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30 Films you shouldn’t miss at the 27th Busan International Film Festival (Part 1)

These are thirty films you shouldn’t miss at the Busan International Film Festival which will take place from October 5 – 14, 2022.

20th Century Girl by Bang Woo-ri – Korea | 2022 – 119 minutes
Section: Special Premiere | World Premiere

Yeondu (Noh Yoon-seo) asks her best friend Bora (Kim You-jung) to collect all the information she can about Baek Hyunjin (Park Jung-woo) while she is away in the U.S. for heart surgery. Bora decides to get close to Baek’s best friend, Pung Woonho (Byeon Woo-seok) first. However, Bora′s clumsy plan unfolds in an unexpected direction. In 1999, a year before the new century, Bora, who turns seventeen, falls into the fever of first love. Director Bang Woo-ri′s 20th Century Girl is about both the joys and the sorrows of puppy love. 20th Century Girl conveys a warmth toward its characters that imbues a feeling of nostalgia for the twentieth century and an optimism for what will come in the twenty-first century. (JUNG Hanseok)

Screening:
October 6, 2022 | Thursday | CGV Centum City 2 | 19:30 pm
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Haneulyeon Theater | 20:00 pm
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | Busan Cinema Center Haneulyeon Theater | 11:30 am

Trailer:

A Place Called Silence by Sam Quah – Malaysia | 2022 – 104 minutes
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

Three students from Jing Mu Girls’ Middle School go missing and turn up dead. Xiao Tong, a special education student with speech impairment, feels like someone is watching her. During the rehearsal for the school’s foundation day event, a corpse falls from the ceiling of the auditorium, and Xiao Tong disappears in the midst of confusion. Her mother, Li Han, who has been working at the school to be close to Xiao Tong, begins her pursuit. Director Sam Quah artfully reveals the elements of the crimes and the individual behind them through an elaborate plot and fast-paced development. Violent images of the past interrupt and interfere with the strong visual images of the present. It is a masterpiece where the bold and delicate directing of Sam Quah stands out. (PARK Sun Young)

Screening:
October 8, 2022 | Saturday | Busan Cinema Center Cinematheque | 17:00 pm
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 9:30 am
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 19:30 pm

Trailer:

A Table for Two by Kim Boram – Korea | 2022 – 89 minutes
Section: Documentary Competition | World Premiere

The second feature by Kim Boram, following her 2017 film, For Vagina’s Sake, A Table for Two delves into the roots of the relationship between a daughter suffering from an eating disorder and a helpless mother. In 2007, fifteen-year-old Chaeyoung is diagnosed with anorexia and committed to a mental hospital. Feeling guilty, her mother, Sangok, tries to trace the source of her daughter’s illness but there is no way to know. Ten years later, the mother and daughter begin a conversation. Relying on Chaeyoung’s diary, drawings, and voice-over, the film explores the history of conflict and pain in mother-daughter relationships through three generations: grandmother, mother, and daughter. The film is surprising for two reasons: it shows us the secret and complex inner side of humans that cannot be captured on camera, and the perfectly transparent camera has successfully succeeded in infiltrating the intimate time of a mother and daughter. It is an extraordinary and outstanding feminist film. (KANG Sowon)

Screening:
October 8, 2022 | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 10:30 am
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | CGV Centum City 2 | 16:00 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 8 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

A Wing and a Prayer by Lee Kwangkuk – Korea | 2022 – 101 minutes
Section: Jiseok – World Premiere

Seolhee (Yeo Seolhee) and Hwajeong (Woo Hwajeong) make an impromptu trip to the East Sea while waiting to hear the results of their recent job interviews. The purpose of the trip is to make a wish while watching the sunrise, but nothing happens as they hope. The two argue during the trip and have an accidental meeting while going their separate ways. For audiences who have watched director Lee Kwangkuk′s previous work, A Wing and a Prayer may seem confusing at first. The film does not feature a particularly innovative story structure or strange coincidences that reveal the workings of everyday life. However, during the trip, minor coincidences intervene to unravel the true hearts of the two friends coolly and shake the narrative quietly. The unique senses of humor and wits energize the story that unfolds without a hitch. It is an attractive film that neatly intersects the stories of the two friends and creates a strong cohesion between the stories. (HONG Eunmi)

Screening:
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 16:30 pm
October 11, 2022 | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 16:30 pm
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 19:30 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 14:30 pm

Trailer:

Ajoomma by He Shuming – Singapore, Korea | 2022 – 90 minutes
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

A Singaporean auntie (“ajoomma” in Korean language) lives alone with her estranged son. Her only pleasure in life is to watch Korean TV series, clumsily imitating the dialogues. She and her son book a tour in Korea for holidays, but the son excuses himself for a job interview to cancel the trip. The auntie, who has never traveled abroad alone, musters up her courage – perhaps encouraged to do so by the hefty cancellation fee – to travel to Korea. Deluded by her dreams of a Korea like that shown in television dramas, the woman finds herself surprised if not shocked. Her journey begins to take a turn for the worse from the beginning: she finds herself lost, then involved in a violent incident. Will she be able to (re)discover her new self? The debut feature of He Shuming, one of the most prominent directors from Singapore, is supported by multiple organizations including KOFIC and Seoul Film Commission. Veteran actress Hong Huifang plays the lead. Korean superstars Jung Dong-hwan, Kang Hyung Suk, and Yeo Jin-goo round out the cast of this heart-warming drama about middle-aged woman’s coming of age. (PARK Sungho)

Screening:
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 19:30 pm
October 8, 2022 | Saturday | Busan Cinema Center Cinematheque | 14:00 pm
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | CGV Centum City 7 | 21:00 pm

Trailer:

Anchor by Jeong Ji-yeon – Korea | 2022 – 112 minutes
Section: Panorama

Director Jeong Ji-yeon’s debut feature, Anchor, is a fine psycho thriller and social drama that presents the portrait of our society. Se-ra (Chun Woo-hee) is a famous anchor on a broadcasting system. Right before her show goes live, she receives a phone call from an unknown female informing she and her daughter are threatened to be killed. Se-ra ignores it at first thinking it is a prank. However, when it happens, she realizes it is real and visits the crime scene to have an exclusive cover story. Every step she makes, she is under the shadow of her mother So-jeong (Lee Hye-young) who is highhanded and success-driven. The film follows Se-ra as she tries to find the truth of the mom and daughter murder case yet focuses on her trauma lying deep inside her. It delivers intense suspense that is developed with the danger women are exposed to, obsession with success, and the shadow of parents. By doing so, it shows the nature of pain in a sharp and wise manner. (SONG Kyung-won)

Screening:
October 6, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 17:00 pm
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 16:00 pm
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | KOFIC Theater | 10:30 am

Trailer:

Arnold is a Model Student by Sorayos Prapapan – Thailand, Singapore, France, Netherlands, Philippines | 2022 – 87 minutes – Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

A new semester begins at Sawasdee High School. Arnold wins a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad and becomes the school’s model student, favored by the school principal. Arnold has as his primary goal the desire to enter a reputable university (a goal shared by the school), but he begins to struggle when a dark temptation emerges. Meanwhile, an incident of violent punishment at the school is shared on social media causing outrage among students. Sorayos Prapapan, an alumni of BIFF Asian Film Academy, has been internationally promoted through his short films satirizing Thai society. His debut feature elegantly reveals his typical sarcastic yet humorous style. The actual ‘bad student’ movement against the Thai authoritative school system was taking place during the production of this feature, and enriched the texture of the film even more. The film depicts a story specific to Thailand today, but the look and feel of the film are universal. (BOO Kyunghwan)

Screening:
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 9:00 am
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 19:30 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 9 | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

Autobiography by Makbul Mubarak – Indonesia, France, Singapore, Philippines, Germany, Qatar | 2022 – 115 minutes – Section: A Window on Asian Cinema

A charismatic retired military general returns to his hometown to run for an election. Rikib, a young man, succeeds in his father’s career assisting the retired general. The veteran treats Rikab as if he were his own son, giving life lessons earned by experiences. That is all about the cold and cruel reality of the world by the law of the jungle and the fear of power. One day, he finds an election poster with his face damaged, and gets furious. Rikib tries to find the offender, but this leads to an irreversible catastrophe. Director Makbul Mubarak was born in Indonesia and graduated from Korea National University of Arts. An alumnus of BIFF Asian Film Academy and Torino Film Lab, Mubarak has made a stunning debut feature. Autobiography is skillfully directed by the young director, and the two main actors give flawless performances. Although it is the Post-Suharto era in Indonesia today, the hanging echoes of violence in the absurd society and the chains of personal ironies are still entangled giving a long lingering impression and thoughts. (BOO Kyunghwan)

Screening:
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 12:30 pm
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 7 | 16:00 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 9 | 14:00 pm

Trailer:

Big Sleep by Kim Taehoon – Korea | 2022 – 112 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

On a winter morning on the way to work, Kiyoung finds Gilho sleeping on the wooden bench in front of his house. Gilho is a teenager who has run away from home because he can no longer face the domestic violence he suffers there. Kiyoung, who seems tough but has a tender heart, lets Gilho stay in his house for a few days and Gilho comes to trust Kiyoung. It seems that Kiyoung must have recognized his own dark past in Gilho. However, as Gilho′s friends visit, conflicts happen between Kiyoung and Gilho. Big Sleep is a film for grown-ups: It is about characters who seek salvation and healing in daily life. This story of a loser taking care of someone weaker than he is both touching and compelling. The two leading actors delicately pull off the high and low levels of emotions thoughtfully designed by the director. Big Sleep desperately grabs the drama of care and new life. (JUNG Hanseok)

Screening:
October 8, 2022 | Saturday | KOFIC Theater | 13:00 pm
October 10, 2022 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 5 | 19:00 pm
October 11, 2022 | Tuesday | CGV Centum City Starium | 19:30 pm
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

Blue Again by Thapanee Loosuwan – Thailand | 2022 – 190 minutes
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

Ay is a mixed race child of a Thai mother and a white man. As she is much taller than others and has brown hair instead of black, she looks distinguished by appearance. She majors in fashion in Bangkok to contribute to the family business of indigo dyeing in her hometown. Toughing out her seniors’ bullying and classmates’ jealousy, she tries to focus on herself. On the other hand, her best friend at school tries to get along with anyone. Ay comes back to her hometown to study dyeing, but the colors fade no matter what she tries. In the meantime, she finds out that her childhood best friend is having conflicts with her family because of to religious issues. Ay finds answers to what is needed for life and art through experiences and relationships with others, especially her two close friends. Blue Again, the directorial debut of Thapanee Loosuwan, unfolds an extraordinary chronicle of growth from childhood to young adulthood. (PARK Sungho)

Screening:
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 11:30 am
October 10, 2022 | Monday | Busan Cinema Center Cinematheque | 18:30 pm
October 11, 2022 | Tuesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 12:30 pm

Trailer:

December by Anshul Chauhan – Japan | 2022 – 99 minutes
Section: Jiseok |World Premiere

Seven years ago, a high school student was killed by a friend. The parents of the dead girl are now divorced, and the father drowns his anger and sorrow in alcohol. Then one day, the daughter’s murderer files a suit to have her sentence reduced. The father convinces his ex-wife that their daughter’s murderer should not be freed, and the two confront the murderer in court. December is a story about a family that falls apart after the death of a daughter, and then, in times of crisis, comes back together. As the parents confront the murderer and hear her out, the film shows us these same characters moving toward forgiveness and redemption. Director Anshul Chauhan once again raises a serious question about redemption, following his previous film Kontora (2019). Shogen, the star of Gensan Punch which won the Kim Jiseok Award in 2021, gives an impressive performance as the father. (NAM Dong-chul)

Screening:
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 2 | 16:30 pm
October 8, 2022 | Saturday | Lotte Cinema Center City 4 | 15:00 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Center City 6 | 14:30 pm

Trailer:

Dream Palace by Ka Sungmoon – Korea | 2022 – 112 minutes
Section: Panorama | World Premiere

Dream Palace depicts the conflict between people who hold onto an apartment building. Hyejung (Kim Sunyoung) has lost her husband in an industrial accident and adds the settlement money to move into the new apartment called Dream Palace. She belatedly learns that the apartments are in an unsold state and have defects, but the residents who are worried that housing prices will fall try to silence Hyejung, who is protesting. Hyejung, who left the labor protest site in compromise with reality, has no choice but to start another protest to protect the apartment she bought at the cost of her husband′s life. The film does not level an attack against mass selfishness, insufficient safety policies, or widespread system failures. Instead, it persuasively describes the harshness of society that does not allow small acts of selfishness to live happily. It is a solid and deep social drama that makes us reach the essence of the problem when we follow the tangled thread from where it went wrong. (SONG Kyung-won)

Screening:
October 6, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 19:30 pm
October 7, 2022 | Friday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 4 | 16:00 pm
October 10, 2022 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 9 | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

Free Chol Soo Lee by Julie Ha, Eugene Yi – Korea, USA | 2022 – 86 minutes
Section: Documentary Showcase

In 1973, Chol Soo Lee was arrested as a suspect in a murder case in San Francisco’s Chinatown and sentenced to life in prison. It was the result of false testimonies by white witnesses who had difficulty telling Asian faces apart and the neglect of the investigators. When a Korean-American journalist who became skeptical about the case writes an article that raises questions about the investigation, a large-scale protest ensues, calling for the release of the innocent young immigrant. Free Chol Soo Lee is a documentary that presents in detail the life of Chol Soo Lee, who became a symbol of the Asian Civil Rights Movement, through various archive footage and interviews. Shedding light on the impact of the relief efforts of numerous people on Chol Soo Lee and the shadow that a decade of imprisonment cast on his life, this film makes Lee’s life palpable. (HONG Eunmi)

Screening:
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | CGV Centum City 7 | 16:00 pm
October 10, 2022 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 20:00 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 3 | 14:00 pm

Trailer:

Greenhouse by Lee Sol-hui – Korea | 2022 – 100 minutes
Section: Vision | World Premiere

The life of Moonjung, the main character of Greenhouse, is not happy. She suffers from a psychological disorder, her young son is locked up in a juvenile detention center, and since she has no home, she lives in a greenhouse. She sometimes sees a man, but she’s not sure if she really loves him. However, since she is nice and sincere, she works as a caregiver for an elderly couple and gets by in harsh conditions until a tragic event happens. After the incident, her life falls into a whirlwind, and the narrative speeds into confusion. Using the genre conventions cleverly in every major part, the fate of Moonjung, who has fallen into the trap of tragedy, unfolds as a skillful thriller of pain. (JUNG Hanseok)

Screening:
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | KOFIC Theater | 12:30 pm
October 10, 2022 | Monday | Lotte Cinema Center City 10 | 19:30 pm
October 11, 2022 | Tuesday | CGV Centum City 5 | 20:00 pm
October 12, 2022 | Wednesday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 6 | 17:00 pm

Trailer:

Hail to Hell by Lim Oh-jeong – Korea | 2022 – 109 minutes
Section: New Currents | World Premiere

Na-mi and Sun-woo, who have been suffering from bullying and school violence throughout their school days, attempt suicide while their classmates go on a school trip. The story makes us anticipate unbearable tragedies, but the story of Hail to Hell is somehow lively and unpredictable. After the silly yet ridiculous suicide failure, the two try to take revenge on Chae-rin, who bullied them most and now lives happily in Seoul. However, their plans go awry. Ridiculously, Chae-rin, the worst bully ever, has found religion and has turned into a genuinely good person. What should they do now? Hail to Hell is a fascinating adventure story and an ironic moral drama created by a storyteller who combines outlandish planning and imagination. (JUNG Hanseok)

Screening:
October 9, 2022 | Sunday | Busan Cinema Center Cinema 1 | 16:30 pm
October 11, 2022 | Tuesday | KOFIC Theater | 20:00 pm
October 13, 2022 | Thursday | Lotte Cinema Centum City 2 | 20:30 pm

Trailer:

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

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