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Dir/scr: Shin Suwon. South Korea. 2012. 120mins

Arguably one of the strongest films at this year’s Busan Film Festival thus far, Pluto, is a stupendous feature that is likely to make its impression felt on the festival market, while it also has some potential for further distribution.

Pluto is a bold film that is also bound to stir debate even though the narrative itself is totally fictional.

After winning an award in Cannes this year for her short Circle Line where she received the Canal+ Prize, Shin Suwon has established a name in the industry for her talent, which is now further strengthened by this excellent feature.

Shin who was a middle school teacher before she became a filmmaker explores the competitive nature of the Korean education system through a compelling narrative that weaves between past and present as it tells the story of a student who is forced to conduct a number of cruel tasks in order to enter an exclusive club at a prestigious school.

Korean cinema of late has seen equally challenging films including sleeper-hits Unbowed (2011) and The Crucible (2011) and while these films are based on true stories, Pluto is a bold film that is also bound to stir debate even though the narrative itself is totally fictional.

The film is also strong technically throughout with little signs of any budget restraints, which is in part down to a wise move not to include any overly ambitious sequences that could jeopardise its impressive aesthetic.

The leading and supporting roles are well-cast with particular mention to the main lead: David Lee who delivers the necessary intensity as the student who becomes increasingly hostile. The film also features rising star Sang June and Kim Khot-bi (Breathless, 2009), which should also help raise the profile of the film, both locally and abroad, as it’s sure to continue its strong festival run. 

Production company/contact: SH Film,

Producers: Shin Sanghan & Francis Lim

Cinematography: Yoon Jiwoon

Editor: Lee Do-hyun

Production designer: Sakong Hee

Music: Ryu Jae-ah

Main cast: David Lee, Sung June, Kim Kkot-bi

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