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Cinema of harsh reality at Pusan Film Festival

2007/09/05 | Permalink | Source

The Pusan International Film Festival, one of the biggest film festivals in Asia, will celebrate its 12th year in October with a cascade of Asian films, many of them portraying individuals grappling with modern-day issues like war, family fall-out and urban poverty, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Opening the nine-day event will be "Assembly", a Chinese drama about a fallen soldier of the 1948 Chinese civil war, fought between the communists and the nationalists.

It is unusual for PIFF to choose a foreign film as its opener, but the $10 million film by Feng Xiaogang of "The Banquet" has a South Korean element: it is a joint production between China's Huayi Brothers Media & Co. Ltd. and South Korea's MK Pictures, and all battle scenes were created by the South Korean special effects team that worked on the 2004 Korean blockbuster "Taegukgi: The Brotherhood of War".

The emergence of Japanese, Chinese and Indian commercial movies will also be highlighted during the Oct. 4-12 festival, organizers said, along with independent films from Southeast Asia.

"Japan, China and India had remarkable achievements last year, their commercial movies standing tall in theaters. Also, the visible growth of independent movies from the Philippines and Malaysia will be highlighted in this year's festival", said Kim Ji-seok, the head programmer.

Current trends in local cinema will be highlighted in the latest films from Korea's veteran directors, such as "Beyond the Years" by Im Kwon-taek, "Secret Sunshine" by Lee Chang-dong and "The Old Garden" by Im Sang-soo. However, the selection also reveals the dwindling production of homegrown cinema, which lost steam this year amid the influx of Hollywood heavyweights, organizers said.

Eleven films, all to have their international premieres at the festival, will vie for the festival's only competitive prize, the New Currents Award, which will give three first-time Asian directors $30,000 in cash.

Closing the curtain will be the Japanese anime "Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone", by Hideaki Anno, Kazuya Tsurumaki and Masayuki, a big-screen adaptation of the 1995 TV animated series "Neon Genesis Evangelion", which attracted die-hard fans and enjoys popularity even today, the organizing committee said.

This year, PIFF will present 275 films, 193 of which are international or Asia premieres.

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