Tag: busanfilmfestival

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: 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: 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: 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: 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 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...

Busan 2017 Review: METHOD Gets Booed Off the Stage

Bang Eun-jin scales things down significantly for her fourth work, the theater world forbidden love story Method. Lacking any chemistry between its leads, this facile mirrored narrative proves to be Bang's least impressive work as it trudges through thinly drawn...

Busan 2017 Review: THE THIRD MURDER Ponders the Unknowable in Quiet and Electric Mystery

Known for his controlled and humanistic family dramas, acclaimed filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda tries his hand at the bread and butter of the Japanese mainstream, the murder mystery. The result, which he directed from his own script, is the ruminative and...

Busan 2017 Review: AFTER MY DEATH Breathlessly Ponders High School Suicide

The New Currents competition gets a jolt of energy with Kim Ui-seok's livewire debut After My Death. Much like fellow competition title Last Child, the grief and guilt surrounding a high schooler's death also forms the crux of this film,...

Busan 2017 Review: MICROHABITAT, a Poignant and Lively Debut

Perhaps the most impressive Korean debut at Busan this year, the thoughtful and entertaining Microhabitat is a convincing showcase for star Esom and and an even more impressive calling card for director Jeon Go-woon, who becomes the first woman in...

Busan 2017 Review: LAST CHILD, a Powerful Tale of Guilt and Grief

Grief and guilt get a thorough review in Shin Dong-seok's debut film Last Child, one of three Korean films competing in this year's New Currents competition in Busan. A trio of powerful performances ground this emotionally gritty tale and lure...

Busan 2017 Review: A TIGER IN WINTER Hunts Our Individual Fears

Following his wonderfully droll indies Romance Joe and A Matter of Interpretation, both of which also debuted at Busan, director Lee Kwang-kuk is back with A Tiger in Winter. Though it employs a similarly low-key but careful aesthetic and continues...

Busan 2017 Review: BLUEBEARD, Ambitious Chiller Lacks Tension

Much like her debut The Uninvited, Lee Soo-yeon's latest film Bluebeard teases a dark genre storyline before turning off into more psychological territory through several layered images and a protagonist who isn't quite what he seems, played by Cho Jin-woong...

Busan 2017 Review: ROMANS 8:37, a Difficult Theological Tale

Writer-director Shin Yeon-shick returns to Busan for the fifth time with Romans 8:37, a thoughtful if not exactly thought-provoking theological tale of faith, suffering and coverups. Focusing exclusively on the complicated inner workings and relationships of a Korean church, this...

Busan 2017 Review: MERMAID UNLIMITED Offers Limited Chuckles

Indie filmmaker O Muel has been churning out films for around a decade on his native Jeju Island, which each explore the history and society of the popular getaway in different ways but always from the perspective of the local...

Busan 2017 Review: TAKLAMAKAN, Introspective Drama Dashes Dreams

Ko Eun-ki's sixth film Taklamakan, takes its name from a red desert in China which, as legend maintains, won't let you out once you step inside. In this dark and introspective drama, featuring characters that use the word as a...

Busan 2017 Review: OLD LOVE Mourns Life's Missed Opportunities

20 years after his debut Motel Cactus, Park Ki-yong returns with his 8th feature Old Joy, a contemplative work that proves to be director's strongest since his early days as one of the pioneers of the nascent Korea indie filmmaking...

Busan 2017 Review: BUTTERFLY SLEEP Flutters Gracefully Over a Well-Worn Path

It's been a full 12 years since director Jeong Jae-eun helmed a narrative feature and the Japan-set Butterfly Sleep is a welcome return, if not a patch on her 2001 debut Take Care of My Cat, still her best work....