Festivals: Busan IFF

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Busan 2019 Review: COMING HOME AGAIN, A Personal Chamber Piece on Food and Filial Piety

In Coming Home Again, a Korean American man returns home to take care of his dying mother in this modest and sensitively-rendered chamber piece that takes place in the span of one day on New Year’s Eve. Adapted from a...

Busan 2019 Review: LIGHT FOR THE YOUTH Conveys the Desperate Struggles of South Korea's Younger Generation

The acute hardships of South Korea’s youth and the dog-eat-dog mentality of the corporate workplace are the focus of writer-director Shin Su-won’s fourth feature, Light for the Youth. With Glass Garden (2017), Madonna (2015) and Pluto (2012), Shin’s previous films...

Busan 2019 Review: THE EDUCATION, A Life Lesson on Human Nature

In The Education, a young woman develops an unlikely relationship with a teenager when she is hired to take care of his severely disabled mother. One of three Korean features in the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents competition section, director...

Busan 2019 Review: AN OLD LADY Addresses Elderly Rape, Ageing and Mortality

Premiering in the Busan International Film Festival’s New Currents competition section, Lim Sun-ae’s An Old Lady touches on the less-commonly addressed issue of elder sexual abuse in South Korea. A 69-year-old lady accuses a nursing assistant of rape at a...

Busan 2019 Review: KYUNGMI'S WORLD, Bleak and Unsparing Portrait of the Ties that Bind

In Kyungmi’s World, we never get to see the face of the titular Kyungmi. Instead, the main characters in the film are Soo-yeon (Kim Misu) – Kyungmi’s daughter – and her estranged grandmother Young-soon (Lee Young-ran), who reconnect for the...

Review: THE SCIENCE OF FICTIONS, Black Comedy as Socio-Political Parable

Political allegory meets the Ministry of Silly Walks.

RESPIRA (BREATHE) Trailer: Gabriel Grieco's Thriller Takes Flight After World Premiere at Busan

Gabriel Grieco's thriller Respira (Breathe) had its world premiere at the Busan International Film Festival the other week. A brand new trailer for Repsira was just released. Find it below.   “Breathe” is about a family that moves to the...

Busan 2018 Review: ALPHA, THE RIGHT TO KILL Declaws Duterte's War on Drugs

Arriving hot on the heels of Eric Matti’s similarly plotted but decidedly more entertaining BuyBust, Brillante Mendoza’s Alpha, the Right to Kill is a down and dirty frontline take on Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs. Seen from...

Busan 2018 Review: CITIES OF LAST THINGS, Noirish Tryptich Explores One Man's Broken Soul

Ho Wi Ding’s noir-tinged triptych details three nights in the life of troubled Taiwan police detective Zhang Dong Ling, as his turbulent personal life repeatedly triggers eruptions of murderous violence. Winner of the Platform Prize at this year’s Toronto International...

Busan 2018 Review: THE PREY Plays a Most Dangerous Game in the Cambodian Jungle

An undercover cop must fight for his life when he becomes an unwitting participant in a deadly game of cat and mouse in writer-director Jimmy Henderson's ambitious follow-up to prison riot throw-down Jailbreak, reworking Pichel and Schoedsack’s classic The Most Dangerous Game...

Busan 2018 Review: HOUSE OF HUMMINGBIRD Soars As It Signals Major New Talent

Exploring modern themes and history through the eyes of a young girl, Kim Bora's sensational debut House of Hummingbird is the Korean indie drama par excellence. A subtle exploration of local family and societal pressures crafted in a way that...

Busan 2018 Review: ODE TO THE GOOSE
 Serenades with Strong Performances and Playful Plot

Two years after opening the festival with A Quiet Dream, director Zhang Lu returns to Busan with Ode to the Goose, a terrifically performed and breezy art drama that meanders between allegories of national identity and literary and historical references....

Busan 2018 Review: Shinya Tsukamoto's KILLING, a Blunt yet Effective Samurai Drama

A young masterless samurai faces a crisis of confidence when he is called upon to defend a family of farmers from a marauding gang in Shinya Tsukamoto’s small scale samurai drama. Killing is the actor-writer-director’s first film since 2014’s remake...

Busan 2018 Review: FAHRENHEIT 11/9 is More Hot Air than Hot Take

14 years after his Palme D’Or winning Fahrenheit 9/11, documentarian Michael Moore seizes the opportunity to conveniently flip his title and train his satirical eye on American politics once again. Asking simply “How the fuck did this happen?!” Fahrenheit 11/9...

Busan 2018 Review: OUR BODY Hits the Ground Running and Sails to the Finish

If Korean cinema will be remembered for anything in 2018, it may well be for a batch of films that have found surprising ways to shine a spotlight on the country's youth. Specifically, the enduring image of the year may...

Busan 2018 Review: BEAUTIFUL DAYS Handsomely Frames Somber Subject

As the veil of secrecy over the guarded North Korean regime threatens to give way (if only slightly) in the surprising geopolitical climate we find ourselves in today, the film industry in South Korea has also begun to change how...

THE PREY: New Poster Debuts For Jimmy Henderson's Action Flick Ahead of World Premiere

Jimmy Henderson's latest action offering, The Prey, will have its world premiere in Korea at the Busan IFF. Anticipating its premiere the production released a new character composite style poster today. It is more in keeping with the action genre,...

Busan 2018: BEAUTIFUL DAYS and MASTER Z: THE LEGACY OF IP MAN to Bookend Packed 23rd BIFF

The Busan International Film Festival held a press conference in Seoul on Tuesday to launch the program for next month's 23rd edition. Local indie drama Beautiful Days will kick off BIFF on October 4 while Master Z: The Ip Man...

Busan 2017 Review: PARK HWA-YOUNG Lashes Out with Foul and Excessive Misery

Among the dozens of local indie films that wind up at the Busan International Film Festival every year, a number tend to be dark social dramas that explore the worst aspects of society. Often set in winter (likely due to...

Busan 2017 Review: HOME Settles in for Pleasant if Predictable Family Drama

Busan-set family melodrama Home doesn't stray from stock themes of Korean dramas yet its endearing young cast and genuine feelings make it a pleasant debut from newcomer Kim Jong-woo. Jun-ho is a middle school student who lives with half-brother Seong-ho...