is a craft, the author gives you a task and you fulfill it. The film was supposed to have the title Arkan, but we learnt that this was the name of a war criminal and we changed it into Aiken. The films is based on music. It is shown at festivals as an experiment and because it is a very flexible form of filming, we have already started working on the sequel,” said Coassin.
For Stefano Bianchi this was a wonderful experience because he had the chance to communicate with someone who knew what they were talking about. He simply felt safe because he had another cinematographer on set in Luca Coassin.

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