Pusan International Film Festival unveils line up

September 8, 2009

The Pusan International Film Festival opens its 14th edition with “Good Morning President”, a movie taking a warm-hearted look at the ruthless and cold-blooded world of South Korean politics.

The festival is Asia largest and runs from October 8-16 in the South Korean port city of Busan. Organisers on Tuesday unveiled the line-up for the festival where 355 films from 70 countries will be screened, including 98 that will be world premieres.

The festival has its red carpet where several of South Korea’s and Asia’s biggest stars parade before the cameras but it pales in comparison to the glamorous showings in Cannes or Venice. What the Pusan fest does best is celebrate and promote Asian films. It is also one of the biggest film markets in the region where producers from, say, Malaysia can pick up distribution deals in Japan.

Influential Bollywood director and producer Yash Chopra will be honoured as filmmaker of the year at the festival, which is considered one of the top cinema honours in Asia.

The festival will have a special programme celebrating Hong Kong’s Johnnie To, called “The Hood in the City”, while French director Jean-Jacques Beineix will heads the jury for the New Currents award that honours new Asian directors.

“The Message”, a spy thriller set in 1942 in a part of China ruled by a puppet government controlled by Japan, closes the festival. The movie is from Taiwanese director and producer Chen Kuo-fu. A complete listing a films is available at the festival’s web site.

And to answer a question that comes up every year, Pusan and Busan are one of the same. The city was named Pusan when the festival began but after then, the South Korean government changed the style it used for Romanizing place names. Under the new system, the city became Busan. The name of the festival did not change.

(Handout pictures provided by the Pusan International Film Festival of “Good Morning President” seen above and “The Message” below)

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