40 Films you cannot miss at the 24th Busan International Film Festival (Part 3)

busan2019films3We present the third part of our list of films that you shouldn’t miss at the 24th Busan International Film Festival which will take place from October 3rd – 12th, in Busan, Korea.

About the festival:
The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) held annually in Haeundaegu, Busan (Korea) is one of the most important film festivals in Asia, together with the Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival. Since the first edition in 1996, the festival aim to introduce new films and first-time directors to the world. Another notable feature is the appeal of the festival to young people, both in terms of the large youthful audience it attracts and through its efforts to develop and promote young talent.

Note: this article was split into four parts. At the end of this publication you will find the links to other films. Thanks – Team AFF




Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom by Pawo Choyning Dorji – Bhutan | 2019 – 110 minutes

Pawo Choyning DORJI invites us to the most remote place in Bhutan, the happiest country in the world. Lunara, a very small village with only 56 people at 4,800 meters above sea level, has the most remote school on earth. The city guy Ugen, born in the capital Thimphu, has a decent job as a teacher, but he cannot give up his hope to become a singer in far away Australia. Preparing for retirement and immigration, he is forcefully transferred to Lunara. Tracking the Himalayas for days and nights to reach the village, he can barely stand the toilet without toilet paper and the bitter cold of the night. The so-called school building doesn’t even have a blackboard and is piled up with dust. Nevertheless, the children are passionate to pursue their dreams by education, and the people are very respectful in spite of inevitable poorness. Then he meets a beautiful yak herder. It’s a process of enlightening that brings questions about the boundary between the dream called a film and the reality. (PARK Sungho)

October 7th (Monday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 13:30 pm
October 9th (Wednesday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 13:30 pm
October 10th (Thursday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 17:00 pm





Maadathy, An Unfairy Tale by Leena Manimekalai
India, Singapore, France | 2019 – 90 minutes

In a small village in southern India, a newlywed couple is on a motorcycle, heading to a temple. When the bride’s period begins unexpectedly, the groom leaves to look for a piece of cloth for her to use but does not return. The bride goes out searching for her husband and heads into a nearby hut, where she meets a boy who tells her the story of Maadathy, the goddess of the lowest caste group. The story was about a family of the unseeable caste, which was even lower than the untouchables and considered outcastes—people who have been thrown out of the caste system. Because of their status, the only occupation they were allowed to have was to washers. They washed clothes that were considered unclean, such as clothes on corpses or those stained with menstrual blood. And they had to keep out of everyone’s sights, because people believed that just catching the sight of the unseeables made themselves unclean.

Beings who wash away the filth, who may cause harm by being seen, and who allow society to maintain its solidarity—who can they be if not gods? Director Leena MANIMEKALAI, who is also a poet, focused on the sanctity found in the uncleanest of all things. But the tale of a goddess that should be just is instead full of “unfair” incidents. (CHOI Eun)

October 6th (Sunday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 13:30 pm
October 9th (Wednesday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 17:00 pm
October 10th (Thursday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 3 | 17:00 pm




Mindanao by Brillante Mendoza – Philippines | 2019 – 123 minutes

Saima is the mother of a cancer-stricken girl named Aisa and the wife of Malang, a combat medic deployed in a civil conflict near the island of Mindanao Living with Aisa in a temporary home for children with cancer called the House of Hope, Saima supports and waits for her daughter and husband, who face challenges of life and death every day. While Aisa battles her illness, Malang grapples with life-and-death situations in battle. And watching them fight, Saima struggles hard to hang onto her hope. In between the stories of Saima, Asia, and Malang, the legend of brave warrior brothers fighting a dragon that Saima and Malang tell Aisa unfolds in an animation sequence drawn with crayons.

Mindanao is a beautiful drama that brings together big and small stories about the history and wounds of the civil conflict in the Philippines, the solidarity and support among mothers with children suffering from cancer, the yearning of the wounded people who wish to find hope in despair, and the legend of brave, dragon-fighting warriors. This heartwarming story by director Brillante MENDOZA will be making a world premiere in Busan. (PARK Sun Young)

October 5th (Saturday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 16:30 pm
October 6th (Sunday) | Lotte Cinema Daeyoung 3 | 20:00 pm
October 11th (Friday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 14:00 pm



Moving On

Moving On by Yoon Danbi – Korea | 2019 – 105 minutes

A teenage girl Okju and her younger brother start a life in their grandfather’s house with their father. Okju’s aunt often comes to this house to play. Okju spends the most precious time in her childhood here. Unforgettable love, hurt, and various good-bye moments are imprinted in Okju’s life. Above all, the casting of Okju, and her younger brother is so exquisite and successful that it tells how bright eyes the director has in casting and directing the actors.

In Moving On, along with some of Asia’s greatest master directors, one can clearly sense the influence of KOREEDA Hirokazu, but that is not a flaw in itself. Moving On is eager to learn, instead of easily mimicking KOREEDA’s movies. Would it be too much of an exaggeration to say there is a movie here that wants to be the earnest successor of KOREEDA’s movie? (JUNG Han-Seok)

October 6th (Sunday) | Lotte Cinema Daeyoung 1 | 17:00 pm
October 7th (Monday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinematheque | 19:30 pm
October 8th (Tuesday) | Lotte Cinema Daeyoung 3 | 13:30 pm
October 10th (Thursday) | CGV Centum City 7 | 16:30 pm



Nina Wu

Nina Wu by Midi Z – Taiwan, Malaysia, Myanmar | 2019 – 103 minutes

The Chinese Myanmar director Midi Z chellenged reinventing his style with this psychological thriller. Nina Wu, a girl used to live in a small town playing at a local theater, leaves for a big city to fulfill her dream to become a star. After eight years of obscurity, she finally is cast as a protagonist of a film which is a 1960s spy thriller. Although this is kind of once in a lift time opportunity, she is burden from pressure as the press and the industry confidently believe the big success of the film. The director often pushes her to the limit shooting full nudity in bed scenes. At the blink of success, her mentality starts to break down. She rushes back home to deal with her family crisis as her father is bankrupt due to failure of his business and her mother’s heath is weakening since heart attack. She tries to restore her relationship with her childhood friend Kiki. However, she is haunted by paranoid that a mysterious woman is stalking her with evil intentions. A suppressed deadly memory is about to rise to the surface… (PARK Sungho)

October 4h (Friday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 13:30 pm
October 5th (Saturday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 10:00 am
October 11th (Friday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 20:00 pm




No. 7 Cherry Lane

No. 7 Cherry Lane by Yonfan – Hong Kong | 2019 – 126 minutes

Hong Kong in the 1960s. Mrs. Yu lives at No. 7 Cherry Lane with her mysteriously charming teenage daughter Meiling. When Ziming, a university student, becomes an English tutor to Meiling, a special bond begins to form between the two women and Ziming. Upon meeting Ziming, Mrs. Yu, an intellectual who once fought for social change, recalls her youthful passion for literature. One day, she goes to a movie theater with Ziming, and the two experience a magical moment that sparks their forbidden desire. Portraying a dangerous relationship between a mother, daughter, and a university student that crosses the boundary of hidden desires and love, this sensuous story unfolds on the screen with beautiful images and music. The first animated film directed by Yonfan, No. 7 Cherry Lane stars a cast of Silvia CHANG and Zhao Wei, whose voices create an even more captivating atmosphere. Winner of Best Screenplay Award at Venice Film Festival In Competition. (CHAE Bohyun)

October 4th (Friday) | Sohyang Theater Centum City | 19:30 pm
October 5th (Saturday) | Lotte Cinema Daeyoung 3 | 16:30 pm
October 11th (Friday) | CGV Centum City Starium | 19:00 pm




Over the Sea

Over the Sea by Sun Aoqian – China | 2019 – 105 minutes

Eleven-year-old Xiaojie is a troublemaker who loves the sea. He lives with his uncle and his angelic daughter, who run a restaurant together. One day, Xiaojie has to prepare for a presentation on the sea for school. He desperately needs an encyclopedia, but financial difficulties at home prevent his wish from coming true. The situation at home gets worse after his uncle gets hurt in a car accident. His uncle and the villagers try to lead Xiaojie, who witnesses the car accident, to make a false statement for the settlement money. When he refuses, his cousin asks him to make a false testimony, promising to buy him an encyclopedia on marine life. However, when Xiaojie heads to the police station to make a statement, he learns a shocking secret about his parents. In the frustrating world of adults, Xiaojie chooses to do the only thing he can do. Over the Sea is a poignant film that evokes empathy and compassion by providing a look into the deep-seated wounds and thoughts of a boy who seems bright and carefree on the outside, through his unique world view that drifts between reality and fantasy. An outstanding performance of the young actor who plays the role of Xiaojie makes it difficult for the viewers to tear their eyes away from the screen until the very end. (CHAE Bohyun)

October 4th (Friday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 13:30 pm
October 6th (Sunday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 12:30 pm
October 11th (Friday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 16:00 pm




Parasite by Bong Joon Ho – Korea | 2019 – 132 minutes

Parasite, which won the Palme d’Or at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival, is director BONG Joon ho’s seventh feature film. In this movie, Director BONG Joon ho, who has promoted genre customs in his own language, highlights the class problems that have not been seen clearly before. The family members of Kiwoo (CHOI Woosik), living in a semi-basement house, are all out of jobs. One day, Kiwoo gets a high-priced private tutoring position for the son of CEO Park (LEE Sunkyun) of an IT company through the introduction of a friend. Starting with it, Kiwoo’s whole family begins to infiltrate the rich family, living like a parasite. The film, which represents a family tragicomedy, creates a unique rhythm by combining comedy and thriller at crossings. Among the universal narratives, Korean details are carefully inserted into the class conflict, which is shaped by a vertical structure. It is the final version of “BONG Joon ho’s Genre,” which was created after a mix of family dramas, thrillers, comedies and horror stories, the unique emotions of Korean society, and a sense of problems reading the times. (Song Kyungwon)

October 4th (Friday) | CGV Centum City Starium | 19:30 pm
October 7th (Monday) | Busan Cinema Center BIFF Theater | 20:00 pm
October 9th (Wednesday) | CGV Centum City 7 | 19:30 pm





Rom by Tran Thang Huy – Vietnam | 2019 – 79 minutes

The debut film by TRAN THANH Huy took seven years to be furnished depicting the world of desire on the back streets of buzzing metropolitan Saigon. Rom tries to raise money to find out where his parents are, who abandoned him when he was a child. His profession is a middle man to pick numbers to buy lottery tickets for his clients. While he has to prevent other competitors from entering his territories of business, he tries various unscientific and superstitious methods to figure out the lucky numbers. When his clients win on the illegal lottery, he gets some commission, but he has to hide away when they lose. As the complex slums with their own order are destined to be demolished due to urban redevelopment plans, the peasants push their luck for the last jackpot. The brutal desire inevitably invites violence that is exploded at the urban chasing scene later in the film. The energetic color and composition is the viewing point. (PARK Sungho)

October 4th (Friday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:00 pm
October 9th (Wednesday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 7 | 17:00 pm
October 10th (Thursday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 6 | 13:00 pm



Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Afternoon by Mostofa Sarwar Farooki – Bangladesh, Germany | 2019 – 86 minutes

The director Mostofa Sarwar FAROOKI, has been exploring social justice and fairness through his films including Television, the closing film at Busan International Film Festival in 2012. His seventh feature is filmed in one shot without editing, depicting a terrorist incident on a calm weekend. On a nice Saturday afternoon during Ramadan, citizens enjoy sleepy day time. Suddenly, a group of terrorists takes over a cafe in the city holding hostages of employees and customers. The police soon surround the building and demand negotiation and surrenders, the terrorists fortify the cafe with gas cylinders continuing their unfair tribunal. Foreigners, the disabled, women, businessmen, artists, non-Muslims, and even Muslims with different sect are subject to brutal hostility. The media streaming live news to attract more viewers doesn’t care for the safety of the hostages. Each time a hostage is executed one by one, the nightmare of violence is amplified. (PARK Sungho)

October 7th (Monday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 10:00 am
October 8th (Tuesday) | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 14:00 pm
October 10th (Thursday) | MEGABOX Jangsan Haeundae 1 | 14:00 pm



This article is split into 4 parts to see the other parts go here: PART 1PART 2PART 4
You may also be interest in knowing the 10 documentaries we selected for the Busan. To see the article please go here: Busan Docs 2019.

For more information about the programme please visit the official website of the festival: Busan International Film Festival

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