Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Busan film fest: focussing on Asia

The annual Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) will open next month with a focus on Asia's diversity, the festival's organizers said Monday.

The 17th festival is to be held at the Busan Cinema Center and seven other movie theaters in the southern port city of Busan from Oct. 4 to 13. Launched in 1996, the annual festival has already developed into the largest of its kind in Asia.

The cinema center has three movie theaters and a 4,000-seat outdoor performance hall, and opened prior to last year's event to serve as the primary permanent venue of the annual festival.

"Cold War," a Hong Kong action-thriller movie directed by first-timers Sunny Luk and Longman Leung, is about police engaging in a war on crime, and was designated as the festival opener.

"Television" by Bangladeshi director Mostafa Farooki will close the event.

The film's story unfolds in a humorous and sharp manner, touching on issues such as religious views, the generation gap, tradition and modernization, and family love.

The designation, which is rare since Korean films have usually opened or closed the festival, was intended to highlight the diversity of Asian films, according to the organizers.

This year's festival will feature 304 movies from 75 countries around the world, a level similar to past years. They will include 93 world premiers, slightly more than 89 that opened last year.

Jury heads of the festival's two competition sections -- New Currents and Flash Forward -- are Bela Tarr, a Hungarian filmmaker, and Arturo Ripstein, a Mexican director.

Among the international guests to attend the festival are top Chinese actress Tang Wei, who was chosen to be the first foreign host of the festival's opening ceremony, fellow Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, Spanish actress Victoria Abril, Japanese actor Kase Ryo and French actress Agnes Jaoui.

Directors Mohsen Makhmalbaf of Iran, Zhang Yang of China, Wakamatsu Koji of Japan and Krzysztof Zanussi of Poland will also visit Busan to promote their latest works.

The BIFF has 11 sections, including the "Gala Presentation," "A Window on Asian Cinema" and "New Currents."

The Gala Presentation section will present seven of the latest films by master directors from five countries, including Korean directors Hur Jin-ho's "Dangerous Liaisons," Chung Ji-young's "National Security," and "The Gardener" by Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

The "Window" section offers a comprehensive look at contemporary films from Asia, and is to present 49 films from 21 countries, while 10 works by young and up-and-coming Asian filmmakers from 9 countries will be presented in the New Currents category.

The Korean Cinema Retrospective section will present eight of the better-known films starring Korean veteran actor Shin Young-kyun.

Debuting in 1960 with "A Widow," the 83-year-old actor has appeared in 317 movies.

"This year's festival will be held for 10 days, as the length of the event was extended for one more day than last year to include two weekends," Busan Mayor Hur Nam-sik, also chief organizer of the BIFF, said in a news conference in Busan.

"We made efforts to help visitors experience a fancy environment, but comfortably enjoy the festival," he said. (Yonhap)

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