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22 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 26th Busan International Film Festival (Part 1)

These are twenty-two films you shouldn’t miss at the 26th Busan International Film Festival which will take place from October 6th – 15th, 2021 in Busan, Korea.

– Selected Films –

A Bit Different by Lee Woodong – Korea | 2021 – 61 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

In the darkness of night, a man and a woman walk in an alley sharing a cigarette. They are detectives working together. Their story is complicated: They are about to make up a scene where they arrest a criminal whom they have already caught. In fact, this time with the help of TV crews, with whom they had a secret agreement, they are about to restage the event and act as if they are arresting the criminal for the first time. Things go awry, however. The film fills with tension by witfully portraying various episodes in a few limited areas such as a couple of alleys and shabby buildings. It carries distinct sense of genre and attracts audience into the night of mystery. (JUNG Hanseok – BIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | CGV Centum City 4 | 20:00 pm
October 10th, 2021 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 19:30 pm
October 11th, 2021 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 16:00 pm
October 13th, 2021 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 14:00 pm

Trailer:

A New Old Play by Qiu Jiongjiong – Hong Kong, China, France | 2021 – 179 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

Qiu Fu, a leading actor in Sichuan opera who began his stage career at age seven and has been an actor for over 40 years, dies and meets two underworld officials. He refuses to drink the liquor of oblivion, so until he departs for the underworld, the officials and his long-time friends stay with him and reminisce about the past. Amidst the tumultuous history of modern China, from the time of the Kuomintang government in the 1920s to the Sino-Japanese War, the civil war between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party, and the Great Famine and the Cultural Revolution, Qiu Fu’s life is shown in several acts of a play. Short captions about the historical background and the theater troupe’s situation are followed by very theatrical moments of Qiu Fu′s past. The painstakingly designed stage sets and the amazing use of cameras that make a play look like a film and a film like a play are what make A New Old Play one of the most unique and fantastic films of the year. (PARK Sun Young – BIFF 2021)

* This movie received the Jury Prize at Locarno International Film Festival*

Screening Dates:
October 7th, 2021 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 15:30 pm
October 8th, 2021 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 10 | 15:00 pm
October 13th, 2021 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 9 | 13:00 pm

Trailer:

Are you lonesome tonight? by Wen Shipei – China | 2021 – 95 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

On his way to a date with his girlfriend, air conditioner repairman Wang Xueming hits a man lying on the street with his car and flees. He returns to the site of the accident to confirm that the man is dead and dispose of the body, but overcome with guilt he tries to surrender himself to the police to no avail. After running into Mrs. Liang, a mysterious woman who is searching for her missing husband, Wang Xueming lingers around her. The agonized and melancholy Wang Xueming, the dark and reddish lighting and colors, and the ever-changing camera movements go well with Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” proving that noir is a style. Director Wen Shipei′s debut film Are You Lonesome Tonight? was produced by Ning Hao’s Dirty Monkeys, and popular Taiwanese actors Feng Yuyan and Sylvia Chang give charming performances as the main characters. (PARK Sun Young – BIFF 2021)

* This movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival In Special Screening*

Screening Dates:
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | CGV Centum City 1 | 16:30 pm
October 10th, 2021 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 9:00 am
October 14th, 2021 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center Haneulyeon Theater | 19:00 pm

Trailer:

Drive my Car by Hamaguchi Ryusuke – Japan | 2021 – 179 minutes
Section: Gala Presentation

A film based on the short story of the same title by Murakami Haruki from his short story collection Men Without Women. Hamaguchi takes the crux of the story, portraying a protagonist who bottles up his darkness and loneliness in a corner of his heart, and adds an abundance of details in his own style. He takes a step closer to the secrets of the world through people speaking different languages putting together a play. The protagonist’s wife has a habit of making up stories while having sex. She turns one of them into a TV drama script and becomes a successful TV writer. One day, the protagonist learns about his wife’s affair, but before he has a chance to ask her why, she dies. Two years later, he is invited to a theater festival, where he brings together actors of different nationalities to perform Uncle Vanya. There, he finds an opportunity to dive deep into the abyss of his heart. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF 2021)

* This movie received the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes Film Festival *

Screening Dates:
October 7th, 2021 | Thursday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 9:00 am
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | CGV Centum City 6 | 9:30 am
October 10th, 2021 | Sunday | CGV Centum City 6 | 12:00 pm

Trailer:

Haruhara-san’s Recorder by Sugita Kyoshi – Japan | 2021 – 121 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

Perhaps we could call this a milder version of a Hong Sangsoo film. Haruhara-san’s Recorder lacks something that a drama should have. Rather than telling the protagonist’s story from start to finish, the film shows several situations that she experiences without context. The protagonist Sachi works part time at a café. She moves into a new apartment and talks to the previous tenant in one scene, which is followed by the scene of her encounters with the café’s patrons. One day, her aunt comes to visit, and without knowing that Sachi has a visitor, her uncle also comes to visit. Rather than explaining why the events are taking place, the camera captures various happenings taking place around Sachi. The audience eventually realizes that the film shows consideration, consolation, and affection for people. Inspired by a Japanese poem, this movie well befits the description of a “poetic film.” (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF 2021)

* This movie received the Grand Prize, Audience Award, Best Performance Award at FIDMarseille *

Screening Dates:
October 8th, 2021 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 18:30 pm
October 10th, 2021 | Sunday | Sohyang Theater Centum City | 10:30 am
October 12th, 2021 | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 9 | 16:30 pm

Trailer:

Hot in Day, Cold at Night by Park Songyeol – Korea | 2021 – 90 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

A young couple is having a hard time because of their poor circumstances. They are both desperately searching for work, but that is not easy, either. Meanwhile, the husband is about to lose the camera he has lent to his acquaintance, and the wife is cornered after borrowing private loans to take care of the household. Under the circumstances, something ugly will likely happen or come to a dead-end, but the film deals with this predicament with a completely unexpected attitude and wit. The couple’s conversation, facial expressions, movements, and postures, as well as the illumination and density of the screen that captures them, simultaneously create bizarre humor and lonesome emotions, absorbing the audience. Hot in Day, Cold at Night is a rare moral comedy that comforts the daily lives of poverty with a strange touch of laughter. In the last scene, the husband’s helpless giving up finally moves us. (JUNG Hanseok – BIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
October 10th, 2021 | Sunday | CGV Centum City 4 | 16:30 pm
October 11th, 2021 | Monday | CGV Centum City 7 | 16:30 pm
October 12th, 2021 | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 13:00 pm
October 14th, 2021 | Thursday | CGV Centum City 7 | 17:30 pm

Trailer:

In Front of Your Face by Hong Sangsoo – Korea | 2021 – 86 minutes
Section: Icons

Sangok (Lee Hyeyoung), who left for the U.S. long ago, has returned to Korea and is staying with her sister. Hong′s film doesn′t elaborate on the years Sangok has spent away from Korean, but rather, follows her in her everyday life, examining the obstacles she faces and the layers of emotions she expresses through her speech and gestures. From time to time, an earnest monologue washes over her face a kind of prayer to repress solitude and sadness and to reconnect with the splendor of life. Her voice is the film′s main focus, as the title suggests, ′in front of you face.′ The film breathes with the will to fully face and protect a specific and immediate place. Actress Lee Hyeyoung, who makes her first appearance in a Hong Sangsoo film here, brings her will to life on the screen with her amazing physical energy. The film was invited to the Cannes Premier at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. (NAM Daeun – BIFF 2021)

* This movie was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes Premiere *

Screening Dates:
October 7th, 2021 | Thursday | CGV Centum City 3 | 13:00 pm
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 19:00 pm
October 13th, 2021 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 4 | 18:30 pm

Trailer:

Memoria by Apichatpong Weerasethakul – Colombia, Taiwan, France, Germany, Mexico, Qatar – 2021 – 136 minutes – Section: Icons

Jessica suffers from insomnia after hearing a loud noise. The mysterious noise, as when metal collides with concrete at high speed, seems to be heard only by her. She visits a sound engineer to reproduce it, and eventually befriends an archaeologist, who studies the remains found in a tunnel under construction. Perplexed by her experience, Jessica visits a doctor who is unable diagnose her symptoms. The secrets, however, seem to be unfolding when she encounters a man who remembers everything. Master filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul unravels the story of coexistents who are clearly with us, but are invisible to the eye. We also leave traces among them. The familiar places—e.g., houses, hospitals, shops, forests and pathways—can be easily overlooked. However, they co-exist with attractive truths that are hidden either intentionally or not. The screams coming out of the audio and video will remain among us for a long time after the ending credit. (PARK Sungho – BIFF 2021)

* This movie received the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival *

Screening Dates:
October 12th, 2021 | Tuesday | Sohyang Theater Centum City | 16:00 pm
October 13th, 2021 | Wednesday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 16:00 pm
October 14th, 2021 | Thursday | CGV Centum City 6 | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

Missing by Katayama Shinzo – Japan, Korea | 201 – 124 minutes
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

The second film by Katayama Shinzo, who served as an assistant director for Bong Joon Ho in Tokyo! (2008) and Mother (2009), Missing is a thriller that carries a heavy resonance. After his business fails, the father, who used to run a ping pong club, lives in poverty. One day, saying that he saw a wanted serial killer and that he’s going to catch him for a bounty, he disappears. His daughter, a high school student, searches for him day and night, eventually finding a man who has her father’s name and works at her father’s previous workplace. Realizing that the man is the serial killer, she begins to follow him to find her father. Missing is a thriller with a shocking twist, but rather than focusing on the technical twist, it explores human nature. Using the delicate grammar of the thriller genre, his impressive film shows people’s hidden sides that cannot be divided into the duality of good and evil. (NAM Dong-chul – BIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
October 8th, 2021 | Friday | Sohyang Theater Centum City | 14:00 pm
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | CGV Centum City 7 | 9:00 am
October 11th, 2021 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 12:00 pm

Trailer:

Nobody’s Lover by Han In-mi – Korea | 2021 – 137 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

Eighteen-year-old Yujin is leading a harsh life in many ways. Nothing seems to be smooth for her, including family relationships, family circumstances, or even friendship. Yujin is like a desert island, away from the world. However, Yujin finds herself falling in love, but then discovers she is part of a love triangle. She has feelings for a college student older than her, but at the same time, a young man with whom she works part time falls in love with Yujin. Yujin′s feelings come and go between the two men. She has amazing versatility, is sometimes naïve, but sometimes bold and clever. Thanks to the director′s outstanding emotional directing and the actors′ focused performances, the film skillfully presents some serious events and drives to emotional upsurges. Delicate lines also add a part to heighten the emotions. Nobody′s Lover is as multifaceted as Yujin. The film is cruel, affectionate, attentive, and bold. (JUNG Hanseok – BIFF 2021)

Screening Dates:
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | CGV Centum City 4 | 13:00 pm
October 10th, 2021 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 9:30 am
October 12th, 2021 | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 15:30 pm
October 13th, 2021 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 16:30 pm

Trailer:

On the Job: The Missing 8 by Erik Matti – Philippines | 2021 – 209 minutes
Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

Justice is nowhere to be found when the world is overwhelmed by corruption and violence. The talented director from the Philippines, Erik Matti, has created a chronicle of the experiences of a people whose lives intersect. There is a journalist named Sisoy who has to endure adversity to survive in a wild jungle of a city. Following the disappearance of his longtime colleague and his family, Sisoy sets out to investigate what has happened. Meanwhile, Roman is sentenced to life in prison for crimes he didn′t commit. He languishes in prison, where he is regularly hired as an assassin. He is willing to use any means to escape. In the midst of an overflowing chaos with corrupt bureaucrats and false news items, Sisoy persistently pursues the truth behind where the eight missing people have ended up. The closer he gets to the truth, the more he feels betrayed and angry with the politicians he used to support. And as he becomes Roman′s next target, the two men cannot avoid a deadly collision. (PARK Sungho – BIFF 2021)

* This movie received the Best Actor Award at Venice International Film Festival in Competition *

Screening Dates:
October 9th, 2021 | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 13:00 pm
October 11th, 2021 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 8 | 15:30 pm
October 14th, 2021 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 14:30 pm

Trailer:

For more information please visit: https://www.biff.kr/eng

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