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30 Films you cannot miss at the 23rd Busan International Film Festival (Part 2)

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These are thirty films you cannot miss at the 2018 Busan International Film Festival, taking place from October 4th – 13th, in the beautiful city of Busan (Korea).

Maggie

Maggie by Yl Okseop – South Korea | 2018 – 88 min.
Section: Korean Cinema Today | World Premiere
** 2018 ACF Post-Production Fund **

The discovery of X-ray photographs of sexual intercourse causes trouble at a hospital. The hospital administration is more interested in who might be in the x-rays than who took them. A nurse, Yeo Yoon-young, is writing her resignation because she thinks it might be her, but when she arrives at the hospital no one else is there except the deputy. While this hospital commotion is going on, strange sinkholes start to appear in Seoul. Young laborers, including Yoon-young’s boyfriend, are mobilized to fill these sudden sinkholes. Maggie is a film where one cannot easily summarize the plot. Since it does not confine itself to convention, the director’s unique imagination spreads everywhere. The director once expressed his intentions behind directing as follow: “I kept quiet even though I knew something was not true. Watching the growing misunderstanding, I felt that the world would adapt to that misunderstanding. Confidence is free from doubt, and so it can be very dangerous. My film describes the process of achieving confidence. But how should I behave after learning the truth?” (Nam Dong-chul)

Schedule:
October 7th | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 20:30
October 9th | Tuesday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 20:30
October 10th | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 12:00
October 11th | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 10 | 11:00

Manta Ray

Manta Ray by Phuttiphong Aroonpheng – Thailand, France, China | 2018 – 105 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | Asian Premiere
** 2010 ACF Script Development Fund **

In the forest are the graves of those who have lost their way. The dreams of those buried in the ground shine like various gemstones. One day, a fisherman who hears the sound of a buried gemstone saves a dying man while digging for it. The fisherman names him ‘Thongchai’- he who won’t or can’t speak, and teaches him how to breathe underwater with an ‘Mm’ sound. Could the fisherman hear the silent sound of Thongchai just like the sound of a gemstone? The forests of coastal villages where refugees die, troops stay, and people are buried in silence, are filled with the sounds of unfulfilled dream colors, and no one dares come to check the forests out when darkness sets in. It may be the breath of the dead who are still spouting away, the sound of the various gemstones filling the forest and crying. Can only manta rays of the sea come here to determine without fear the reality of the dreams of the buried? (Chai HeeSuk)

Schedule:
October 5th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 20:00
October 8th | Monday | CGV Centum City 5 | 13:30
October 11th | Thursday | CGV Centum City 7 | 14:00

Trailer:

 

No Matter How

No Matter How Much My Mom Hates Me by Minorikawa Osamu
Japan | 2018 – 104 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | World Premiere

Taiji has been estranged from his mother after suffering years of child abuse at her hand. With the support of his friends, he tries to face her one last time to overcome his traumas. Flashbacks show Taiji, a chubby child desperately seeking love from his beautiful mother while growing up in a dysfunctional family. His father is always cheating, his sister turns a blind eye to Taiji’s distress, and his only refuge is nan, who looks after him and tries to prevent his mother from mistreating him. Based on a true story by Utagawa Taiji, the bestseller comic book has been effortlessly transferred to screen. Minorikawa Osamu covers the tricky topic of child abuse with neither a heavy handed nor light approach, and without being ‘over the top’– leading to an extremely affecting impact. But what will capture the audience most is the powerful yet vulnerable performance by Yoshida Yoh playing Mitsuko, the mother of Taiji, depicting the character in a way that makes you feel sorry for her no matter how much you want to hate her. (Karen Park)

Schedule:
October 7th | Sunday | CGV Centum City 4 | 19:30
October 8th | Monday | CGV Centum City 6 | 20:30

Ode to the Goose

Ode to the Goose by Zhang Lu – South Korea | 2018 – 122 min.
Section: Gala Presentation | World Premiere

Yoon-young falls for Song-hyeon who is married to his friend. When she gets divorced, he takes her to Gunsan for a spontaneous trip. The guest house they stay is run by a mid-aged man and his autistic daughter. Four characters’ connections cross in this love affairs in Gunsan. The director’s previous film Gyeongju captured the city in a very attractive demeanor and this film could easily be called Gunsan in the same sense that the film focuses on the city’s beauty and the history within. Gunsan preserves many Japanese style buildings and gardens as well as photos of Japanese colonial army’s cruelty and the film brings up the hidden shape of the world underneath its surface. The couple’s relationship, seemingly ordinary, is far from it once we learn their past. The film also displays authentic performances by actors such as Park Haeil, Moon Sori, Jung Jinyoung, Park Sodam, Moon Sook, Myung Gye-nam, Jung Eun-chae, Han Ye-ri, Lee Mi-sook, Yoon Je-moon. (Nam Dong-chul)

Schedule:
October 5th | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Haneulyeon Theater | 20:00
October 7th | Sunday | CGV Centum City 7 | 20:00

Our Body

Our Body by Han Ka-ram – South Korea | 2018 – 96 min.
Section: Korean Cinema Today | Asian Premiere

Preparing for the civil service exam for 8 years, Ja-young is getting exhausted by her continued attempts to pass it. After fighting with her mother who has been supporting her, she must stand on her own feet. Mentally and physically exhausted, Ja-young happens to meet a jogger full of vitality named Hyun-joo, and is tempted to be like her. Ja-young starts to run for the first time in her life. During the day, she works part-time at a company with her old friend Min-ji . At night she runs with Hyun-joo. Through this, she gradually regains her energy. She really admires Hyun-joo who has her own goals, dreams, and a good figure, but as Ja-young gets to know her better, she suspects Hyun-joo is harboring some secrets. One night while running together, Hyun-joo dies in a sudden accident and Ja-young enters into shock. Without knowing it, Ja-young soon develops a good figure that others envy, and her life still seems to be in place. After watching the movie with its impressive depiction of women’s’ physical and sexual fantasies, I think the audience will remember Our Body over Anarchist from Colony’s Choi Hee-seo. (Nam Dong-chul)

Schedule:
October 5th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 11:00
October 8th | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 14:00
October 9th | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 8 | 16:00
October 10th | Wednesday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 16:00

Trailer:

 

Our Departures

Our Departures by Yoshida Yasuhiro – Japan | 2018 – 120 min.
Section: A Window on Asia Cinema | World Premiere

Setsuo has been living alone for the past decade, working as a train driver in Kagoshima. One day a young woman and a little boy appear before him to inform that his son has died of a heart attack, and that they are his bereaved wife and son. Dismayed to learn of his son’s sudden death, but flustered by his new daughter-in-law Akira and grandson Shunya, Setsuo accepts them into his home, and step by step they form a ‘family’. Akira, determined to raise Shunya as her own son, takes a test to become a train driver to please the boy who loves trains. The grief of losing a loved one never fades away. You have to learn how to live with it, only then can you heal and rebound. This is a tale about three ‘unfamiliar’ people who incidentally become a ‘family’, forging a unique but heartfelt bond, delicately portrayed by director Yoshida Yasuhiro. Kunimura Jun, internationally acclaimed for his appearances in Hollywood movies, shows that his masterful acting boasts both a wide range and a profound depth. (Karen Park)

Schedule:
October 5th | Friday | CGV Centum City 5 | 13:30
October 9th | Tuesday | CGV Centum City 4 | 13:00
October 11th | Thursday | CGV Centum City 4 | 13:00

Second Life

Second Life by Park Young-ju – South Korea | 2018 – 70 min.
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

Because she gets no love from her indifferent parents, high school student Sunhee craves popularity at school. When assigned to sit behind Jungmee, she lies to become friends with her. She must keep up the lie to keep up appearances, until they all backfire, and Sunhee is ostracized. Angry at being caught in her lies, Sunhee frames Jungmee to make it look like she is a thief, and Jungmee ends up killing herself. After witnessing her suicide, Sunhee runs away, and ends up living in an orphanage far away from Seoul and begins a new life as “Seulki.” Everyone knows that lies are bad. But we still lie for one reason or another. It is important that we understand those reasons. In this case, Sunhee becomes Seulki because of lies. They weren’t ill intentioned. She only wanted to become popular. But they still ended in the worst possible way. Now she tries to live a new life to make up for her mistakes. Will Sunhee be able to live well as Seulki? (Nam Dong-chul)

Schedule:
October 7th | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:30
October 9th | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 20:00
October 10th | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 10 | 13:00
October 12th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 16:00

Signal Rock

Signal Rock by Chito S. Roño – Philippines | 2018 – 127 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | International Premiere

On a beautiful rocky island that looks like a giant abalone, young people sparsely sit and talk on their cell phones. One of them, Intoy, ends a call with his sister living abroad and returns to town. This rocky island is the best place to receive mobile phone signals. Set in Biri village in Northern Samar in the Philippines, the film tells the ironic story that although it could be the most beautiful island on Earth, it is part of the brutal reality the young villagers face. The most impressive element is the sense of reality the main character, Intoy, conveys. Rather than focusing on the frustration of a typical poor young man in the Philippines, the film focuses on how Intoy deals with the problems ahead of him. The movie shows how Intoy interacts with the villagers through his sense of balance and reality, solving the problems the village has. However, he cannot solve his problem. He can only realize that he has no choice but to endure in the face of the cold reality. (Park Jinhee)

Schedule:
October 6th | Saturday | CGV Centum City 7 | 20:00
October 10th | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 10:00
October 12th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 10:00

Trailer:

 

Stone Skipping

Stone Skipping by Kim Jeong-sik – South Korea | 2017 – 108 min.
Section: Korean Cinema Today | World Premiere

Intellectually disabled Seokku runs a rice mill in a rural village, and is close to the local residents. The village’s Catholic priest takes good care of him though he lacks intelligence. One day, Eunji, a runaway girl appears in the village. He becomes friends with her while she looks for her father, but one night there is an unsavory incident at the mill. A teacher at a shelter where Eunji is staying believes Seokku sexually harassed her, but the priest insists that he would never do that. Where is the truth? Whatever it is, Seokku is an intellectually challenged person who cannot defend himself properly. Residents of the village, who used to treat him with affection, turn their backs on him and the law does not allow him to see Eunji again. The movie criticizes the harsh prejudices that make Seokku a criminal. Now that sexual violence has emerged as a social issue, the question the movie asks is controversial. Are you a teacher who criticizes him? Or are you a priest defending him? (Nam Dong-chul)

Schedule:
October 5th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 13:00
October 6th | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 17:00
October 9th | Tuesday | CGV Centum City 6 | 13:00

The Eternity between seconds

The Eternity between seconds by Alec Figuracion
Philippines, South Korea | 2018 – 83 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | International Premiere

A Filipino-Korean co-production set in Incheon airport, about a psychological journey: from meeting, to conversation, sympathy, advice, enlightenment, and change. Successful writer Andres heads straight to the airport after finishing a book signing in Korea. Sam, a Coppino who has just graduated from college, never leaves the airport. She came to visit her father whom she has never met. Sam is reading Adres’ book when they meet, and the two begin a two-hour companionship. Andres must return to the Philippines and Sam must remain in Korea—they both seem to be afraid of stepping outside the airport. The man is successful but indifferent to everything and the woman is cheerful but holds a sadness inside. They share much in the short time they are together. They experience Korean culture in a limited space, play games, ask questions and answer them. During this time, they learn about each other, but also think about themselves. The film resonates with us as it connects the relationship between airport and travel, self and outsider. (Jeong Minah)

Schedule:
October 5th | Friday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 13:00
October 8th | Monday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 5 | 11:00
October 12th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 13:00

Trailer:

 

The Rib

The Rib by Zhang Weig – China | 2018 – 85 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | World Premiere

Director Zhang Wei returns with another focus on China’s social issues in an exploration of life as a transgender person living in a changing Chinese society. Huanyu, who decides to undergo a sex-change, needs his father’s consent in order to go ahead with the medical procedures. His devoted Catholic father only sees transgender identity as a sin and sickness. The film examines the LGBT issue which remains a taboo in Chinese society in the way it depicts the relationship between the transgender-wishing protagonist and his family. The hand-held B&W camerawork which constantly emphasizes realism, is highlighted by one particular scene where his father finally recognizes his identity and they go out together, with his dress a bright red. The liveliness of the red dress in contrast to the tough stares directed at him within the B&W frame stresses the gap between social gaze and individual desire to create a dramatic antithesis. The film is structured around familial relationships, but also conveys the mutual support and advocacy coming from inside the transgender community as well as a sympathetic sensibility. (Hong So In)

Schedule:
October 7th | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 16:00
October 9th | Tuesday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 17:00
October 12th | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 19:00

The Third Wife

The Third Wife by Mayfair Ash – Vietnam | 2018 – 96 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | Asian Premiere

In 19th century Vietnam, 14-year-old girl May is traveling on a flowery decorated boat through a beautiful valley. She is meant to become the third wife of a much older landlord. Red lanterns light up, and their first night unfolds well. Knowing how things will work out, Mai quickly befriends the other two wives and hangs out with the second wife’s daughter like sisters. As she is reaching adulthood and discovering her sexuality, she wants to give birth to a son in order to improve her status in the family. Things seem to be going well as she becomes pregnant, but then she finds out that the second wife is having an affair with the full grown son of the first wife. Mai herself feels an affection for the second wife as well. In an era where servants can be severely punished for getting pregnant without their master’s permission, multi-layered emotions concerning growth, taboo, freedom and extreme choices are aesthetically depicted. If seen only as Oriental eroticism, the girl’s coming-of-age theme, still very relevant today, might be under-looked. (Park Sungho)

Schedule:
October 8th | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 10:00
October 10th | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 6 | 17:00
October 12th | Friday | CGV Centum City 5 | 10:00

Trailer:

 

Widow of Silence

Widow of Silence by Praveen Morchhale – India | 2018 – 85 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | World Premiere

Life goes on in a small village in civil-war-ridden Kashmir, India where bullet trains pass through forests blooming with flowers. Aasia, a Muslim woman, lives with her 11-year old daughter and mother-in-law since her husband went missing 7-years ago after the Indian army took him away. She attempts to register her husband as dead, but a corrupt government official keeps turning down her request, blatantly making demands instead. Praveen Morchhale’s realistic camerawork, long-takes, and use of non-professional actors, captures the lives occupying the landscapes and spaces of Kashmir. Each scene unfolds as characters enter and intersect with each other in spaces where the camera has already been waiting. Likewise, the camera lingers long after the characters have left the space, embracing the roles of characters and space in the film. It seems as though the film is claiming that life goes on regardless, but at the same time, it visually represents the oppressive conditions the protagonist is placed in through melodramatic mise-en-scene leading us to see the point of fissure as the film reaches its catastrophic ending. (Hong Soin)

Schedule:
October 8th | Monday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 16:00
October 9th | Tueday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 16:30
October 12th | Friday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 3 | 13:00

With All

With all my hypothalamus by Dwein Baltazar – Philippines | 2018 – 100 min.
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | International Premiere

Aileen, a young and beautiful woman, walks through the streets of her metropolis with all her irresistible charms. There are many men hankering around, longing for her. A poor salesman in a clothing shop discreetly spends his own money to provide her with special discounts. A perverted scamp develops a dangerous obsession for her. A lonely electronics salesperson agrees to her awkward demand. A pathetic college student falls for her after his ex-girlfriend left his phone number in a toilet for revenge. These men of different ages and backgrounds all lack something, but all get obsessed with possessing her. Their stories are loosely connected through Aileen’s daily life. She seems to know exactly what she has and can do to manipulate her suitors’ reality and to control them. However what does she really want? And do any of these men find satisfaction in her? (Park Sungho)

Schedule:
October 6th | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 13:00
October 9th | Tuesday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 13:00
October 11th | Thursday | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 13:30

Trailer:

 

Youngju

Youngju by Cha Sungduk – South Korea | 2018 – 100 min.
Section: Korean Cinema Today | World Premiere

Youngju lives with and cares for her younger brother after they lose their parents in a sudden accident. Youngju, cast in the role of breadwinner, wants to take full responsibility even if it means giving up her studies. However, her brother acts contrary to her wishes, and things don’t go as intended. Youngju seeks aid from the couple that caused the trouble by killing her parents. They think of Youngju as only a student seeking a part-time job and treat her kindly without any doubt. Youngju is the story of a girl who must be breadwinner and is no longer protected by her parents. After losing her parents, she and her brother have to live with their relatives who cannot be trusted. Paradoxically, the only place where she felt the warmth of family was at the home of the couple who killed their parents. Youngju is comforted by them, but they don′t know she is the victim′s daughter. Can they show her the same warmth after facing the truth? Youngju expects that they can, but her younger brother cannot understand her attitude. (Nam Dong-chul)

Schedule:
October 6th | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 20:30
October 8th | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 20:00
October 9th | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 10 | 17:00
October 10th | Wednesday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 13:00

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