The Busan International Film Festival put aside many of its recent internal and local political problems to Tuesday unveil a large selection ranging from bleeding edge art titles to international festival favorites.
“The difficult times are not behind us, but hard work has made this year’s festival better than ever,” said programmer and interim festival chief Nam Dong-chul, speaking at an online press conference.
International guests expected to attend the festival include Luc Besson, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing, Japanese directors Hamaguchi Ryusuke and Kore-Eda Hirokazu, Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, and Korean Americans Justin Chon (“Gook”) and Lee Isaac Chung (“Minari”).
Hong Kong-based superstar Chow Yun-fat has been named as Busan’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year and will be in person to receive the award. The Korean Cinema Award will presented to the late Yun Jung-hee, the actress who starred in “The General’s Mustache” and Lee Chang-dong’s 2010 drama “Poetry.”
The festival will open with a book-to-film adaptation of frustration and emigration “Because I Hate Korea,” by local filmmaker Jang Kun-jae. Nam said that “Korea” is a “great film” based on a well-known and important youth story.
The festival will close with “The Movie Emperor,” a sparkling satire on the film industry by China’s Ning Hao.
Gala screenings will include: Bertrand Bonello’s “The Beast,” Han Shuai’s Fan-starring “Green Night” and Kore-eda’s “Monster.”
International festival winners and presentations include: David Fincher‘s “The Killer”; Berlin festival-winner “On The Adamant”; Ken Loach’s “The Old Oak”; Justine Triet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Anatomy of a Fall”; Wim Wenders’ “Anselm”; Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things”; Wang Bing’s “Youth (Spring)”; Tran Ahn Hung’s “Pot-au-Feu”; Marco Bellocchio’s “Kidnapped”; and Aki Kaurismaki’s “Fallen Leaves.” Korean auteur appears twice with “In Our Day” and “In Water.”
During the Tuesday conference, Nam admitted that in prioritizing the film selections, organizers had been forced to drop the BIFF Forum conference section. He also said that the highly public infighting had frightened off a number of sponsors and that the festival had to reduce its operating budget to about KRW10 billion ($7.45 million).
— More to follow.