Explore Cinematic Busan
By Lee Hyo-won
Be prepared for fun films and a breath of fresh sea air as the 12th Pusan (Busan) International Film Festival (PIFF), Asia's largest film festival and Korea's most feted cinematic event, unfolds in the southern port city, Oct. 4-12.
The Cannes of Korea will showcase 275 films from 64 countries, 193 of which are world, international or Asia premieres. Don't miss this chance to enjoy stellar films while also exploring Korea's second largest city.
PIFF will stage the world premiere of Feng Xiaogang's war epic ``Assembly,'' mainland China's first blockbuster created by the special effects team of ``Taegeukgi. '' The film traces the tragic tale of a soldier who devotes his life to redeeming the honor of his fellow soldiers who are declared missing in action.
Closing film ``Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone'' (directors Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki) is the first episode in the trilogy of theatrical adaptation of internationally popular Japanese comic series ``Neon Genesis Evangelion.'' The animation also makes its international debut in Busan.
``Assembly'' and ``Evangelion'' were sold out in a matter of minutes -- 17 minutes and 26 minutes, respectively -- when online sales opened last week. But moviegoers are not to be disappointed, as 300 tickets for each film are reserved for on-site sale.
Catch a glimpse of firsts at PIFF: Of the 11 works in the New Currents section, eight make their world premieres and three make overseas debuts after debuting in their homelands. Taste the best of both classic and contemporary Korean films in Korean Cinema Retrospective and Korea Cinema Today, respectively.
There are three special programs at PIFF this year. Three Colors of New Malaysian Cinema spotlights the emergence of a new film generation in the ethnically diverse (Malaysian, Chinese and Indian) country.
In Memories of Taipei, PIFF will honor Edward Yang, one of Asia's most prominent filmmakers and pioneer of the Taiwanese New Wave, who passed away at the age of 60 last June.
Remapping of Asian Auteur Cinema, taking place for the third time this year, continues to discover, introduce and support Asian directors who are little known overseas despite their prominence back home. This year's series celebrates the accomplishments of Iranian director Dariush Mehrjui. The auteur will also head the New Currents Jury, whose members also include this year's Palme d'Or winner Cristian Mungiu.
Ticketing for general screenings is now available on the festival's official Web site www.piff.org. Portal site Naver also has a special PIFF page http://piff.naver.com. Advance ticketing is also available at all Busan Bank branches and GS25 convenient stores nationwide.
More discounted tickets and packages are available this year. Matinee screenings (Oct. 8-11) are offered at 3,000 won. Tickets for the Midnight Passion section (12 films from 11 countries to be screened at night) can be purchased in packages of three for 10,000 won per night. In addition, a special discount rate of 20 percent will be applied to group sales (20-50) for the films screened in Outdoor Theater, Daeyoung Cinema 1 and 3, and Busan Theater 1, Oct. 8-11. PIFF will leave 30 percent of the tickets at the on-site box offices so that those who missed on-line ticketing will have an opportunity to obtain tickets.
Famous faces and rising stars will shine upon Busan. Volker Schlondorff, whose film ``The Tin Tin Drum'' won the 1979 Palme d'Or at Cannes, will leave his handprints at PIFF this year. PIFF has also chosen the late actor Kim Seung-ho, the star of this year's Korean Cinema Retrospective section, as another one of this year's honorees of the Hand Printing Ceremony. Actor Kim Hee-ra will make a mark on behalf of his father.
PIFF has asked Berlin International Film Festival to reproduce and re-award the missing trophy of Kang Dae-jin's 1961 Silver Berlin Bear for ``A Coachman'' (Mabu). Christoph Terhechte, Director of International Forum of New Cinema, Berlinale will visit PIFF to hand-deliver the Silver Berlin Bear to a family member of Kang or anther appropriate recipient. Re-awarding the Silver Berlin Bear is not merely the replacement of a lost item -- this gesture newly highlights a film that has had immense significance in the history of Korean cinema, according to PIFF.
``Secret Sunshine's'' queen of Cannes Jeon Do-yeon and director Lee Chang-dong will come to PIFF. The cast and crew of ``Hwang Jin Yi'' (director Chang Youn-hyun and actors Song Hye-kyo and You Ji-tae) and ``Beyond the Years'' (veteran filmmaker Im Kwon-taek and male lead Cho Jae-hyun) will also visit, as well as hallyu star Ji Jin-hee.
Asian superstars Michelle Yeoh and Erika Sawajiri will come to Korea. Internationally acclaimed directors Rosyton Tan, Wang Quanan Lee Kang Sheng and Hou Hsiao Hsien will make appearances.
From the far side of the globe, directors Michael Kang (``West 32nd'') and Serge Bozon (``France''), Pascal Thomas (``Toward Zero'') as well as actress Natacha Regnier, winner of Cannes' Best Actress Award in 1998, and popular French actor Melvil Poupaud will attend the festival.
In addition, directors and programmers of international film festivals will visit PIFF: delegate general of Cannes Film Festival Thierry Fremaux, artistic director of Cannes Directors' Fortnight Olivier Pere, and festival director of Sundance International Film Festival Geoffrey Gilmore, among others.
Visit www.piff.org for a full list of screenings and more information about the festival. Get the scoop on what to do around town at http://english.busan.go.kr, where you can find great maps, and http://english.visit.busan.kr, where you can explore different touring options.
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