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23rd Edition of Busan International Film Festival Opens with Renewed Optimism

Oct 10, 2018
  • Writer by Pierce Conran
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BEAUTIFUL DAYS and LEE Na-young Delight Crowds on First BIFF Night

Despite warnings of typhoon afoot, the red carpet was rolled out and crowds came out in force for the opening ceremony of this year’s 23rd Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) on the evening of Thursday, October 4.

Stars KIM Nam-gil (Pandora, 2015) and HAN Ji-min (The Age of Shadows, 2016) hosted a ceremony which took place at the Busan Cinema Center. With boycotts lifted, the guest list featured many stars as the festival kicked off an edition that is being seen as a return to form after several editions that were marred by the event’s well-documented troubles.

Among the 5000 attendees in the packed venue were 250 stars and filmmakers from Korea and across Asia. Guests were treated to a special performance by famed composer SAKAMOTO Riyuichi, who was on hand to accept the 2018 Asian Filmmaker of the Year Award. Also gracing the stage to receive their BIFF Korean Cinema Award were Martine and Jean-Marc Thérouanne, the founder of the Festival International des Cinémas d’Asie (Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas). 

Following the ceremony was the presentation of this year’s opening film, the Korean arthouse drama Beautiful Days featuring the screen comeback of local star LEE Na-young. The film comes from director Jero YUN, helming a narrative feature for the first time, after having screened shorts and documentaries at festivals around the world in the past, including the Cannes Film Festival. LEE plays a North Korean defector who leaves her son and husband behind in China as she pursues a life in South Korea. 14 years after leaving, her now teenage son sets out to find her. 

A total of 323 films from 79 countries will be shown at the festival until it closes on October 13
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