Newsletter Vol. 14 l The Kinder Programmer - PARK Sun Young
2023. 09. 15 22:12
#BIFF2023 #Lineup #Programmer'sChoice
Newsletter Vol.14 |2023.09.15
Presenting The Kinder Programmer :
Movie recommendations by the Busan International Film Festival programmers! Each programmer of BIFF introduces selections of their own. Time to get to know the 28th BIFF better through the programmers’ kind replies.
The Kinder Programmer-PARK Sun Young
Stunning Lineups of Chinese-speaking territories / Central Asian / South Asian Films
This year, we had an unprecedented number of submissions. Due to budget issue, there was a reduction in the selection count, which required even greater discernment in the selection process than ever before.
This year, there were numerous outstanding films from Chinese-speaking territories. Films from mainland China, which were almost impossible to invite last year due to censorship issues, world premiere films from Taiwan, as well as new and acclaimed films from Hong Kong, offer a diverse range of films, which should fulfill audience needs that have built up over time. Among this year’s highlights is the Special Program featuring Chow Yun Fat, also the Asian Filmmaker of the Year. His latest film, One More Chance (2023), along with unforgettable classics like A Better Tomorrow (1986) and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) will be screened. I hope you can relive the emotions of these films as you watch them on the big screen after such a long absence.
Anthony PUN — One More Chance (2023)
John WOO — A Better Tomorrow (1986)
Ang LEE — Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
Also, Green Night, which many of you have been curious about, will be featured in the Gala Presentation. Directed by Han Shuai, winner of the FIPRESCI Award in the New Currents section of BIFF 2020, the film features Fan Bingbing and Lee Joo-young performances.
HAN Shuai — Green Night (2023)
We cannot leave out The Shadowless Tower by Zhang Lu. It is the only film from China invited to the Icon section. The Shadowless Tower conveys the director's wit and warm commentary on relationships. There is also Only the River Flows, by Busan’s beloved director, Wei Shujun. The film showcases a remarkable performance by Zhu Yilong, which complements the director’s distinctive style, rendered through the unique texture of 16mm film. Wei is also a jury member for the Sonje Award, so you may have the opportunity to meet him throughout the festival.
ZHANG Lu — The Shadowless Tower (2023)
WEI Shujun — Only the River Flows (2023)
Geng Zihan, director of A Song Sung Blue, will also visit Busan. A Song Sung Blue, the Cannes Film Festival Director's Fortnight-invited film, unravels the romantic passion and nostalgic sentiment of a teenage girl.
GENG Zihan — A Song Sung Blue (2023)
Taiwan has two world premiere films invited. Salli is an undoubtedly lovely film. If you're curious about 38-year-old Sally's coming-of-age story or a fan of actor Austin Lin, you must watch this movie. A Boy and A Girl is a film depicting two teenagers’ pain and growth. It’s a film that artfully portrays the story of a boy and a girl holding onto each other's pain as they gradually open their hearts, grow, and experience moments of despair together.
LIEN Chien-Hung — Salli (2023)
HSU Li-Da — A Boy and A Girl (2023)
Director Choy Ji’s Borrowed Time, invited to the New Currents section, is a story that travels between China and Hong Kong, evoking past memories. With its warm visuals and color scheme, it invites us onto the nostalgic streets of Hong Kong, filled with a peculiar sense of longing.
CHOY Ji — Borrowed Time (2023)
In South Asia, we have films not only from the traditional film powerhouse, India, but also from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan. Bangladesh, in particular, has made a remarkable leap this year with three films in competition. This is unprecedented in the history of the Busan International Film Festival, and even in the Bangladesh film industry itself. Many filmmakers and journalists from Bangladesh are expected to visit Busan this year.
Two films from New Currents, The Stranger and The Wrestler, both have distinctive personalities and unique passions. It's rare to have two competition films from the same country selected, but I was confident to include their invitations from the very beginning. Something Like an Autobiography, of the Jiseok section, stands out for director Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s skillful storytelling. The film starts with an autobiographic narrative and delves deep into the profound contradictions within Bangladeshi society.
Biplob SARKAR —
The Stranger (2023)
Iqbal H. CHOWDHURY —
The Wrestler (2023)
Mostofa Sarwar FAROOKI — Something Like an Autobiography (2023)
Sri Lanka is represented by two films this year. In the Jiseok section, Prasanna Vithanage, the heavyweight of Sri Lankan cinema, will present Paradise, a sharp and powerful narrative set in Sri Lanka shortly after the declaration of national bankruptcy in April 2022. The debut film from a Sri Lankan newcomer, Whispering Mountains, portrays the past and present of Sri Lanka through metaphor, where the history of civil war and resistance have persisted.
Prasanna VITHANAGE — Paradise (2023)
Jagath MANUWARNA — Whispering Mountains (2022)
Bhutan's Pawo Choyning Dorji, who met Korean audiences with Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (2019), is returning to Busan with his latest film set against the backdrop of the first-ever elections in the Bhutanese monarchy in 2006. Then there’s The Monk and the Gun, a beautiful and gentle film. A Road to a Village from Nepal tells the story of a 7-year-old boy living in a village beneath the Himalayan mountains, as a new road is being opened. In addition, the Canada-Pakistan co-production In Flames, which was invited to the Cannes Film Festival's Directors’ Fortnight, will be showcased at Midnight Passion and A Window on Asian Cinema simultaneously. I kindly request your keen interest in these films.
Pawo Choyning DORJI — The Monk and the Gun (2023)
Nabin SUBBA — A Road to A Village(2023)
Zarrar KAHN — In Flames (2023)
Meanwhile, 7 films from India will be showcased. Above all, the film that stands out is Rocky and Rani's Love Story. Filled with the dazzling dance and songs of Bollywood's top star Ranveer Singh along with Alia Bhatt, this film truly invites you into the world of authentic Bollywood.
Karan JOHAR — Rocky and Rani′s Love Story (2023)
Furthermore, some films have been screened and awarded at various film festivals. To borrow the words of one director, the Asian premieres have been "more competitive this year" than the world premieres.Joram, which was screened at the Rotterdam Film Festival; Agra, featured at the Cannes Film Festival Directors' Fortnight; Guras, winner of the jury award at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival; and Rapture, presented at the Locarno Film Festival, are all films that have captured the hearts of audiences and filmmakers worldwide this year, making them must-sees.
Devashish MAKHIJA — Joram (2023)
Kanu BEHL — Agra (2023)
Saurav RAI — Guras (2023)
Dominic SANGMA — Rapture (2023)
Rajesh S. Jala’s The Spark of the New Currents, which received post-production support from the Asian Cinema Fund, and Suman Ghosh’s The Scavenger of Dreams, which was a selection of the 2019 Asian Project Market, are both films that have received support and backing from Busan.
Rajesh S. JALA — The Spark (2023)
Suman GHOSH — The Scavenger of Dreams (2023)
Central Asia is represented by 2 films this year. Mirlan Abdykalykov, recipient of the FIPRESCI Award of BIFF 2019, will screen his third film, Bride Kidnapping, which was invited to Jiseok. Scream, a film that portrays the painful history of Kazakhstan through the story of a disabled father and son living in a small village, will be part of the A Window on Asian Cinema.
Mirlan ABDYKALYKOV — Bride Kidnapping (2023)
Kenzhebek SHAIKAKOV — Scream (2023)
In addition to Bangladesh's progress, Mongolia is another country to watch out for this year. In Mongolia, the debut films of two female directors closely associated with our film festival have achieved notable success. If Only I Could Hibernate, directed by Purevdash Zoljargal, a graduate of the 2018 Asian Film Academy, has been invited to the Cannes Film Festival. City of Wind, by Purev-Ochir Lkhagvadulam, recently received news of winning the Best Actor award in the Orizzonti section at the Venice Film Festival just a few days ago.
PUREVDASH Zoljargal — If Only I Could Hibernate (2023)
PUREV-OCHIR Lkhagvadulam — City of Wind (2023)
Lastly, I'd like to introduce this year's closing film, The Movie Emperor, directed by Ning Hao, one of China's most active filmmakers, and starring legendary actor Andy Lau. While The Movie Emperor tells the story of filmmakers and actors, it also carries various layers of meaning within. I highly recommend it as the ideal film to enjoy at the end of the festival on the big screen at the outdoor venue.
NING Hao — The Movie Emperor (2023)
This year, we have invited many significant films meant to be watched in theaters. Because films from Asia are not often screened after the festival, I hope you will enjoy the diverse and profound world of Asian cinema brought to you during the festival.
As autumn deepens, we look forward to seeing you in Busan.