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Busan International Film Festival to thrill movie fans with 307 films

Busan will bustle with movie lovers from around the globe as the 16th Busan International Film Festival, (BIFF, previously known as PIFF), will kick-start its nine-day schedule on October 6.

More than 300 films from 70 countries, as well as both domestic and international movie stars, will welcome festival-goers this year.

Some films have already sold record numbers of tickets, selling out as soon as the online ticket sales website opened.

The opening film of the festival is Always, a melodrama directed by Korea's Song Il-gon. This film is a love story between ex-boxer Chul-min (So Ji-sub) and telemarketer Jung-hwa (Han Hyo-joo) who gradually loses her eyesight. Tickets for this film were sold out within just a few seconds after the online ticket sales website opened.

Scenes from Always, directed by Korea’s Song Il-gon (courtesy of BIFF)

Seven films will be shown at the Gala Presentation, where BIFF introduces new films or much-talked-about movies of well-known movie-makers. Among them are The Host 3D and The Lady. The Host 3D is a 3D version of the original blockbuster film released in 2006 directed by Bong Joon-ho of Korea. The Lady, directed by well-known French director Luc Besson, shows the life of Aung San Suu Kyi, a prominent Burmese opposition politician who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

The Host 3D by Bong Joon-ho (left) and The Lady by Luc Besson (right) (courtesy of BIFF)

Nearly 50 films will be shown as part of the program A Window on Asian Cinema where films from Asian countries will be introduced. Some of the interesting films in the program are Mask by Laurice Guillen and Mitsuko Delivers by Yuya Ishi.

 Mask by Laurice Guillen (left) and Mitsuko Delivers by Yuya Ishi (right) (courtesy of BIFF)

In the Korean Cinema Retrospective program, BIFF will show the films of director Kim Kee-duk who made many hit movies in various genres in the 1960s. Kim's films to be screened include the melodrama The Barefooted Young, Korea's first SF movie Monster Yonggari, and The North and South, a tragic love story involving couples from North and South Korea.

The Barefooted Young (left) and The North and South by Kim Kee-duk (right) (courtesy of BIFF)

Festival-goers can also see more than 70 films from nearly 40 countries as part of the World Cinema program. Among the movies listed in the World Cinema program, The Tree of Life directed by Terrence Malick especially received a lot of attention from movie lovers. Tickets for this movie, starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, sold out as soon as the online sales website opened. Other interesting films at the program include Otelo Burning directed by Sara Blecher, and Los Viejos the debut film of Martín Boulocq. Otelo Burning tells the story of South African boys during political upheaval in the country. Los Viejos was a big hit and is considered one of the most interesting films from Bolivia this year.

Otelo Burning directed by Sara Blecher (left) and Los Viejos by Martín Boulocq (right) (courtesy of BIFF)

At the Midnight Passion program, movie lovers can see 15 films from eleven countries in various genres, ranging from action, comedy, and thriller, to horror. One of the interesting films in this category is The Woman. Directed by Lucky McKee, this film shows the story of a young woman from a primitive tribe who encounters civilized people for the first time.

The Woman by Lucky McKee (left) and The Tree of Life directed by Terrence Malick (right) (courtesy of BIFF)

Chronicle of My Mother by Masato Harada has been chosen as the closing film of the festival. This film is based on a story of a son taking care of his mother who suffers from dementia. Harada is known for his appearance in The Last Samurai (2003). Tickets for this movie also sold out soon after the online ticket sales website opened.

Scenes from Chronicle of My Mother by Masato Harada (courtesy of BIFF)

If still thirsty for films, try other categories like New Currents and Wide Angle which will show films of new, rising directors from around the world, short films, documentaries, and animations from around the globe.

* The newly opened Busan Cinema Center welcomes BIFF fans

Apart from the movies, another must-see attraction for the upcoming festival is Busan Cinema Center, a new theater building which opened last month. Located in Haeundae District, this nine-story multiplex has four cinemas and an open square for outdoor movie screenings.

Newly opened Busan Cinema Center (courtesy of BIFF)


All the movies scheduled for the festival will be shown at this center and in other nearby movie theaters, including CGV Centum City, Lotte Cinema, and Megabox Haeundae.

* How to get tickets

Though tickets for some films are already sold out, don’t be disappointed. Nearly 40,000 tickets are still available in offline sales, according to BIFF. Those who want to buy tickets on site can purchase tickets from the selected ticket booths which open at 8:30 a.m. every day on the first floor of Busan Cinema Center, the main gate at the first floor of Shinsegae Centum City, or the ground floor of Haeundae Sfunz.

For more information about BIFF, visit its homepage (http://www.biff.kr/intro/default.asp) (Korean, English).

By Yoon Sojung
Korea.net Staff Writer

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