20 Asian films you shouldn’t miss at the 25th Busan International Film Festival (Part 2)

We continue with our list of Asian films you shouldn’t miss at the 25th Busan International Film Festival which will take place from October 21st – 30th (2020) 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.

Selected Films:

Living in the Sky by Aoyama Shinji – Japan | 2020 – 118 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | International Premiere

After losing her parents in an accident, Naomi, an editor at a small publishing house, moves into a luxury apartment thanks to her uncle. She starts a new life with her cat Haru in a home overlooking Tokyo. One day, she runs into Morinori Tokito, a famous actor. From Morinori who lives as an “image” on billboards to Naomi who lives on the 39th floor with her unpacked possessions and Asuko, Naomi’s aunt and a former flight attendant, the characters in Living in the Sky share the experience of living ungrounded. The film contains similar and contrasting metaphors of: publishing and meaning, high rises and one-story buildings, death and birth, acting and reality, and lies and truth. (Choi Eun)


Love After Love by Ann Hui – China | 2020 – 144 minutes
Section: Gala Presentation

Hong Kong in the 1920s. Weilong′s family found asylum in Hong Kong due to rumors of war, leaves back for Shanghai. To continue studying in Hong Kong, Weilong visits her father’s estranged rich sister Liang. Liang lives a bourgeois life as a queen of Hong Kong’s society circles notoriously having affairs with lots of men, and she tries to take control of Weilong′s life. Weilong runs into a playboy George, one of Liang’s boyfriends, falling in emotional turbulence. The conflicts around them are getting out of control. Master filmmaker Ann Hui’s latest film delicately depicts the helplessness and sadness of the youth who cannot control their lives and loves in 1920s Hong Kong when the political unrest and sense of war were overwhelming. The director won the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Film Festival. (Park Sun Young)


Mishima: The Last Debate by Toyoshima Keisuke – Japan | 2020 – 108 minutes
Section: Documentary Competition | International Premiere

On May 13, 1969, 1,000 students from Tokyo University await Yukio Mishima. The air in the auditorium is taut with tension. The invitation inciting students belonging to radical movements by the right-wing nationalist writer Mishima was a challenge for a revolution. At that time, the students were unaware that Mishima’s private army had infiltrated the auditorium in case of assassination attempts by extremists. It was the “political season,” and the debate between them was talked about for a long time as the peak of that fierce period. Mishima: The Last Debate is a piece restored and reconstructed from TBS’s film footage found 50 years after the fact. It is rare to see such a confrontation between two bodies that, despite extreme differences, do not lose respect for each other. (Kang Sowon)


My Missing Valentine by Chen Yu-Hsun – Taiwan | 2020 – 120 minutes
Section: Open Cinema | International Premiere

Xiao Chi wakes up in the morning and realizes that her long awaited Valentine’s Day has already passed. She goes to the police to file a report, but there is no way to get her lost day back. My Missing Valentine is a story about Xiao Chi, who is always a step ahead and her first love who is always a step behind, finally meeting after 20 years apart. Combining reality and fantasy and free-flowing time, this lovely romantic comedy is brought to life through rookie actor Patty Lee’s charming performance. A project of the 2001 Busan International Film Festival Asia Project Market (APM, formerly Pusan Promotion Plan), Chen Yu-Hsun returns to Busan after a 19 year hiatus with a great gift for the Open Cinema audience. (Park Sun Young)


Ora, ora be goin alone by Okita Shuichi – Japan | 2020 – 137 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | World Premiere

75-year-old Momoko lives alone on the outskirts of Tokyo. She has built a family and lived happily for 55 years since coming to Tokyo at age 20 to avoid an arranged marriage. Her plans for peaceful twilight years with her husband were thwarted due to his sudden death. But since then she found three companions. Momoko regains the energy to continue her journey through life in the past and present along with memories and reality that intertwine. Ora, Ora Be Goin’ Alone is based on the novel of the same title written by Wakatake Chisako, which earned her the Akutagawa Prize at age 63. Okita Shuichi, who has consistently continue to delivered a message of calm and warm consolation that started with his debut film The Chef of South Polar to 「 Mori, The Artist’s, Habitat」portrays the life of an old woman with humor and care. Tanaka Yoko and Aoi Yu give a lovable performance in the lead role. (Park Sun Young)


Sister Sister by Kathy Uyen – Vietnam | 2019 – 104 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | International Premiere

Kim, who hosts a late-night radio talk show, is living a life that is seemingly remarkable. A wealthy father, a wonderful fiance to marry soon and a popular job. However, when she learns one listener is suffering from sexual violence from the landlord, she doesn’t hesitate to rescues her and to let her stay at her home. However, her fiancée and butler are very uncomfortable with the new guest from the beginning, and the negative feelings grow bigger and bigger over time. However, Kim does not care about this and treats her with sincerity, and gradually begins to feel special feelings. Director Kathy Uyen, more known as an actress, succeeded in capturing the hearts of both audiences and critics with a record box office profit of $3 million in Vietnam through her directorial debut film, Sister Sister. (Park Sungho)


Soirée by Sotoyama Bunji – Japan | 2019 – 111 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | International Premiere

Aspiring actor Shota visits a nursing home near his hometown to teach acting classes. There he meets Takara, a young caregiver who has been working at the nursing home since leaving high school. One day, when Shota visits Takara at her house to ask her to come with him to a town festival, they become embroiled in an incident and end up fleeing the town together. Shota says, “God puts us through trials but always gives us a way out.” Shota and Takara have no choice except to run in search of a possible exit, but gradually they come to realize that they can save each other. Shota’s acting proves its worth. (Choi Eun)


The Salt in our waters by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit – Bangladesh, France | 2020 – 106 minutes – Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

A sculptor from the city comes to a secluded fishing village with a container carrying his precious works. This is a village of poor fishermen who live on a daily basis, where income is further reduced with increasing debt due to climate change. Villagers are very conservative, so he should refrain from drinking alcohol or even talking to the opposite sex in public places. However, the scenery along the sea is a new inspiration for his work. One day, the fishers could not catch any fish, then the authoritative village leader and others start to distrust him saying that the sculptor has brought misfortune. Then the fishermen who become more economically difficult are forced to go to work even in dangerous weather. This debut film melts art and values conflicts, climate change and leadership issues into an insightful drama. (Park Sungho)


True Mothers by Kawase Naomi – Japan | 2020 – 140 minutes
Section: Gala Presentation

A middle class couple living in Tokyo, Satoko and Kiyokazu lead a happy, peaceful life with their six-year-old son Asato. However, their life begins to falter when they receive a phone call from Hikari, a woman who claims to be Asato’s biological mother. True Mothers weaves social issues of teenage sex, youth problems, single mothers, and adoptive families into the lives of Satoko and Hikari, and persistently brings them to the fore with a keen yet warm gaze. The extreme difficulty of “becoming a true mother” as shown by Asato’s and Hikari’s mothers demonstrates that motherhood is not up to just one person. A film directed by Kawase Naomi, a filmmaker beloved by Cannes, True Mothers was selected for the 2020 Cannes. (Park Sun Young)


Where is Pinki by Prithvi Konanur – India | 2020 – 108 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema | Word Premiere

When Bindu returns home on her way to work to retrieve something she’d forgotten, her eight-month-old daughter Pinki and the nanny Sannamma are missing, and her house is full of smoke. Frantically Bindu spends the whole day looking for Pinki, and in fact Sannamma does the same, after having lent the baby to her friend Anasu who uses the baby to beg for money in the streets. This film, which begins with a missing baby, calmly and faithfully captures the stories of women who have to deal with the contradictions in life, from those who search for the baby to those who steal the baby and those who are suspected of stealing the baby. And each woman’s choices will determine the fate of the smallest and the youngest woman in the film, Pinki. (Choi Eun)


To see the 1st part of this article please go HERE:

This year we are recommending 12 Shorts, 20 Asian and 20 Korea films for you to watch at the Busan 2020. Please visit our special section to know about our recommendations:

For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the festival’s website here:

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