Busan 2023 2

Source: Showbox / BIFF

‘Because I Hate Korea’, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF, October 4-13) has revealed the full line-up for its 2023 edition and announced that Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat will receive the Asian Filmmaker of the Year award.

The festival in South Korea will open with the world premiere of Jang Kun-jae’s Because I Hate Korea and close with Ning Hao’s Chinese film industry satire The Movie Emperor, starring Andy Lau, following its debut at Toronto.

At an online press conference today, organisers also revealed that Hong Kong star Chow Yun-fat will receive the honorary Asian Filmmaker of the Year award in-person at the opening ceremony of the festival. A special focus on the actor will comprise screenings of John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow, Ang Lee’s four-time Oscar winner Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and recent release One More Chance by Anthony Pun.

The Korean Cinema Award will honour late actress Yun Jung-hee, who died in January and was a leading star in the heyday of Korean films in the 1960s and 1970s, later winning awards for Lee Chang-dong’s 2010 feature Poetry. There will be screenings of Poetry and her acclaimed 1967 feature Mist. There will also be special screenings to celebrate late Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto.

BIFF has faced major internal struggles in recent months, with the departure of festival director Huh Moonyung in May and managing director Cho Jongkook in June as well as the resignation of chairman Lee Yong-kwan. Addressing this, the festival has appointed Parasite star Song Kang-ho as Host of BIFF, “in consideration of BIFF’s transformative stage this year,” and will represent the festival in various capacities, such as welcoming guests at the opening ceremony.

Organisers are hoping this will help rebuild the reputation of the event, which acting BIFF festival director Nam Dong-chul said had seen sponsors fall away, leading to a reduction of its budget to around $7.45m (KRW10bn).

The Movie Emperor

Source: Courtesy of BIFF

The Movie Emperor

Nevertheless, the 10-day festival will screen 209 films from 69 countries in its official selection, including 80 world premieres. A further 60 films make up its Community BIFF selection. A total of 25 screens will be used across four theatres: Busan Cinema Center, CGV Centum City, Lotte Cinema Centum City and Lotte Cinema Daeyoung.

High-profile guests set to attend the festival include Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, US actor John Cho and filmmakers Luc Besson, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Bertrand Bonello, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Lee Isaac Chung and Mohsen Makhmalbaf.

BIFF’s gala presentations will include Kore-eda’s Cannes award-winner Monster, Bonello’s Venice Competition title The Beast and Han Shuai’s Green Night, which premiered in Panorama at this year’s Berlinale and stars Fan.

Titles in its 30-strong Icons strand include Justine Triet’s Palme d’Or winner Anatomy Of A Fall, Nicolas Philibert’s Berlin Golden Bear winner On The Adamant and Venice Competition titles Evil Does Not Exist by Hamaguchi, David Fincher’s The Killer, Agnieszka Holland’s The Green Border and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things. Further titles include Ken Loach’s The Old Oak, Wim Wenders’ Anselm, Wang Bing’s Youth (Spring), Aki Kaurismaki’s Fallen Leaves, Tran Anh Hung’s The Pot-Au-Feu and two features from Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo, In Our Day and In Water.

A sidebar dedicated to Korean-American filmmakers, titled Korean Diasporic Cinema, will include six titles: Celine Song’s Sundance hit Past Lives, Lee Isaac Chung’s Oscar-winner Minari, Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, Justin Chon’s Jamojaya and Kogonada’s Columbus.

The Open Cinema strand comprises Besson’s Dogman, Thomas Cailley’s The Animal Kingdom, Anthony Pun’s One More Chance, Karan Johar’s Rocky And Rani’s Love Story, and the international premiere of Isao Yukisada’s Revolver Lily.

BIFF previously announced the titles for its New Currents and Jiseok competitions, a focus on Indonesian cinema and its Korean Cinema Today strand.

The Asian Content and Film Market will run parallel to the festival in Busan from October 7-10.