FESTIVALS: Shin Suwon, Sylvia Chang to bookend Busan

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Korean filmmaker Shin Suwon’s Glass Garden will open this year’s Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), while Taiwanese director Sylvia Chang’s Love Education will close the event.

The selection of the two films marks the first time that female directors have opened and closed BIFF. Glass Garden is described as a “gut-wrenching story of revenge dealt out by a woman who must live as a plant in a world dominated by animalistic desires”. Love Education, which closes the festival on October 21, follows three women of different eras in Chinese history.

Gala presentations at the festival include Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Korean filmmaker Jeong Jae-eun’s Butterfly Sleep, and two films from Japanese directors – Isao Yukisada’s Narratage and Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Third Murder.

This year’s BIFF is introducing the ‘Kim Jiseok Award’ to honour the former deputy director of the festival, who died of a heart attack at this year’s Cannes. Kim was one of the founding members of the festival and had devoted his life to discovering young Asian directors.

Around ten world premieres screening in BIFF’s A Window on Asian Cinema section are nominated for the award, of which two will be selected by a jury and presented with a cash prize of $10,000.

As previously announced Oliver Stone is heading the jury for the New Currents competition, which includes world premieres from Korea, India, Iran and Greater China (see full list below). Other jury members include Iranian director Bahman Ghobadi, French cinematographer Agnès Godard, Philippines director Lav Diaz and Korean filmmaker Jang Sun-woo.

This year’s Asian Filmmaker of the Year is late Japanese master film director Suzuki Seijun, while the Korean Cinema Retrspective will focus on Shin Seong-il, one of Korea’s leading stars in the 1960s and 1970s. Other highlights include a focus on Sakha cinema, from the Sakha Republic in far Eastern Russia.

Korean Cinema Today will screen 16 films including Bong Joon Ho’s Okja, Ryoo Seung-wan’s The Battleship Island: Director’s Cut and Jang Hoon’s A Taxi Driver, while the Korea Vision section features 11 world premieres from independent directors.


After My Death, dir: KIM Uiseok (Korea) World Premiere

Ajji, dir: Devashish MAKHIJA (India) World Premiere

Ashwatthama, dir: Pushpendra SINGH (India) World Premiere

Blockage, dir: Mohsen GHARAEI (Iran) International Premiere

End Of Summer, dir: ZHOU Quan (China) World Premiere

How To Breathe Underwater, dir: KO Hyunseok (Korea) World Premiere

Last Child, dir: SHIN Dongseok (Korea) World Premiere

The Last Verse, dir: TSENG Ying-Ting (Taiwan) International Premiere

One Night On The Wharf, dir: HAN Dong (China) World Premiere

Somewhere Beyond The Mist, dir: King Wai CHEUNG (Hong Kong) World Premiere