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20 Korean films you shouldn’t miss at the 25th Busan International Film Festival (Part 1)

These are twenty Korean 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:

And there was light by Kim Ji-seok – South Korea | 2020 – 109 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

A man determines to kill himself every day, but continues with his life because he forgets to end himself due to alcoholic dementia. A severely alcoholic woman is living her life under grief and helplessness. These two utter strangers run into each other and happen to sit down for a drink. Seemingly, for no particular reason, she exploits the man’s sparse memory and installs a false-memory of herself as a previous lover, which he surprisingly believes. The two then set off to finish their lives together. Though nothing seems to make sense, AND THERE WAS LIGHT brings the sense of realism and ignites our curiosity. The bizarre, gloomy, and ludicrous ambiance from the early parts of the film turn into a charming and soothing love story as they begin their journey. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 28th, 2020 (Wednesday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

Beasts clawing at straws by Kim Yong-hun – South Korea | 2020 – 108 minutes
Section: Panorama

The characters in BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS live in their own heaven and hell with a bag of money. ‘The money bag’ is not the property of pleasure or happiness after they snatch and intercept the money bag and fight. The money bag is dragged from place to place, bringing up the circumstances and stories of the characters. The money bag becomes an evil and a terrifying god, which plunge the people into deeper contradictions and despair. In the genre world of BEASTS CLAWING AT STRAWS, wet, scary, and interesting things happen. The film is based on a novel by Japanese writer Keisuke Sone and won the Special Jury Award at Tiger Competition in the 2019 International Film Festival Rotterdam. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 23rd, 2020 (Friday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 13:30 pm

Trailer:

Candlelight Revolution by Kim Eui-sung, Choo Chin-woo – South Korea | 2020 – 87 minutes – Section: Documentary Showcase | World Premiere

“What kind of person do you think former President Park Geunhye is?” Sohn Seokhee, a journalist, gives a clear and sharp answer that he “shares the common ideas that people in our country have.” That common idea has led millions to bring candles to the streets, correcting a thread of history that has gone awry, and gather a sense of hope among people. Candlelight Revolution portrays the voices of citizens from various generations, political figures of different parties, and the witnesses of an administration under improper influence. It is a documentary that identifies the genuine structure of politics and society by following how Park entered politics along with government records up until March 10. (Hong Eunmi)

Screening Date:
October 22nd, 2020 (Thursday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 10:30 am

Trailer:

Cicada by Lee Chungryoul – South Korea | 2020 – 122 minutes
Section: Panorama | World Premiere

CICADA is the feature film debut for director Lee Chungryoul who directed the documentary Old Partner (2009). The story revolves around a master of the traditional funeral play called Jindo Dasiraegi. One day, his daughter returns home years after she left, saddled with debt. Their relationship remains uneasy as she is still in agony over the death of her mother in total disregard of her father, as his heart and soul were dedicated to performing Dasiraegi. In dealing with the conflict and reconciliation, director Lee embeds dramatic scenes of the folk play into the film as he projects a unique aura on screen. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 23rd, 2020 (Friday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 10:00 am

Trailer:

Deliver us from Evil by Hong Won Chan – South Korea | 2020 – 108 minutes
Section: Panorama

Trace while being chased. In-nam (Hwang Jung Min), a former special agent and hitman now asks around the whereabouts of his daughter who disappeared in Thailand. Ray (Lee Jung Jae), whose brother was murdered by In-nam, follows him. Deliver Us from Evil is simple, but powerful. On the surface, it is a hard-boiled action chaser, but emotionally it is a melodrama with dense violence. There is nothing new in the stories and development. However, the film breathlessly draws audiences in through a tried-and-true storyline and familiar combinations. DP Hong Kyung-pyo′s high-quality filming and the actors′ captivating acting complete the catharsis of dense violence. It′s a hard-boiled chaser designed to give you the ultimate action pleasure of pursuing after an assassin. (Song Kyung-won)

Screening Date:
October 23rd, 2020 (Friday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

Empty Body by Kim Ui-seok – South Korea | 2020 – 90 minutes
Section: Panorama

One day, Hye-ra (Moon So-ri) loses her teenage son Young-in (Jang Yoo-sang) in a mysterious car accident. Hye-ra succeeds in reviving her son′s brain by combining it with AI. However, it becomes stranger as the AI pretends to be the real Young-in after completely destroying his existence. The new director, Kim Eui-seok, was noted for his ability as a persistent narrator of sharp and complicated incidents in his extraordinary debut film After My Death. In his second feature film Empty Body, he also strongly proves to be an excellent creator in the field of casting dense shots and scenes. The 50-minute broadcast version of the same name has nearly doubled with the addition of 40minutes to encapsulate its cinematic essence. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 29th, 2020 (Thursday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

Everglow by So Joonmoon – South Korea | 2020 – 95 minutes
Section: Panorama | World Premiere

Jeju is an enviable island to everyone, but we cannot forget the deep pain that exists. Over half a century ago, tens of thousands were slaughtered under the specter of ideology; only a few years ago, in April, so many students were buried in our hearts without arriving on this beautiful island. Everglow begins with the cute struggle of Kyung-hoon (Ji Hyun-woo), who visited Jeju to make a documentary about Jin-ok (Ko Doo-sim), a female diver. Kyunghoon’s work becomes a sincere mission for the souls buried in the deep sea and mountains. Despite the relaxed plot, the film imprints brilliant moments by showing Jin-ok and Kyung-hoon, who embrace their pain in a bitter and thoughtful manner. The film bravely captures these fine characters. (Hong Eunmi)

Screening Date:
October 25th, 2020 (Sunday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 10:30 am

Fighter by Jéro Yun – South Korea | 2020 – 103 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

Director Jéro Yun has made two documentaries and one feature film Beautiful Days introduced as the opening film of the Busan International Film Festival 2018. This year, he has both a feature film and a documentary selected for Vision and Wide Angle. Director Yun again utilizes a North Korean defector as the main character in FIGHTER. Jin-ah begins her life in South Korea by working as a cleaning lady at a boxing dojo (club), where she once again faces a life-changing moment. FIGHTER uses discretion in depicting the life of a defector, yet candidly captures the bleak reality she goes through. It reaches a harmony in reflecting a character with creative aesthetic attempts. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 27th, 2020 (Tuesday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

Good Person by Jung Wook – South Korea | 2020 – 101 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

After watching this film, the title Good Person does not seem to indicate an ethical being; rather, a question of what it is to be good and how it is made. A theft occurs in the class of Kyung-seok, who is known to be a benevolent teacher. Under the circumstances, Se-ik is accused of being the culprit, but desperately claims it is a false accusation. On that night, the daughter of Kyung-seok who came along to school with him goes missing; suddenly Seik reappears as though he is responsible. However, there awaits another turn of events that opens the question of which one of them is good and bad? Good Person throws this bewildering question through a well-structured storyline and a detailed portrayal of emotions. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 27th, 2020 (Tuesday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 17:30 pm

Trailer:

Limecrime by Lee Seunghwan, Yoo Jaewook – South Korea | 2020 – 81 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

During a high school music exam to assess the singing abilities of students, Songju shows off his rapping skills despite the blackboard in the background stating that pop and rap songs are not allowed. The teacher gives him an F on the test without saying anything. In the meantime, on one side of the classroom, Juyeon looks happy, watching Songju rap. He loves hip-hop as much as Songju does although these two come from completely different backgrounds. Songju is a troubled student living in a multi-house home in a less developed area while Juyeon is an exemplary student living in a fancy apartment in a rich village. Despite differences in grade, personality, and background, they decide to form a hip-hop duo called LIMECRIME. Based on the true stories of the co-directors, this film effectively mixes two different film genres: coming-of-age and music film. One thing for sure is that the scenes where LIMECIME raps are super exciting. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 29th, 2020 (Thursday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 17:30 pm

Trailer:

To see the 2nd part of this article please go HERE:  https://asianfilmfestivals.com/2020/10/06/korean-films-shouldnt-miss-busan-international-film-festival-part2/

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: https://asianfilmfestivals.com/busan-2020

For more information about the festival and the programme please visit the festival’s website here: https://www.biff.kr

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