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

We continue with our list of 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:

More than Family by Choi Ha-na – South Korea | 2020 – 110 minutes
Section: Panorama | World Premiere

Toil (Jeong Soo-jeong) tutors high school student Hohoon (Shin Jae-hui), but she soon falls in love with him and gets pregnant. The film unfolds a series of playful happenings when Toil embarks on a journey to find her birth father for the wedding, though she is living with her step-father. The role of Jeong is masterfully performed by Crystal from the K-pop idol group f(x) who does an impressive job of playing the lively character of Toil. The performance of other talented actors including Jang Hyejin, Choi Deokmoon and Kang Malgeum are also delightful. This film presents a warm, simple paradise for families. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 25th, 2020 (Sunday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 13:30 pm

Our Joyful Summer Days by Lee Yu-bin – South Korea | 2020 – 114 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

Chanhui and Seyeong, a couple in a long-term relationship, find themselves tiring of each other as life becomes difficult. Chanhui wanted to become a photographer, but is now a salesperson in a camera store. Meanwhile, Seyeong works in a nail salon, feeling a lack of hope for the future. One day, Chanhui realizes that a financially secure man with a steady job has been showing interest in Seyeong. Needless to say, Seyeong, enjoys his attention. Not to lose his girlfriend to that man, Chanhui plans a trip to reconnect with Seyeong and refresh their relationship. However, their journey seems to go nowhere. While traveling, they constantly express love, open up more, fight with each other, and gain intimacy. Our Joyful Summer Days is the second feature film made by Lee Yu-bin, best known for her debut film Shuttlecock. It is worth watching how the film elaborately and sensitively explores the complex emotional experiences of young couples. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 26th, 2020 (Monday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 10:30 am

Trailer:

Short Vacation by Kwon Min-pyo, Seo Hansol – South Korea | 2020 – 79 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

Four first-grade middle school students in the same class are members of a photography club. Before leaving for summer break, the teacher hands out an old-fashioned analog camera to each of them and asks them to take pictures with them as a summer assignment. The assignment topic is the “end of the world.” What does the end of the world mean? What on earth are they supposed to take pictures of? They all have different opinions on it, but as one of the girls suggests, they decide to take a subway to Sinchang Station, the last station on Seoul Metropolitan Subway Line 1. That is the end of the world for these girls. They doze off on the subway, stop for a while due to rain showers, and feel drawn to an unfamiliar world. Short Vacation is not a film about girls going on a picnic. It explores the unknown in life by following a short journey. It gives insight into trivial and banal things instead of having a dramatized plot. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 28th, 2020 (Wednesday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 14:00 pm

Trailer:

Snowball by Lee Woo-jung – South Korea | 2020 – 110 minutes
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

Gangi, Soyeong, and Aram are best friends who go to the same high school. Gangi appears relatively normal, compared to Soyeong who dreams of becoming a model, or Aram who is unique in her own special way. One day, they decide to run away from home. However, life does not go easy on them. What is more serious are the cracks in their relationship. After their failed attempt to run away, they return home and go back to school only to face more challenges. What had happened to Soyeong and Gangi later prompts Soyeong to intentionally leave Gangi out, and the bullying gets worse as time goes by. Aram also has a hard time along the way. Based on Lim Solah’s full-length novel of the same title, Snowball is the directorial debut of Lee Woo-jung who has been constantly making interesting short films. It elaborately captures the emotional sensitivity and turbulence of adolescence that cannot be easily defined. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 23rd, 2020 (Friday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

Speed of Happiness by Park Hyuckjee – South Korea | 2020 – 114 minutes
Section: Documentary Showcase | World Premiere

Many trekkers visit Oze, a wetland with breathtaking scenery. However, having a long and severe winter, the mountain lodges in Oze are only open from May to October. Vehicles are unable to pass through the wetlands; “botcah” (the traditional carriers manually transporting luggage), who carry packages of food and other materials on foot, are the only ones who can get to the lodges. Speed of Happiness sends respect to the botcah who have embodied values learned while walking every day and humbly accompany their daily lives. Walking along at the pace of each botcah, the film gazes at calluses, smiles, hardships, endurance, and hope. The solidity of their lives in Oze pounds our hearts and the taste of each season touches our skin. (Hong Eunmi)

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

The Man Standing Next by Woo Min-ho – South Korea | 2019 – 113 minutes
Section: Panorama

On October 26, 1979, Kim Gyu-pyeong (Lee Byung-hun), the head of KCIA, assassinated President Park (Lee Sung-min). The Man Standing Next reconstructs what happened 40 days before the assassination. Based on the non-fiction bestseller of the same name, The Man Standing Next is a psychological drama that delicately captures the portraits of people at the heart of power in modern Korean history. Director Woo Min-ho, who dissected the dark side of desire and power through Inside Men (2015) and Drug King (2017), adds various bold styles such as noir and thriller. It depicts the scrappy struggles among males who dissect human desires via modern Korean history. The heavy subject matters and the suspense blooming from trusted actors are the climaxes. (Song Kyung-won)

Screening Date:
October 24th, 2020 (Saturday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 9:30 am

Trailer:

The Woman Who Ran by Hong Sang-soo – South Korea | 2019 – 77 minutes
Section: Icons

The Woman Who Ran is about Gam-hee (Kim Min-hee), who never left her husband for five years. She visits two friends (Seo Young-hwa, Song Seon-mi) while her husband is away, and bumps into an old friend (Kim Sae-byuk) at a theater. Compared to other films directed by Hong Sang-soo, the narrative is concise, the composition simple, and the conversation filled with immediate reactions and concrete thoughts. However, private conversations and small gestures open to all things are more wonderful and active than before. It’s because similar words and gestures, along with Gam-hee, move between the characters in three separate meetings, creating and amplifying the new reactions. Rather than a variation of repetition, it seems to be a new wave of profound emotion of Hong Sang-soo film. (Hong Eunmi)

Screening Date:
October 22nd, 2020 (Thursday) | Busan Cinema Center Haneulyeon Theater | 20:00 pm

Trailer:

Three Sisters by Lee Seung-won – South Korea | 2020 – 115 minutes
Section: Panorama

Three sisters live in different ways, burying an unfortunate past into their hearts. Mi-yeon (Moon So-ri), a choir conductor , leads a wellrounded life as the spouse of a professor husband. Mi-ok (Jang Yoon-joo) is a reckless writer who lives immaturely, the eldest sister Hee-sook (Kim Sun-young) barely sustains her miserable life. They are now unhappy, stuck to the past with their own reasons. Three Sisters deals with extreme characters and stories that cross sadism and self-torture. The work mirrors director Lee Seungwon′s previous films Communication & Lies and Happy Bus Day in a less violent and flexible presentation. The eye-catching charm of Three Sisters resides in the chilling and powerful performances of the actresses playing the three sisters. (Hong Eunmi)

Screening Date:
October 21st, 2020 (Wednesday) | Busan Cinema Center Haneulyeon Theater | 20:00 pm

Trailer:

When a Hen Crows by Dabin – South Korea | 2020 – 70 minutes
Section: Documentary Competition | World Premiere

Dabin, a 27-year-old woman studying films, began calling herself a feminist three years ago. She goes out without makeup, checks hidden cameras when using public restrooms, thinks of domestic violence at the cries of a woman next door, participates in street rallies, and gets hurt by her family’s reaction to the feminist movement. When a Hen Crows is a private essay film exploring the gender identity of a woman in her twenties in Korea using the narration of the director’s diary, referring to herself as a third-person ‘woman.’ Scenes of a family moving show a sense of the home video. Rather than making a clear voice toward the world, the self-reflection and sincere gaze look into the subtle movements of internal emotions. (Kang Sowon)

Screening Date:
October 27th, 2020 (Tuesday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 14:00 pm

Trailer:

Young Adult Matters by Lee Hwan – South Korea | 2020 – 127 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

Lee Hwan, who made his directorial debut with controversial film Park Hwayoung, now takes a step forward to make his second feature film Young Adult Matters. This film is equally controversial and debatable as his previous film in drawing public attention and interest. Sejin, the archenemy of Park Hwa-young in the film Park Hwa-young has returned as the main protagonist in Young Adult Matters, also played by the same actor Lee Yumi as in its prequel. Wandering around the streets, Sejin, a pregnant teen, gets to know Juyeong (played by Ahn Hee-yeon – also known as Hani of the Korean girl group EXID) and reunites with Jaepil (played by the director himself) and Sinji. The four musketeers go through a series of misfortunes, bumping into masochistic/sadistic characters and experiencing the brutality and cruelty of the world. Nevertheless, their naivety and pureness to endure through the hardships of life will stir complex emotions that will question your judgment. (Jung Hanseok)

Screening Date:
October 24th, 2020 (Saturday) | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

To see the 1st part of this article please go HERE: https://asianfilmfestivals.com/2020/10/05/korean-films-shouldnt-miss-busan-international-film-festival-part1

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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