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Busan Festival Selection Puts Emphasis on Greater China

SEOUL – This year’s Busan International Film Festival has set Taiwanese director Chen-Zer ‘Doze’ Niu’s “Paradise in Service” as its opening film.

Putting the emphasis strongly on Greater China, the South Korean festival (Oct. 2-11, 2014) will close with “Gangster Pay Day,” a Hong Kong comedy actioner directed by Lee Po-Cheung.

“Paradise” is a romantic drama about a group of people trapped on an island in the 1960s preparing for a war that may never happen. While location scouting for the picture, Niu was formally indicted for breaking Taiwan’s military laws by bringing his mainland Chinese cinematographer Cao Yu into a restricted naval area.

Two of the festival’s four gala presentations also hail from the Chinese-speaking world: Zhang Yimou’s “Coming Home,” which had its debut in Cannes in May, and the previously announced “The Golden Era” by Ann Hui.

Other galas go to veteran Korean helmer Im Kwon-taek’s “Revivre,” recently screened at Venice, and Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s “The President.”

In the first leg of a two-location press conference, Busan organizers Tuesday unveiled a selection of 314 titles from 79 countries. They said that 98 are world premieres and a further 36 films will get their international premieres in the southern port city.

The New Currents competition section, which focuses on finding new Asian directorial talent, will highlight 12 titles from 10 countries. At the press conference, BIFF organizers enthused about the inclusion of two countries, Bangladesh and Lebanon, nations not previously featured in the section.

Judging the New Currents winner is a jury headed by Iran’s Asghar Farhadi. Other juror include Korean director Bong Joon-ho, British film academic Dina Iordanova, Indian actress Suhasini Maniratnam and French philosopher Jacques Ranciere.

More to follow.

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