The 28th Busan International Film Festival Announces Selections for New Currents and Jiseok

Published : Wednesday, August 30, 2023, 12:58 pm
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The 28th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which will be held for 10 days from Oct 4 (Wed) to Oct 13 (Fri), has unveiled selections for New Currents and Jiseok, competition sections for Asian films.

- Gateway for Emerging Asian Directors with Profound Potential New Currents Announces 10 Selections!

New Currents, a main competition section at the Busan International Film Festival, showcases first or second features by up-and-coming Asian filmmakers. This year, a selection of 10 films by emerging directors from diverse countries—encompassing Korea, Japan, Bangladesh, and India—will vie for the New Currents Award, with the top two feature films earning this prestigious recognition.

New Currents showcases 2 Japanese films. SEPTEMBER 1923 (2023) is based on the historical Great Kantō earthquake of 1923, which resulted in numerous Korean casualties. This film marks the notable feature debut of Mori Tatsuya, formerly recognized for creating documentaries that shed light on various societal issues within Japan. After the Fever (2023) directed by Yamamoto Akira, delves deep into the intricacies of intense emotional states experienced during profound love, presenting them in a striking manner. The film captivates the audience with its dynamic, explosive, and profoundly shocking directing style.

2 debut works by Bangladeshi directors have been selected. Along with Something Like an Autobiography (2023), part of the Jiseok selection, 3 films from Bangladesh have been invited, showcasing the momentum of Bangladeshi cinema. The Wrestler (2023), directed by Iqbal H. Chowdhury, unfolds a narrative in which an elderly man from a fishing village challenges a wrestling champion to combat. The film deftly composes an evocative tableau by strategically arranging dynamic characters against a backdrop of static elements. The Stranger (2023) by Biplob Sarkar is a coming-of-age story that navigates the journey of a family in which the young son grapples with questions about his gender identity. The film articulates these inquiries in a distinct and compassionate manner.

New Currents introduces 2 compelling Korean films. Heritage (2023) unfolds the story of a military alternative social worker and a social worker who supervises him. Nuanced performances, unprecedented humor, sudden moments of silence, and distinctive dialogue collectively shape an innovative cinematic style, enhancing the film's unique novelty. That Summer’s Lie (2023) portrays a teenage melodrama, centered around a high school girl, who reflects on the past summer spent with her boyfriend. Blurring the boundaries between truth and falsehood, the film delicately captures the gravity of the summer’s events and the challenges of reaching a resolution.

Director Rajesh S. Jala, who visited Busan in 2008 with his feature documentary Children of the Pyre (2008), returns with his debut feature film, The Spark (2023). The film captivates the viewer with an exquisite mise-en-scène and a meticulously crafted storyline. Meanwhile, Borrowed Time (2023), directed by Chinese director Choy Ji, follows a protagonist wandering through the streets of Hong Kong. The film skillfully captures this journey with warm lighting and flexible cinematography, navigating fluid boundaries that blend the past, present, reality, and fantasy.

Presenting a picturesque coastal backdrop, Solids by the Seashore (2023) marks the directorial debut of Patiparn Boontarig, previously an assistant director on Manta Ray (2018), which received the Orizzonti award for Best Film at the 2018 Venice Film Festival. This film has been chosen for the post-production fund of the 2023 Asian Cinema Fund. Oasis of Now (2023) is directed by Malaysian filmmaker Chia Chee Sum, an alumnus of the Asian Film Academy. It portrays a young girl who cannot reveal her true identity for her future with unbound creativity.

- Latest Works from Established Filmmakers Highlight a Thriving Asian Cinema Jiseok Unveils 10 Selections!

Established in 2022, Jiseok is a section that confers the KIM Jiseok Award, a tribute to the late KIM Jiseok, a program director who devoted his life to discovering and fostering the development of Asian cinema. This award is granted to Asian directors with a portfolio of more than 3 feature films, and from this selection of 10 films, the top 2 are honored.

The Moon (2023), directed by the esteemed young Japanese master Ishii Yuya, is based on a factual account set inside a sanatorium that provides care for both disabled and elderly people. The film has generated anticipation due to its cast of distinguished Japanese actors, including Miyazawa Rie and Odagiri Joe. Ichiko (2023), directed by Toda Akihiro, delicately weaves a sorrowful narrative of a woman compelled to conceal her identity. The skillful performance of Sugisaki Hana, a recipient of the Japanese Academy Award, graces the film as its protagonist.

2 South Asian films will have their world premieres. Directed by the esteemed Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage, Paradise (2023) explores a wide spectrum of human behavior, intricately entwined within political and hierarchical interests, as minor misunderstandings evolve into significant conflicts. The Bangladeshi film Something Like an Autobiography (2023) is co-written by the couple, director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and actress Nusrat Imrose Tisha, who also portray the central couple in the film. Drawing its title from director Kurosawa Akira’s literary work, the film presents a grand, poignant jest that prompts contemplation on the boundaries between reality and fantasy.

From Central Asia, Bride Kidnapping (2023) by the Kirghiz director Mirlan Abdykalykov has been invited. Mirlan, the awardee of the FIPRESCI Award at BIFF 2019 for his earlier work, Running to the Sky (2019), confronts a profound societal issue rooted in an alarming real-life story. From Southeast Asia, a trio of films will be showcased: 24 Hours with Gaspar (2023), directed by Yosep Anggi Noen, a prominent figure in the realm of Indonesian Independent cinema; Doi Boy (2023) by Nontawat Numbenchapol, which deftly portrays the somber underbelly of Chiang Mai; and Moro (2023), a tragic drama by Brillante Mendoza, a renowned director from the Philippines.

2 films from Korea, Blesser (2023) and At the End of the Film (2023), have been selected. In Blesser (2023), directed by Lee Sangcheol, the narrative revolves around a former journalist in the realm of politics, as he pens a heartfelt chronicle about his journey raising a child with developmental disabilities. The film tenderly captures an enduring life ethos through its compelling narrative and characters. Director Ahn Sunkyoung, recipient of the BIFF 2013 New Currents Award for Pascha (2013), presents her latest film At the End of the Film (2023). Seamlessly blurring the lines between cinema and reality, fiction and nonfiction, the film deftly portrays a filmmaker navigating the demanding intricacies of the filmmaking process.

The 28th Busan International Film Festival, generating a palpable wave of anticipation with its announcement of selections for New Currents and Jiseok, spotlighting the latest works of Asian filmmakers, will be held from Oct 4 (Wed) to Oct 13 (Fri) in the vicinity of the Busan Cinema Center.

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