South Korea’s Busan Intl. Film Festival opens with Korean helmer Song Il-gon’s melodrama “Always” and closes with Japanese director Harada Masato’s “Chronicle of My Mother.”
Fest on Thursday announced the lineup for its 16th edition, which screens 307 films from 70 countries including 89 world premieres. The org said this year’s fest would be the start of an era with Busan Cinema Center, a newly constructed theater space that has nine stories and a cantilever roof that is the longest in the world. Located in the Centum City, the Center will be the venue for opening ceremony and events, in its main facility named Cine Mountain.
International guests headed for the fest include Luc Besson, Tsui Hark, Michelle Yeoh, Isabelle Huppert, João Canijo and Apichatpong Weerasethakul.
Among the festival highlights, the gala presentation unveils seven films, including Besson’s “The Lady,” Johnnie To’s “Life Without Principle,” Peter Chan’s “Wu xia” and Bong Joon-ho’s “The Host 3D.”
A Window on Asian Cinema presents 49 films from 16 countries, including the next generation of Asian talents such as Filipino Adolfo Alix Jr.’s “Fable of the Fish,” Chinese Wang Chao’s “Celestial Kingdom” and Japanese Ishii Yuya’s “Mitsuko Delivers.” Established names such as Sono Sion, Wang Xiaoshuai, Nanomi Kawase and Kore-eda Hirokazu are also included in the selection.
Unspooling in World Cinema are 73 films from 40 countries, such as Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver,” Terence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” Gus Van Sant’s “Restless” and Evan Glodell’s “Bellflower” from the U.S. New films by European masters such as Chantal Akerman, Aleksander Sokurov, Lars von Trier, Mathieu Kassovitz, Nanni Moretti and Lynnes Ramsay will be screened at the section.
Korean Cinema Today is distinctively separated into two sections, named Panorama and Vision. The former presents including the biggest box office hits and much-talked-about films of the year, such as “Sunny” “The Frontline” “War of the Arrows” and “Come Rain, Come Shine.” Vision introduces 10 world premieres of Korean indies, including two low-budget 3D films Park Hong-min’s “A Fish” and Choo Sang-rok’s “Persimmon.”
For Retrospectives and Special Programs, seven films will showcase Chinese filmmaker Yonfan, who is also the jury head of New Currents section this year. Other special programs include Extreme Portuguese Cinema: Six Auteurs in Focus; Special Focus on Asian Western: Men of the East; and Special Program on Australian Cinema: Another Face of Australian Cinema among others.
Events are included a photo exhibition on the French actress Isabelle Huppert; this year’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year award winner Tsui Hark’s lecture on his 3D martial arts film “The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate”; and two exhibitions on disappearing theaters in Southeast Asia and Busan.
In following the footsteps of the fest’s vision to establish networks between film industry and education, BIFF newly launches Busan Cinema Forum, an international academic conference that gathers international film scholars. Thai helmer Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Yale U. film professor Dudley Andrew will attend as the keynote presenters.
Asian Film Market also leaps into a new stage. Opening at Busan Bexco Exhibition Hall 1, the market is expected to be more active, in conjunction with Asian Project Market, the Busan Intl. Film Commission and Industry Showcase and Asian Film Policy Forum. The market announced participants increased by 30% and exhibitors are increased by 40% during the early registration period, compared to last year. American and Japanese sales companies registered for the market, including Lakeshore Entertainment and Eleven Arts Inc.
Fest runs Oct. 6-14, alongside the Asian Film Market running Oct. 10-13.