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BIFF to return to pre-pandemic scale with 243 films

Oct. 4, 2022 - 16:31 By Song Seung-hyun

Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh's "Scent of Wind" will open the 27th Busan International Film Festival on Wednesday. (BIFF)

The 27th Busan International Film Festival, which kicks off Wednesday and runs through Oct. 14, is returning to its pre-pandemic scale.

There will be no distancing in the theaters and the organizer is expecting around 170,000 total audience members this year.

A total of 243 films from 71 countries will be screened during the film festival and Asian film support programs. The Asia Cinema Fund also will resume this year after a three-year hiatus, according to the BIFF organizer.

Following an event held at Nampo-dong on Tuesday night, the opening ceremony will kick off the fest at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Busan Cinema Center. Actors Ryu Jun-yeol and Jeon Yeo-bin will host the opening ceremony.

Iranian director Hadi Mohaghegh's "Scent of Wind" is the curtain raiser this year.

“In a world that seems devoid of goodness, ‘Scent of Wind’ is a film that reaffirms our faith in humanity,” BIFF programmer Nam Dong-chul said.

In the opening film, a disabled man lives with his paralyzed son in a remote Iranian village. One day, the power goes out and an electrician visits his home. The electrician goes from town to town, replacing broken parts.

As the Busan film fest returns to normal, the event organizer highlighted that guests from different countries including “Broker” director Hirokazu Kore-eda and “Avatar: The Way of Water” producer Jon Landau, as well as top Korean stars including Gang Dong-won, Lee Young-ae, Ha Jung-woo and Han Ji-min, will attend the fest and take part in discussions with the audience.

Fans of Hong Kong actor and singer Tony Leung Chiu-wai are in for a treat -- six of his films that the actor has selected, including "Happy Together" (1997), “The Longest Nite” (1998), "In the Mood for Love" (2000) and "2046" (2004), will be screened during the festival.

Leung will also attend the festival to receive this year’s award for Asian filmmaker of the year.

Japanese director Kei Ishikawa's "A Man" is the closing film of the 27th Busan International Film Festival. (BIFF)

Closing Korea's largest film festival is Japanese director Kei Ishikawa's "A Man," a film adaptation of Keiichiro Hirano's award-winning 2018 novel of the same title.

The film features Rie, a woman who moves back to her hometown with her child. She falls in love with Daisuke and the two start a family and have another child. Daisuke dies in a tragic accident and his estranged brother shows up at the funeral. The brother looks at the photo of her husband and says that the deceased is not Daisuke.

Many award-winning films will be screened during this year’s fest as well.

Two Cannes-winning films -- “Triangle of Sadness” directed by Ruben Ostlund and “Close” directed by Lukas Dhont -- and two films recognized at the Berlinale -- Golden Bear winner “Alcarras” directed by Carla Simon and Silver Bear winner “Everything Will Be OK,” directed by Rithy Panh -- will be shown in Busan.

Among this year's offerings are a number of foreign movies starring Korean actors that were produced in Korea.

Singaporean film “Ajoomma,” directed by He Shuming, is about a middle-aged woman in Singapore who lives with her son. Her only pleasure in life is watching Korean TV drama series. She and her son book a tour of Korea for the holidays, but the son excuses himself from the trip on the pretext of a job interview, leaving her to come to Korea by herself.

Yeo Jin-goo, Jung Dong-hwan and Kang Hyung-suk are among the actors starring in the film.

French film “Returns to Seoul,” directed by Davy Chou and starring Korean actor Park Ji-min, also was filmed in Korea.

In “Return to Seoul,” Korean adoptee Freddie’s flight to Japan is diverted to Seoul due to a typhoon. It becomes her first visit to Korea since she was adopted to France as a child. Although unfamiliar with the language and culture, she tries her best to enjoy herself.

Director Anthony Shim's highly anticipated “Riceboy Sleeps,” a Canadian film about a Korean immigrant, will also be screened. The film is being hailed as the next “Minari,” a multiple-award winning drama film about a Korean immigrant family in the US directed by Lee Isaac Chung.

The 27th Busan film fest will also expand its On Screen program to screen nine highly anticipated streaming series, including Lee Jun-ik’s debut drama series “Yonder,” Jung Ji-woo’s “Somebody,” Miike Takashi’s “Connet” and Lars von Trier’s “The Kingdom Exodus.”

The new program was added last year to reflect the influence of streaming content in the global market.