BIFF Movie (sorry… FILM) Guide - Busan Awesome


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BIFF Overview: Movies Worth Keeping Your Eye On

One must be superficial when choosing what movies to see at a festival. It sounds harsh, but aside from the name and maybe a trailer on YouTube, there’s very little to effectively distinguish one film from 306 others. I recommend instinct— take a look at the program and find something you like. Failing that, just take my word for it and pick one of these.


The Host, one of the most famous South Korean films (AKA film nerds in North America have seen it), is a politically-charged sci-fi monster movie by Jong Boon-Ho, whose entire body of work I have seen and can qualitatively state is near-fucking-flawless. The Host wasn’t made in 3D, but the producers seem pretty excited about the translation. And by “pretty excited” I mean they admit that it’s kind of dumb. From the BIFF website: “On the downside, some of the graphics are hard on the eyes, and the focus is inconsistent. But on the upside are a fast-paced plot and spatial elements of the Han River that merit 3D effects.” Points for honesty, guys. It’s still an awesome flick.


This is the latest from Luc Besson, the dude who gave Natalie Portman her big break at age 12 in Leon the Professional way back in 1994, and then nailed sci-fi action with The Fifth Element, then did a bunch of other French stuff and eventually Angel-A which was absolute pretentious shit. The Lady stars Michelle Yeoh as a woman at the forefront of the Burmese 8888 Uprising (a topic Wikipedia could tell you more about than I). Might be worth a shot if only because Besson himself will be floating around the festival to shed some interesting commentary on his work.


For anyone interested in Korean history, you might dig this latest film by Im Kwon-Taek, who has directed literally 100 films before Hanji. (This is his 101st.) It’s a fictional docu-drama about a people who try and restore Jeonju Sago, the annals of the Joseon Dynasty that were burned hundreds of years ago, using the traditional Hanji script. Director Im is effectively South Korea’s Robert Altman/Sergio Leone/Akira Kurosawa, a director who’s been making films since the 1960s, but whose style is so delicate and deliberate that it might be deemed too slow for anyone not immediately grabbed by the phrase “restoring traditional annals”.

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