The MVPs of the Pusan International Film Festival 2010: My Picks for the Best Films
The 15th edition of the Pusan (now Busan) International Film Festival, the largest film festival in Asia, was a transitional year in many senses.
First, Kim Dong-ho, the long-time founder of the festival who was the face of the festival, his avuncular, gregarious presence a ubiquitous fixture, decided to retire from the festival, handing the reins to his co-director Lee Yong-kwan.
Second, it was announced sometime before the festival that it would at long last have its own home, the Busan Cinema Center in Haeundae, rather than the assortment of multiplexes it inhabited in past editions. Lastly, well after the end of the festival, its very name changed. Hereafter, the “Pusan” would change to “Busan,” to conform to the recent change of Korean romanization that affected the name of its namesake city; now the festival would transform its branding to reflect this.
As usual, the festival was a cinematic feast of challenging, emotional, innovative, and provocative films. This year, there were a total of 306 films from 67 countries, slightly less than last year, but still a staggering number; it’s impossible to sample much more tan a tiny fraction.
In addition to the press conferences, parties, and other festival events – the most memorable being an outdoor talk with actress Juliette Binoche, and two of her directors who were visiting the festival, Abbas Kiarostami (“Certified Copy”) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (“Flight of the Red Balloon”) – I managed to see 30 films in total. Below are the ones that stood out the most for me.