Busan Film Festival films screened at Dartmouth
“Busan serves to showcase new and emerging work from filmmakers in Asia, and helps to promote it,” Robinson said. “The Asian Cinema Fund, which the festival is part of, works to fund some of the films that are shown.”
Busan was an apt choice for “Best in Show” because of the global emergence of Korean cinema, Robinson said.
“Korean film and Korean pop culture are really starting to be discovered worldwide these days,” Robinson said. “There is a lot of very interesting work coming out of this part of Asia right now.”
In South Korea, Robinson collaborated with Cho Young-Jung, one of the festival’s planners, to choose the five films. Robinson described the selection process as difficult, yet exciting.
The weekend kicked off on Friday night with “Nameless Gangster” (2012), described by Time Magazine as “the Korean mob film Scorsese would be proud of.” The film depicts the violence and corruption that ruled the streets of Korea during the military dictatorship.
The following afternoon featured “Jisuel” (2012), a politically charged drama based on the true story of the Jeju uprising on the Southern Korean island in 1948 that resulted in the massacre of thousands of civilians by the dictatorship’s troops. “Jisuel” was awarded the grand jury drama prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Audiences also attended “Television” (2012), the only film of the five that was produced in Bangladesh rather than South Korea. Robinson said he is particularly excited to show the film, a satire in which the Islamic fundamentalist beliefs of a small village are put to the test when its schoolteacher purchases a prohibited television set.
“You don’t come across comedies about Islamic fundamentalism from Bangladesh very often,” Robinson said.
“Pieta” (2012), the first Korean film to win a Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival, was shown later that evening. The dark melodrama follows an enforcer for a loan shark who suddenly encounters a woman who claims to be his mother.
The final film, “Red Scarf” (1964), is a restoration of one of the earliest Korean films to receive international acclaim. It is an action-packed patriotic saga about the lives of several South Korean fighter pilots during the Korean War. The Saturday showing most likely was the first screening of the film in the United States in the past 30 to 40 years, Robinson said.
Alex Stockton ’15, who attended previous Best in Show screenings, said he looked forward to hearing Cho’s perspective on the Busan selections.
“It’s always interesting see how directors and programmers approach running a film festival,” Stockton said. “I’m really excited to find out what the representative from Busan has to say.”
Stockton said there is often a stigma against foreign films, because people are less willing to read subtitles or are unsure of what to expect. He hopes the Best in Show will help to change these perceptions.
“I hope that people who go this weekend discover an appreciation for foreign cinema like I have,” Stockton said. “There are a lot more great films out there than those made in the U.S.”
The films were screened in Loew Auditorium at the Black Family Visual Arts Center this weekend.