SEPTET: THE STORY OF HK Ushers in 192-Film Strong Program
Despite fears throughout the year that it might not take place owing to the global pandemic, the Busan International Film Festival was eventually able to open the doors to its 25th edition last Wednesday, October 21.
The Hong Kong omnibus Septet: The Story of HK kicked off the event, which has been scaled down to combat the spread of COVID-19. Though it was selected for the Cannes Film Festival, the film had its world premiere in Busan. It was directed by top Hong Kong filmmakers such as Johnnie TO, Sammo HUNG and the late Benny CHANG.
192 films from 68 countries are being screened in Busan this year, and each film will only screen once. All screenings are taking place in the Korean Cinema Center in Centum City, with indoor screening capped at 50 seats, while the outdoor venue is limited to 100 visitors. Temperature checks and QR code logins are required before admittance and masks must be worn during all screenings, while tickets must be booked in advance online.
Events such as the Asian Film Awards, taking place in Korea for the first time, the Asia Contents Awards and the Asian Film Market have moved online. All ceremonies and events in Busan have either been cancelled or moved online.
Among the major films screening in Busan this year are Lee Isaac CHUNG’s Minari, a potential Oscar contender that stars Steven YEUN, HAN Ye-ri and YOUN Yuh-jung, as well as new titles for Asian masters, such as KAWASE Naomi’s True Mothers, Ann HUI’s Love After Love and KUROSAWA Kiyoshi’s Wife of a Spy. Meanwhile, a remastered version of WONG Kar Wai’s 2000 classic In the Mood for Love is also receiving a gala screening. Closing the event on October 30 will be the world premiere of Josee, the Tiger and the Fish, an animated adaptation of the 2003 Japanese cult classic of the same name.