The Busan International Film Fest began on October 6th and will go until the 15th, and it has a lot to offer to the world film market. Like most film festivals, it is a time for filmmakers to show off their hard work to audiences who love the independent film spectrum. While this particular film festival is no different in that aspect, it is different for a major reason.
This festival will present 301 films from 69 countries, all for film lovers to enjoy. The major reason this film festival stands out is because it is Asia’s largest. Having an important role in the Eastern film scene, it also shines light on the local talent as well. The Korean Cinema Today Vision section is the category where Korean filmmakers submit their work. Eleven films will be making their world premier at this festival, one of which is the anticipated film ‘DERAILED‘, starring Ma Dong Seok and SHINee’s Minho.
Another highly anticipated film making its debut is ‘Second Winter‘. A film by Kim Eui-gon, this film follows a young married couple struggling to find their place. This film follows the struggle of the idea that not everyone has to be “normal” and that following dreams is an option.
An excerpt from The Korean Herald explains further:
In the dead of winter in a small, run-down apartment with a boiler that works only intermittently, external pressures bear hard on the couple. Societal expectations hit husband Hyun-ho especially hard. Having quit his company job to act onstage, where he can “feel alive,” he’s also pulled to provide so they can “live like normal people.” Wife Jung-hee, meanwhile, is denied a full-time permanent position in her field, told that at 29 and married, she’d soon leave the company to give birth — despite her own plans. As her husband’s drama unfolds, she asserts herself as not just a supporting character in his story, but an equal partner who can support him and his dream.
Of course, a film festival wouldn’t be a true film festival without an art-house submission. ‘The Noises‘ a film shot entirely in black and white, is a film by filmmaker Min Je-hong.
Keeping true to the art-house genre , the film begins with a depressed Jun-ho standing on the edge of his rooftop. He moves to his bedroom where a fixed noose is ready. As he prepares to end his life, a fortunate interruption by a 21-year old Scarlet happens. The camera focuses on the two in Jun-ho’s room, with the noose just perfectly in frame, never leaving the audience’s eyes. The film focuses on Jun-ho, and what leads him to become so depressed.
Moving from a depressing film, to a humanistic one, it wouldn’t be a film festival without a film that questions society and the people involved. The film ‘Come Together‘ is the newest work by beloved Korean director Shin Dong-il. This film focuses on the modern day Korean family, and the pressures society puts on them to be inhumanly perfect. The Korean Herald explains the plot perfectly.
Husband Bum-goo is dismissed with a gold lighter from his job of 18 years by an unscrupulous boss, as wife Mi-young — a self-described “credit delinquent who sells credit cards for a living” — ignores certain rules to compete against rival Eun-jeong. Meanwhile, daughter Han-na nervously watches the 17 spots ahead of her on the Korea University waiting list tick down, as she spends time with her more free-spirited friend Yu-gyeong, eventually questioning what kind of life she really wants to lead.
One of the darker films to premier on the Korean talent ticket is a film called ‘Inside Men‘. The film directed by Woo Min-Ho focuses on the question, “who controls Korean society”. Categorized into four groups of people, the people listed all have connections. This is a film that has resonance on many spectrum’s, all over the world, and the release couldn’t have been more perfect.
According to the program note from the BIFF website:
Who actually controls Korean society? Inside Men presents four categories of people: politicians, “chaebol”, journalists, and gangsters. A hopeful presidential candidate is sponsored by a chaebol while the editor-in-chief of a famous newspaper sets him up to win the election. Political hoodlum Ahn Sanggu makes his money doing all sorts of dirty work for them, but he gets caught while attempting to make a dodgy deal using their slush fund. Prosecutor Woo Janghun can’t get promoted because he has no sponsor and his career falls apart because of the investigation into the slush fund. He attempts to make a comeback by helping dejected Ahn Sanggu. Will their plans for revenge succeed?
If you notice someone in this film who looks familiar, you’re not wrong. South Korean turned Hollywood star Byung-hun Lee is starring in ‘Inside Men’. This is a great week for him in film, for his Hollywood film ‘The Magnificent Seven‘ has recently been released in the United States.
While this film festival still has about a week left of amazing films, the excitement on the Korean releases alone is overwhelming. The vast genres, mixed with major stars, makes for such a great line up for international film lovers all over the world. To keep up with up to date schedules, or to explore more films, be sure to check out the BIFF website.
Are you going to watch some of the Busan International Film Festival submissions? If so, which ones are you excited about? Let us know in the comments below!
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Edited By: Sarah Smith