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Films From India, Iran and South Korea Dominate Busan Festival’s New Currents Competition

Busan Film Festival
Cheyne Gateley/Variety

Two films each from India, Iran and South Korea feature in the eleven-title New Currents competition that is at the heart of the Busan International Film Festival.

The festival this year will be operated as an in-person event Oct 6-15, 2021. But with Korea’s ongoing restrictions on cross-border travel, it may be a less international gathering.

From India, Natesh Hegde’s “Pedro” depicts the difficult situation of an electrician living in a forest village and the forest’s cinematic transformation. “House of Time,” co-directed by Rajdeep Paul and Sarmistha Maiti, is a suspense story of a doctor who is locked in a house that is occupied by three women.

Two films were selected from Iran. Directed by Arvand Dashtaray, “The Absent Director” depicts a theater director haplessly attempting to conduct a rehearsal for a play through video calls. The film is a unique piece of work that is shot in single-take style without cuts. Mehdi Hoseinvand Aalipour’s “Asteroid” is a heartwarming film that portrays a boy who makes an earnest living for his mother and siblings despite his poverty. This film previously won an award at the Fajr International Film Festival earlier this year.

From the host country, the competition will include Kim Se-in’s first feature film, “The Apartment with Two Women” and director Park Kang’s “Seire.” “Apartment” is a realist family drama that questions the relationship and meaning of family, with its focus on the emotional battle between mother and daughter. The festival selectors describe “Seire” as “an ominous and fantastic mystery horror film that deals with Korean folk beliefs.”

Also among the competition titles is thriller “Missing,” by Japanese director Katayama Shinzo. A former assistant director to Korea’s Bong Joon-ho, Katayama made his feature directing debut with 20218 title “Siblings of the Cave.”

The line up is completed by: “Red Pomegranate,” the second feature of Kazakh director Sharipa Urazbayeva (“Mariam”); “Farewell, My Hometown” by China’s Wang Er Zhou; Vietnamese director Kim Quy Bui’s second film “Memoryland”; and crime mystery “Photocopier,” from Indonesia’s Wregas Bhanuteja.