'Afternoon,' 'Women' no-shows at Korean fest

PUSAN, South Korea — Despite fireworks and star power, the opening of the 13th Pusan Film Festival was marred by two withdrawals.

Samira Makhmalbaf, a member of the New Currents jury, was a no-show after being taken ill. The Iranian director of the 2003 Cannes Jury Prize winner “At Five in the Afternoon” had to be hospitalized in Paris and was in such ill health as to make the trip to Pusan impossible, according to her husband.

Another high-profile withdrawal was “All About Women,” the latest film by Hong Kong helmer Tsui Hark. The China-Hong Kong co-production, which was to have its world premiere at Pusan, had not been cleared by Chinese censors. According to the film’s producer, Nansun Shi, the hold-up was due to the Golden Week holiday under way in China and not disputes over the film’s content. Chinese productions have to be cleared by domestic censors before overseas screenings are allowed.

Festival organizers confirm, however, that despite the withdrawal, Tsui will still attend the festival to deliver a scheduled master class.

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