Busan Film Festival Unveils Lineup

Courtesy of Little Big Pictures
'Glass Garden'

A total of 298 films from 75 countries will be shown Oct. 12-21 in the South Korean port city.

The 22nd Busan International Film Festival will open Oct. 12 with Glass Garden by South Korean filmmaker Shin Suwon, fest organizers confirmed Monday while unveiling the full lineup following a leak of the opening title last week.

A total of 298 films from 75 countries will be shown through Oct. 21 in the South Korean port city.

Handled by Little Big Pictures, Glass Garden is the latest work by Shin, who won international acclaim for her award-winning 2014 drama Madonna. The mystery-drama stars popular actress Moon Geun-young as a scientist studying artificial blood. After being betrayed by her professor-cum-lover, she takes refuge in a forest where she meets an obscure novelist (Kim Tae-hoon). A shocking secret is unveiled as the writer sets out to pen a story about the young woman.

"My film is about a young scientist's dreams and hopes being dashed due to human desire. It began from a question, whether humans can coexist like nature," Shin told reporters.

BIFF director Kang Soo-youn noted that this year will mark the first time that both the opening and closing films are titles by female directors.

Love Education by director Sylvia Chang (China, Taiwan) will close the fest. The pic tells the story of a woman, Hui Yang, trying to move the grave of her father so it could be next to that of her dying mother. Conflict, however, ensues with her father's first wife, who opposes the move.

Five films will receive gala presentations this year, most of which hail from Japan. Butterfly Sleep, a Korean co-production by Jeong Jae-eun; Narratage, a melodrama by Isao Yukisada; The Third Murder, a courtroom thriller-drama by Hirokazu Kore-eda; and Manhunt by Hong Kong action master John Woo. There is one non-Asian title in the selection, Mother!, by American helmer Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) starring Jennifer Lawrence.

This year's fest features a strong representation of North American documentary films, such as Ex Libris: New York Public Library by Frederick Wiseman, Makala by Emmanuel Gras and the SXSW grand jury prize winner The Work by Gethin Aldous and Jairus Mcleary.

In addition to Aronofsky and Lawrence are slated to attend, Oliver Stone will be among international guests. The renowned director of Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July will head the jury of New Currents, Busan's main competition section that is designed to introduce up-and-coming Asian filmmakers. This year's selection of 10 titles features many works hailing from Chinese-speaking territories, including End of Summer by Zhou Quan (China), One Night on the Wharf by Han Dong (China), Somewhere Beyond the Mist by King Wai Cheung (Hong Kong) and The Last Verse by Tseng Ying-Ting (Taiwan).

The fest will pay tribute to a champion of Asian cinema, Kim Ji-seok, head programmer and deputy director, who died in May. Organizers have introduced the Kim Jiseok Award in the Window on Asian Cinema section, and two films will receive the honor.

Platform Busan, a new networking program for Asian indie filmmakers that Kim had organized, will also be posthumously launched at the upcoming festival. The program, which will run Oct. 14-18, will offer regional filmmakers the chance to take part in seminars, forums and workshops.

"We expect Platform Busan to bring new momentum to the film industries of Korea and other Asian countries," said fest chairman Kim Dong-ho.

Sept. 13, 11:15 p.m. Updated with additional lineup announcement made by BIFF on Thursday. Manhunt by John Woo has been included in the gala section.