The Pusan festival, Asia's premier cinema showcase now in its seventh edition, got off to an uneven start with a mixture of charming details and logistical headaches.
VIPs arriving at the opening night ceremony, for instance were given first use of an awesome new road-bridge spanning the bay and more than halving the journey-time from one end of the two centred event to the other. The bridge, which has yet to be opened to the public was promptly closed again. Asked why the festival visitors were allowed to travel this way when the public is not, one official explained helpfully that the bridge has not yet been tested.
The lack of fast communications between the old festival centre in Nampo-dong and the high-tech tourist resort Haeun-dae where the Pusan Promotion Plan is takes place from today, has caused a significant degree of frustration among some delegates who feel a wedge has been driven between executives and the talent. With taxi journeys between the two centres taking upto an hour and a half, other visitors feel they have to make an unenviable choice between seeing films and meeting industry figures.
The growing popularity of the festival has created its own headaches. Despite the use this year of additional screens in a new multiplex at Haeun-dae, screenings often sell out all too quickly. Queues of local residents desperate for tickets have been reported as forming as early as 3am.
Marking a high-point in the first days, France and Korea signed a cinema co-operation treaty over the weekend. The two countries have much in common in terms of cinema policy and protectionism. But the deal came only two days after a visiting French trade minister gave Korea a stern lecture on the misuse of the word "Champagne" which reminded everyone is copyright. In exchange for Korea not applying the name to its own sparkling wines, the diplomat agreed that France would not abuse the term Kimchi, Korea's pickled cabbage national dish.
A diplomatic disaster of a different kind was narrowly avoided when a festival organiser discovered that Virginie Ledoyen, in town for Francois Ozon' 8 Femmes was a L'Oreal representative and would not be able to use kit supplied by the festival make supplier, Chanel. Alternative arrangements were hastily made.
And Ozon delicately put a foot in his mouth when asked by a journalist what was the most recent Korean film he had seen. Ozon, whose love affair with womankind is well documented in his films, admitted that he had only seen samples of Korea's erotic output so far.