Pusan fest goes on despite rain

Storms test patience

Depending on your perspective, rain either has energized the Pusan festival or has put a real damper on things over the past few days.

From screenings to parties to cab lines, storms have played with people’s spirits but also have helped to create a cozy atmosphere with folks not venturing far from the festivities and, now, the market.

In what must rank as the soggiest world preem since Howard Hughes unveiled “Underwater!” to aqualung-wearing guests in a swimming pool in 1955, Korean helmer Lee Young-hae’s “The Friends” unspooled before a large crowd at the fest’s outdoor theater on Sunday night. Despite steady, heavy rain falling by 7:30 p.m., organizers were determined to proceed with the venue’s full evening program.

What that meant for ticket-holders wearing plastic raincoats provided at the door was a full 90 minutes of live music prior to the film’s screening, all of it greeted enthusiastically by a PIFF public renowned for its dedication.

Venue’s audio system was put to the test as auds struggled to hear introductions by Lee and cast members over by-now-torrential rain. In one of those coincidences that just seem to happen on a night like that, an early scene in “The Friends” showed one of its lead characters having a bucket of water tipped over his head.

With taxis scarce, at least one departing attendee was seen skipping away merrily, a la Gene Kelly, through deep puddles.

The heart of it all — the PIFF Pavilion — was closed relatively early on Sunday night, thus forcing Malaysia to find another venue for its party (it eventually went off at Club Monaco) and give way to hired hands who shoveled water off the roof into Monday morning.

As for other parties, Sunday night turned into an adventure. Guests were late to arrive for Germany’s and Japan’s fetes at the Paradise, then had their patience tested waiting for cabs to drive everyone home.

Later in the evening at the 11:30 p.m. Udine event, getting to Oh Happy Day was indeed a memorable chore, as the trek up the hill hindered but didn’t prevent partiers from reveling deep into the night.