Busan Film Festival

I’m a pretty big fan of indie cinema and foreign film. In terms of English movies, only the big Hollywood blockbusters make it out this way. One of the great ironies of living in Korea is that I can’t even watch local films because they don’t come with English subtitles. It’s easier for me to watch Korean film in London than it is in the very country the films are made. Crazy. You CAN watch these movies with subs in DVD bangs a few weeks after they’ve been released, but it’s not really the same, is it?

I was so glad to get tickets to this year’s Busan Film Festival– finally time to get my foreign film fix on! Ticket sales open 3-4 weeks before the festival. It’s worth having a couple of mates on computers at the same time as servers tend to crash and English web versions mysteriously turn into Korean ones! Have a native speaker on hand to help you out should the process become tricky, as the tickets sell out in no time. Please remember to add your email address and/or mobile phone number to each booking screen so that you can receive your booking confirmation! (I know this sounds obvious, but my mate rushed past this step and it took the lovely patient folk at Megabox 20 minutes to find his booking…not cool.)

We rushed to Busan after school on Friday to see The President by Mohsen Makhmalbaf, an intense and complex look inside a coup, dealing with themes of revenge, forgiveness, war crimes, innocence and innocence lost. I highly recommend this film. It’s worth noting that you will not be allowed to take food or drinks into the cinema so don’t bother buying popcorn.

Le Meraviglie (The Wonders) by Alice Rohrwacher is a coming of age film, and also deals with the decline of the rural way of life and the romantic idea of Etruscan civilization. This was my favourite- beautifully shot in 3 languages: German, French and Italian.

We saw The Homesman but I didn’t rate it at all. Out of the 4 films we saw this was my least favourite.

The final film we saw was My Man by Kumakiri Kazuyoshi, based on Sakuraba Kazuki’s controversial novel. It deals with loss and the fine line between relationships and incest. It is quite an intense, disturbing film but intriguing nonetheless.

It would have been great to have the whole week off and just geek out on films 24-7. Get yourself to Busan next year for an unmissable feast of international film.

Seoul Independent Film Festival will run from November 28th to December 6th. May I also add that Tenacious D will be in Seoul December 5th-6th which means it’s totally going to be a wicked weekend!

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