Festivals: Busan IFF

Busan 2021 Review: SEIRE, Ace Horror Debut Plunges Us into Korean Superstition

Superstition and fatherhood collide in Park Kang's crisply staged and chilling indie horror debut Seire, which had its world premiere in the New Currents competition at the Busan International Film Festival. Channeling Rosemary's Baby and The Wailing, this low-budget gem...

Busan 2021 Review: THE APARTMENT WITH TWO WOMEN, Sensational Debut Is an Electric Dysfunctional Family Drama

One of the most dysfunctional families of recent memory has its dirty laundry aired out in the hypnotic The Apartment with Two Women, an ambitious and surprisingly mature debut from 29-year-old director Kim Se-in. In a barnstorming performance, Yang Mal-bok...

Busan 2021 Review: HEAVEN: TO THE LAND OF HAPPINESS, An Infectious Return to Form for Im Sang-soo

The Busan International Film Festival puts a strong first foot forward this year with its tightly paced and effortlessly entertaining opening film Heaven: To the Land of Happiness, marking a return to form for director Im Sang-soo. Ace Korean cinema...

COP SERET: Future Festival Dates For Hit Icelandic Buddy Cop Comedy

A tough super-cop, in denial about his sexuality, falls in love with his new partner while investigating a string of bank robberies where nothing seems to have been stolen.   This is a public service announcement that the Icelandic buddy...

Blood Window 2020: Award Winners Announced

Blood Window wraps up today down in Buenos Aires and while we are in the home stretch of completing our report on the pitch session, Blood Window LAB, the awards were dished out today.    The first five categories come...

Blood Window 2020: Official Screenings & Spotlight on International Projects Announced

Prior to the weekend Variety first announced the official selection of screenings that will take place during Blood Window at the end of the month.    Under normal circumstances these films would be screened throughout the duration of the festival....

Busan 2020 Review: COALESCE Shows Cambodia as a Land Compromised by Opportunity

Three young men look to forge their own paths in the fast-developing Kingdom of Cambodia in French filmmaker Jessé Miceli’s keenly observed debut feature. Employing non-professional actors and an entirely Cambodian cast, what follows is a coherent and engaging story...

Busan 2020 Review: SPEED OF HAPPINESS Delivers Soothing Snapshot of a Unique Profession

Documentary filmmaker Park Hyuck-jee, known for the charming documentary With or Without You, is back with his latest non-fiction work, his first to be invited to Busan. Set in the mountainous Oze region of Central Japan, the pleasurable and satisfying...

Busan 2020 Review: FIGHTER, Compelling Character Study Winds Up Pulling Its Punches

After opening the festival in 2018 with Beautiful Days, director Jero Yun returned to Busan this year with his second narrative feature Fighter, which once again focuses on a North Korean defector's difficult experience adjusting in South Korea, and how...

Busan 2020 Review: In THREE, Soviet Rule Made Monsters Of Everyone

A police intern becomes the lead investigator in one of the most gruesome and notorious murder cases in modern history, in Ruslan Pak's bleak and introspective new thriller. Inspired by the true story of Kazakh serial killer and cannibal Nikolai...

Busan 2020 Review: SELF-PORTRAIT 2020, Long yet Riveting Odyssey of a Drunk Savant

I'll admit I went into Self-Portrait 2020 with a fair amount of trepidation. Here is a nearly three-hour documentary that follows a man who has given up on life, turned to the bottle and now roams the streets of Central...

Busan 2020 Review: STEEL RAIN 2: SUMMIT Dives into Thrilling and Surprisingly Funny Geopolitical Waters

Released three years, ago, the geopolitical action-thriller Steel Rain was a solid success on the charts but one that was completely overshadowed by two films that hit theaters within a fortnight of its release, Along with the Gods: The Two...

Busan 2020 Review: YOUNG ADULT MATTERS, An Explosive and Frequently Engrossing Runaway Teen Drama

Three years after his abrasive debut Park Hwa-young, director Lee Hwan returns to Busan with Young Adult Matters, an intense and frequently engrossing follow-up set in the same world of foul-mouthed, unpredictable and violent runaway teens. While it inherits many...

Busan 2020 Review: DELIVER US FROM EVIL, A Slick and Undemanding Action-Thriller Romp

It's hard being an assassin, especially when you take your work home with you. Even more so when that work turns out to be the psycho brother of your last target, who's chased you to a foreign country where you're...

Busan 2020 Review: SNOWBALL Gently Strikes with Familiar but Well-Told Tale

A wide variety of films find their way to the Busan Film Festival every year, but one thing you can always count on is the polished, youth-driven social indie that has become the de-facto Korean indie template, at least on...

Busan 2020 Review: LIMECRIME, Tone Deaf Hip-hop Biopic

As a self-confessed Korean hip-hop ‘stan’, Limecrime is a dismal disappointment. This is Directed by the actual former Limecrime duo LEE Seunghwan and YOO Jaewook, who moved on from performing together in the early aughts and are no longer part...

Busan 2020 Review: A LEAVE, Responsibilities Clash in Compelling Character Study

Given that it successfully ousted a president after months of mass protests, which peaked with well over two million participants, it should perhaps come as little surprise that Korea is a country where protesting is widespread. For many it's an...

Busan 2020 Review: THE PREDATORS, Stylish Italian Dark Comedy Debut

Twenty-eight year old newcomer Pietro Castellitto debuts with this assured, sharply scripted black comedy about class, wildly different families and the individuals that comprise them. It was frankly shocking to learn the Director of this film is so young, as...

Busan 2020 Review: GOOD PERSON Compels With Its Dizzying Morality Play

With confident direction in the first few frames alone, this debut feature from JUNG Wook is a masterful mystery. Good Person draws comparisons to European cinema; epic yet intimate portrayal of ethics, morality and human nature in the contemporary. These...

Busan 2020 Review: HAPPY OLD YEAR; Minimalist Design, Maximalist Selfishness

The philosophy or art of letting go; the artifice of such a belief or methodology questioned in a purposely staged environment is how Happy Old Year introduces its jaded protagonist Jean (Chutimon Chuengchar, Bad Genius). She is interviewed by a...