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BUSAN – Japanese star Ken Watanabe wasted no time – and did not mince his words – in discussing the recent problems of the Busan festival and the trust issues raised by film “Rage.”

“Despite all the seemingly insurmountable difficulties, this festival happened and that makes me happy,” said Watanabe, who has credits including “Inception,” Clint Eastwood’s “Letters From Iwo Jima,” and the Japanese remake of Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.” “The decision to go ahead with the festival this year was brave. It happened because of dedication to the cause.”

Watanabe was speaking in Busan ahead of the gala presentation of “Rage,” which probes a murder case in three seemingly unconnected cities. Directed by Lee Sang-il, the film has had festival play and Toronto and San Sebastian. It released in Japan Sept. 17 and has grossed $10.6 million so far.

“I abhor those in power using their power to push others,” said Lee. “I may be based in Japan, but I know what’s happening around the Busan festival.”

Lee said that the film’s core theme is trust — “How far can people trust each other?” – a topic which is clearly still a live issue in Busan.

Festival director Kang Soo-youn, put aside her role as moderator of the press event, and joined in. “As I was watching ‘Rage’ I was thinking about trust issues. What kind of trust can the festival give to the public?,” Kang said.

Lee later quipped that perhaps “Rage” was chosen for the festival because of its title.