We present a list of thirty films you cannot miss at the 22nd Busan International Film Festival 2017 that will take place from October 12th – 21st in Busan, South Korea. In this article we present the first fifteen films.
667 by Liao Jiekai, He Shuming, Chong Jun – Singapore | 2017 – 80 min.
The size of the film industry and the number of film productions in Singapore is relatively small, but it has excellent directors. Historically and socially, this multicultural country has gone through a lot of ups and downs, and the conflicts and crashing among different cultures seem to be a resource for the creative movies of Singapore. In succession of the movie 7 Letters, made by seven directors including Eric Khoo, this movie, 667, was made to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Singapore. The Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre funded the production costs. Under Royston Tan’s planning, five young directors representing Singapore participated in the project. The main motif is the connection to China and Chinese culture that has influenced Singapore economically, socially, and historically. Kirsten Tan acclaimed at many international film festivals in 2017 also participated. The ending credits contain the five directors’ sincerest tribute to the late Kim Ji-seok, Korean Program Director, since he had a good relationship with Singaporean film society. (KIM Young-woo – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | CGV Centum City 2 | 13:30 pm
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 2 | 16:30 pm
October 20th, 2017 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 10:00 am
A Haunting Hitchhike by Jeong Heejae – Korea | 2017- 110 min.
Sixteen-year-old Jeong-ae lives with her father in a redevelopment area in Seoul. Her father is diagnosed with terminal cancer, but has given up and is awaiting death. He tells her that everything becomes easy when you give up. One day, a letter arrives for Jeong-ae from her mother, who had left her a long time ago. Believing that finding her long lost mother is her last hope, she decides to contact her. A Haunting Hitchhike is a story about a girl looking for her mother, but her obsession is not really with her mother. On her journey, she finds someone she thinks may be a friend’s birth father. Given the chance to stay at his house, she is attracted to this man as a father, rather than her bedridden one. It appears that the girl misses a father figure that can be a strong, warm hedge around her, more so than a biological blood relation. However, this is a longing that must be overcome with maturity. She must again go out in search of her mother. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 16:00 pm
October 16th, 2017 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 13:00 pm
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday | CGV Centum City 7 | 16:30 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 7 | 20:00 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 20:00 pm
After my death by Kim Uiseok – Korea | 2017 – 113 min.
A girl goes missing. Suicide is suspected, but nothing is certain, as no body, suicide note, or evidence is found. When she arrives at school, Yeong-hui discovers that she was the last one to spend time with the missing girl. Amid wild conjecture Yeong-hui is suspected of having goaded the girl into killing herself. Yeong-hui denies the accusation, but still feels guilty somehow, and the dead girl’s mother follows Yeong-hui. After My Death shows the madness that does not stop until someone is punished as an assailant. Unable to accept her daughter’s death, the mother suspects Yeong-hui to be the bad guy, and her friends, teachers and police come to the same conclusion. Yeong-hui’s guilt does not stem from having done something wrong, but people are not interested in the truth–only in someone to condemn. Reason and tolerance have no sway in the world of After My Death. And school is the perfect place for a witch-hunt. Anyone can be a scapegoat. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 16:30 pm
October 16th, 2017 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 16:30 pm
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 6 | 13:00 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 16:30 pm
Ajji (Granny) by Devashish Makhija – India | 2017 – 104 min.
An older woman goes out looking for her granddaughter Manda, who hasn’t come home yet, and finds her abandoned next to the local railroad. While taking care of her granddaughter, who has been raped, she asks the police for help. The police, however, threaten her family after realizing that the attacker was a politician’s trouble-making son. She starts following him every day, looking for a chance to get revenge. When a society’s judicial system fails to function due to an imbalance of wealth and power, punishment for a crime becomes a matter of personal revenge. Fighting everyone becomes the only way to survive. This is the kind of society in which ajji takes place. It’s rather impossible to hope to bring justice to the politician’s son, who rapes the girl and commits other bizarre crimes. With the help of a woman in a brothel and the techniques she learned from the butcher, the grandmother limps her way toward revenge. This is screenwriter Makhija’s debut film, as his first was censored and never made it to audiences. (KIM Young-woo – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 17:00 pm
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2| 10:00 am
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 9 | 13:30 pm
Ashwatthama by Pushpendra Singh – India | 2017 – 120 min.
Ishvaku is enjoying his vacation at home and is immersed in Ashwatthama, the warrior from the Indian myth “Mahabharata” told by his mother every night. Lord Krishna curses Ashwatthama to meander the world for eternity for his thirst for revenge against the Pandava clan. But Ishvaku’s happiness does not last long. His mother is killed by bandits who attack the village and he is then sent to his mother’s seemingly-timeless hometown in Chambal Valley, where three states meet: Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. Away from his father and with his mother dead, Ishvaku spends time alone. The sacred cow visits the town and foretells Ishvaku that wisdom and tragedy are about to come at the same time. In Ashwatthama, various symbols and fantastic images stimulate the audience’s imagination. While going back and forth between the mythical fantasy and reality, the film portrays the sense of loss, anxiety, and wounds of a boy who lost his mother with beautiful black and white images. (KIM Young-woo – BIFF Catalogue)
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 10:00 am
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 13:30 pm
October 20th, 2017 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 11:00 am
Birds without names by Shiraishi Kazuya – Japan | 2017 – 124 min.
Based on the novel of the same title by Numata Mahokaru, which received rave reviews for its remarkable aesthetic style and astute psychological descriptions, Birds without Names exemplifies and enhances the merits of the original novel. These include an unconventional narrative flow, an overall enigmatic mood, and the bizarre relationships that ensue due to the various facets of the unusual cast of characters. Unemployed Towako, who makes her presence felt by phoning in complaint calls to a department store, stays with Jinji, who is 16 years her senior and a day laborer. Jinji provides everything for her, from basic food, clothing and shelter to sexual pleasure, but he is completely ignored by Towako. Even though their extremely unfair and unbalanced relationship doesn’t seem to have a way forward, it does create some sort of presence, a bit like a stronger, more solid wax castle for her than any other relationship she has ever had before. This film depicts the revelation of what this solid castle really is in a strange and oddly interesting way. (PARK Jin-hee – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | CGV Centum City Starium | 10:00 am
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinematheque | 10:30 am
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 4 | 10:00 am
Black Summer by Lee Weonyoung – Korea | 2017 – 110 min.
Jihyeon works at the university as a part-timer, writing and making films. He is not ambitious and is thankful to have work that he enjoys. He finds joy in recording trivial things in life and the scenery he passes by every day. One day, as he holds an audition while preparing for his next film, he meets Geonu, a junior colleague from school. They become close as they work together, and are confused by unfamiliar emotions. Their relationship becomes a topic of controversy in the university community, and to protect Geonu, Jihyeon claims that he was the one who sexually abused Geonu. How will the two men face despair and hope? Universities seem to be places free from prejudice, but the reality is not so. When homosexuality is mentioned, students are shocked and show fear and disgust. This is even more so in a male-only house. Prejudice is evident in conversations, not only about homosexuality but also about film sites. In the end, their love is treated as an accident caused by immaturity. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 10:30 am
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 13:00 pm
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday| MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 15:30 pm
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday| MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 7 | 15:30 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday| CGV Centum City 7 | 20:00 pm
End of summer by Zhou Quan – China | 2017 – 102 min.
Soccer became popular in China thanks to the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Xiaoyang, who loves soccer, wants to get onto the school’s team, but his father doesn’t allow him, saying it’s more important for him to study. An old man next door, however, encourages Xiaoyang, and tells him that he will help. Xiaoyang’s mother is always busy as an actress in traditional Chinese drama. In the meantime, his father develops a crush on a temporary teacher at Xiaoyang’s school. Xiaoyang tails the two with suspicion in his eyes. End of Summer captures the father’s generation and his father’s generation through the eyes of fifth-grader Xiaoyang. With his friendship with an old man, lonely after fighting his children, and his excited father enjoying his late life romance, the film portrays the loss and growth of a soccerloving boy in the summer of 1998. This is the debut film for Zhou Quan, a Chinese director who studied at the AFI. Interestingly, Zhang Songwen and Zhou Tan from Lou Ye’s Spring Fever appear together as the boy’s parents. (KIM Young-woo – BIFF Catalogue)
October 14th, 2017 | Saturday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 17:00 pm
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 20:00 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 10 | 17:00 pm
February by Kim Joonghyun – Korea | 2017 – 112 min.
World Premiere – 2017 ACF Post-Production Fund
Min-gyeong is preparing for a public servant’s test by stealing lectures. She steals change from the dumpling restaurant she works at part time. Her father’s settlement costs and custody costs aside, she cannot even pay her overdue rent. She must look for a place to sleep. She goes to see her one-time roommate and college friend Yeojin, who suffered depression and had attempted suicide many times. Somehow, a happy Yeojin does not ring quite right with Min-gyeong, but having found a place to stay, she is relieved. Her stay does not last long, though. Having to find another place to stay, she gets help from a man with whom she had sex for money. His son Seonghun hopes that Min-gyeong becomes his mom, and Min-gyeong slowly begins to feel attached to him. February is a story about a woman who keeps making bad choices. Her crimes are not big, but morally condemnable, and she keeps running away from a chance at a fresh start. True, her surroundings are no help to that fresh start either.(NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 10:00 am
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 7 | 10:00 am
October 16th, 2017 | Monday| CGV Centum City 7 | 19:30 pm
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday| MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 19:30 pm
October 17th, 2017 | Tuesday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 7 | 19:30 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday| Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 13:00 pm
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom? By Shimbo Akiyuki
Japan | 2017 – 90 min.
While cleaning up a pool with his friend Yusuke, middle school student Norimichi meets a popular girl, Nazuna. Following her suggestion, Norimichi and Yusuke have a swimming contest, as Nazuna promises she will go to the fireworks festival with the winner. Norimichi is disappointed when Nazuna, whom he has secretly liked, goes to the festival with his friend. But he happens to find a mysterious glass marble, and through it, Norimichi has a magical experience he will never forget. Director Simbo Akiyuki’s animation Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom? is based on director Iwai Shunji’s drama of the same name. This movie beautifully and gaily expresses the unique excitement of Iwai Shunji’s white period, in that fantastic way that only animation can provide. Viewers will experience those fluttering and exciting feelings of first love and the weight of reality that follows after. The movie Fireworks, Should We See it from the Side or the Bottom?masterfully depicts the bittersweetness of first love, tracing a day leading up to the evening fireworks. (KIM Byeong-cheol – BIFF Catalogue)
October 16th, 2017 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center BIFF Theater | 20:00 pm
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 7 | 11:00 am
October 20th, 2017 | Friday | Sohyang Theater Centum City | 16:00 pm
I Am Not a Witch by Rungano Nyoni – UK, France | 2017 – 95 min.
In a small village in Africa, a nine-year-old girl, Shula, is accused of witchcraft and confined to a witch camp. Like other witches, she is tied to a white ribbon that curses her by turning into a goat when she cuts it. Can Shula get out of the camp and find freedom? Women wearing paint on their faces are sitting in a huddle and foreign tourists are watching them like animals in a zoo. These women are those who have been declared to be witches. Under the command of a government official, they play the parts of witches and satisfy tourists’ curiosity. Shula, the youngest member of the group, draws even more attention. Shamanist rituals and absurd anecdotes of people depicted in vivid colors and refined camerawork make the story even more unrealistic. I Am Not a Witch deals with the deep-rooted tradition of witches in Africa, with a great sense of humor and sophistication. This is a debut film of a Zambian-born female director, Rungano Nyoni. (RHEE Souewon – BIFF Catalogue)
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 14:00 pm
October 20th, 2017 | Friday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 2 | 19:00 pm
Last Child by Shin Dongseok – Korea | 2017 – 123 min.
World Premiere – 2017 ACF Post-Production Fund
A couple that owns an interiors shop had a son, Eunchan, who died saving a friend, Gihyeon, from drowning during a trip six months earlier. The father is still suffering from the loss and is barely holding on. One day, he witnesses Gihyeon being bullied by a group of young people. Deciding to help out, the father teaches Gihyeon interior work, and his wife also opens up to Gihyeon. Soon the three become like family, but the closer they become, the more guilty Gihyeon feels. Unable to hold out, he finally confesses to them the truth about their son’s death. Last Child poses a different question at each half of the film. In the first half, the question is what to do with the boy that survived instead of their son. Later, the question becomes how to cope with the truth if the death of their son is not the noble sacrifice known to the world. Both questions present the survivors with a hard choice to make. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 13:30 pm
October 16th, 2017 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 20:00 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | CGV Centum City 6 | 16:00 pm
October 20th, 2017 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 17:00 pm
Let Me Eat Your Pancreas by Tsukikawa Sho – Japan | 2017 – 115 min.
The title seems horrifying, but it actually is a romance depicting the love and relationships of high school students. The screen brims with a very Japanese mood of cherry blossoms, sweet music and colors. The title is a magical word a terminally ill girl mutters to overcome death. The plot wherein the main character looks back at a memory from 12 years before reminds us of Love Letter, and the story about naive high school students suffering from an incident involving matters of life and death recalls Your Name. This is a transmedia film, where the bestselling novel of the same name was adapted into a cartoon, and then readapted into a movie. After a boy who doesn’t make any friends happens to pick up a popular girl’s diary that details her fight against her illness, their relationship begins. After that, they continue their friendship and love secretly. Oguri Shun and Kitakawa Keiko play the adult roles of the main characters, putting the puzzle together, crossing the two axes of past and present. (JEONG Minah – BIFF Catalogue)
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center BIFF Theater | 20:00 pm
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 5 | 11:00 am
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | Sohyang Theater Centum City | 19:00 pm
Missing by E Oni – Korea | 2016 – 100 min.
Jiseon, a divorcee, works for a public relations company and raises her daughter. Hanmae, a nanny from China looks after the little girl. One day, coming home from work, Jiseon finds that her daughter and Hanmae have simply disappeared. The police and her ex-husband suspect that Jiseon hid the child on purpose because of an ongoing custody battle, so she sets out alone to search for her daughter. Jiseon finds out that Hanmae’s name and status were mere forgery. Can Jiseon track down Hanmae and find her daughter? The mystery surrounding the girl’s disappearance is the film’s driving force, but MISSING isn’t focused on the identify of the criminal. Director E Oni instead observes the environments that both Jiseon and Hanmae are placed in. They are both working women, driven into a corner by a male-dominant society. Hanmae is exposed to violence from her Korean husband and from her mother-in-law, while Jiseon still suffers from her ex-husband his mother’s abusive language. The rigor of living as a woman in Korea creates an emotional solidarity between the two women despite their class difference. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | CGV Centum City 2 | 19:30 pm
October 15th, 2017 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 10:30 am
October 19th, 2017 | Thursday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 5 | 11:00 am
Mothers by Lee Dongeun – Korea | 2017 – 119 min.
Hyojin teaches children in a study room business that she runs with a friend in the suburbs. One day, she is asked to take care of Jonguk, the son of her dead husband and his ex-wife. It is not an easy burden to bear, but she finally decides to keep him. Then she finds out that Jonguk is searching for his mom, and doubt is cast on her previous belief that the ex-wife is dead. On a snowy winter night, Hyojin and Jonguk visit his mom together. It is not often that a 32-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy come to live together. Though they must become mother and son, they are strangers, and becoming a family is not easy. Unlike home, where the boy is trying hard to become part of the family, Mothers is a story about a woman trying to become a mother and a friend. Director Lee Dongeun dreams of giving birth to another family following In Between Seasons. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF Catalogue)
October 13th, 2017 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 19:00 pm
October 16th, 2017 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 10:00 am
October 18th, 2017 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 6 | 19:00 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Friday| MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 16:30 pm
October 19th, 2017 | Friday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 7 | 16:30 pm