The Busan Film Festival returns with new competition and celebrity guests.

The Busan Film Festival

Maru Kim
Maru Kim

The Iranian film Scent Of Wind, directed by Hadi Mohaghegh, will have its official opening at the 27th Busan International Feature Festival (BIFF, Oct. 5–14), which will finish with the Venice-produced film A Man by Ishikawa Kei.

The 27th Busan film festival marks the first full recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic in three years, restoring various programs and forums that had been interrupted over the past two years. The festival was reduced to a fraction of its usual scale in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, while last year’s edition was held with social distancing measures.

The Busan Film Festival will begin with ‘Scent of Wind’ from Iran and end with ‘A Man’ by Kei Ishikawa.

Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh’s ‘Scent of Wind’ – BIFF

Scent of Wind, Mohaghegh’s fourth feature film, depicts the lives of the unfortunate and conveys a sense of comfort and solidarity.

In the movie, a paralyzed man in a distant village collects herbal medicine in the mountains to support his sick child. His house’s electricity goes out, and an electrician arrives to repair it. However, the problem is larger than anticipated and may take several days to resolve. When he sees the child in the hospital, he vows to do whatever it takes to restore power. However, he faces a difficult task in dealing with nature and some unexpected events.

Kei Ishikawa returns with A Man (Aru Otoko) six years after his debut feature Gukoroku (Traces of Sin). The film, adapted from Keiichiro Hirano’s novel, ‘A Man,’ starring Sakura Ando, begins as a brooding portrait of love and loss, as female protagonist Rie deals with her recent divorce. Daisuke then adopts her son, with whom he has a daughter. Daisuke, on the other hand, is killed in an accident, raising questions about his identity and past. The second hour of the film becomes more of an investigative story while also meditating on the nature of identity. 

BIFF plans to reopen the audience lounge and face-to-face events between audience and film professionals

In an effort to normalize the festival, BIFF plans to reopen the audience lounge and supplement other services, including food and beverage services. Furthermore, Cinema Together, the culmination of face-to-face events between audience and film professionals, will resume after a three-year hiatus.

With a record-breaking 16 highly acclaimed mentors, the audience will join the mentors during the event period to watch films and share in-depth opinions. Korea’s top directors, including Kim Seonghun, Byun Sung-hyun, and Kim Bora, as well as actors Kang Mal-geum, Kang Jinah, and Kang Gil-woo, will serve as mentors.

This year’s festival features a number of award-winning films and foreign films starring Korean actors

AJOOMMA International Trailer (Credit: Giraffe Pictures)

In Busan, two Cannes-winning films will be shown: ‘Triangle of Sadness,’ directed by Ruben Ostlund, and ‘Close,’ directed by Lukas Dhont, as well as two Berlinale films: Golden Bear winner ‘Alcarras,’ directed by Carla Simon, and Silver Bear winner ‘Everything Will Be OK,’ directed by Rithy Panh.

The festival also features a number of foreign films starring Korean actors and produced in Korea. Ajoomma, the first-ever Singapore-South Korea co-production film, which is about a Korean drama-obsessed widow from Singapore who ends up getting lost in Korea, has been selected to compete and have its world premiere at the 27th BIFF. Ajoomma is the directorial debut of Singaporean filmmaker He Shuming, and it is produced by Anthony Chen.

Jung Dong-hwan (Mine, Hotel Del Luna), Kang Hyung-suk (Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Crashing Landing On You), and Yeo Jin-goo (Hotel Del Luna, Beyond Evil) are all well-known K-drama actors who appear in the film.

‘Returns to Seoul,’ directed by Davy Chou and starring Korean actor Park Ji-min, was also shot in Korea. In the French movie, Korean adoptee, Freddie, returns to South Korea for the first time, where she was born before being adopted and raised in France, on a strong desire to reconnect with her roots. The headstrong young woman begins her search for her biological parents in a country she knows nothing about, causing her life to take unexpected turns.

Busan, famous for presenting important indie films from Korea and Asia

Busan has taken the lead in presenting important indie films from Korea and Asia, and this year’s signature New Currents and Korean Cinema Today-Vision competitive sections are once again brimming with potential arthouse breakouts. This year’s festival will also feature the world premieres of two major new Korean films: Boys, a new film from veteran filmmaker Chung Ji-young (Unbowed), and 20th Century Girl, a Netflix Original film directed by Bang Woo-ri.

Many of Busan’s signature programs and events will return this year. The Asian Cinema Fund and Asian Film Academy will return after a three-year pause, as will Forum BIFF, which will this year focus on the rapid transitions occurring in the film and television industries.

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