Busan Film Festival: Competition Selections



The main competition section of the Busan International Film Festival is set to showcase two new features from Bangladeshi directors, the feature debut of Japanese documentary maker Mori Tatsuya and ruminations on Hong Kong by mainland Chinese director Choi Ji.

The festival on Wednesday unveiled its New Currents competition section, reserved for films by directors making their first or second works of fiction, as well as its Jiseok section, a showcase for somewhat more established Asian auteurs.

In addition to the Bangladesh duo, New Currents includes two films from Japan, two from Korea and one each from China, Thailand, Malaysia and India.

From Bangladesh, Iqbal H. Chowdhury’s “The Wrestler” sees an old fisherman challenge a wrestling champion to combat, and in “The Stranger” Biplob Sarkar tells a coming-of-age, gender-identity tale.

From Japan, Mori recounts the events of the Great Kanto earthquake in “September 1923,” while Yamamoto Akira delves into profound and shocking love in “After the Fever.”

New Currents’ Korean contributions come from Lee Jong-su, whose “Heritage” tracks a man who opts out of military service and his supervisor, and Sohn Hyun-lok, whose “That Summer’s Lie” blurs truth and fiction in memories of a past romance.

India’s Rajesh S. Jala (“Children of the Pyre”) is another documentarian turned fiction filmmaker and will present his “The Spark.” Choy’s “Borrowed Time” presents a fluid blend of past, present, reality and fantasy as a protagonist wanders around Hong Kong.

Thailand’s Patiparn Boontarig, previously AD on award-winning “Manta Ray,” takes a step up with “Solids by the Seashore.” In “Oasis of Now,” Malaysia’s Chia Chee Sum, previously part of Busan’s Asian Film Academy, tells a tale of a girl who cannot reveal her identity.

The Jiseok section, named after former Busan program director Kim Jiseok, will present awards to two of its ten selected films.

Competing are: Toda Akihiro’s “Ichiko,” in which another woman is forced to conceal her identity; Ishii Yuya’s “The Moon,” a mental health drama starring Miyazawa Rie and Odagiri Joe.

Sri Lankan veteran Prasanna Vithanaga presents a tale of political societal and emotional misunderstandings in “Paradise,” while Mostofa Sarwar Farooki and Nusrat Imrose Tisha, deliver the festival’s third film from Bangladesh. Their co-written “Something Like an Autobiography” sees the real-life couple blur the boundaries between reality and fiction.

Kirghiz director Mirlan Abdykalkov (“Running to the Sky”) delivers a harrowing real-life tale in “Bride Kidnapping.” Thailand’s Nontawat Numbenchapol examines the underbelly of Chiang Mai in “Doi Boi.” Indonesian auteur Yosep Anggi Noen delivers “24 Hours With Gaspar.” And Philippines veteran Brillante Mendoza shares tragic drama “Moro.”

Two films from Korea round out the section: Lee Sangcheol’s “Blesser” is a heartfelt tale about a former journalist bringing up a disabled child; while Ahn Sunkyeong (“Pascha”) examines the filmmaking process in “At the End of the Film.”

The Busan festival runs Oct. 4-13. Its related markets run Oct. 7-10.


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