THE 23rd Busan International Film Festival wrapped up Saturday after a 10-day run, with organizers announcing its prize winners. South Korean film “Clean Up” and Chinese title “Savage” shared the top New Currents prizes, the festival’s main competition section, organizers of the festival announced. This year, a total of 10 films by first- and second-time Asian filmmakers vied for the honors.
Directed by Cui Siwei, “Savage” stars “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” star Chang Chen and “Black Coal, Thin Ice” actor Liao Fan (winner of the Berlinale best actor award) as a cop and criminal, respectively. Helmed by Kwon Man-ki, “Clean Up” is a psychological drama about a woman who is forced to face her dark past when she meets a convicted criminal.
The New Currents jury praised Savage as “a strikingly accomplished and riveting first film, exhibiting a mastery of genre cinema, with multi-dimensional characters and thrilling action sequences.” Judges noted that “Clean Up” was “original, surprising and deeply emotional, with detailed characterization, perfect control and masterful psychological development.”
The jury, headed by Korean director Kim Hong-joon, included Japanese actor Kunimura Jun, Macedonian actress Labina Mitevska, Sydney Film Festival director Nashen Moodley and Hong Kong producer Shi Nansun.
The Kim Jiseok Award was also shared, by “Rona, Azim’s Mother,” an Afghanistan-Iran co-production by Jamshid Mahmoudi, and “The Rib,” a Chinese film by Zhang Wei. The award was launched in honor the festival’s co-founder and head programmer, who passed away suddenly last year.
The Actor and Actress of the Year awards, given to talents in titles featured in the Korean Cinema Today — Vision section, went to two actresses this year: Lee Ju-yeong for her role in “Maggie” and Choi Hee-seo in “Our Body.”
This year’s festival was also notable for re-attracting festivalgoers after a controversial government censorship scandal. South Korean filmmakers who had boycotted the event in deference of its autonomy came back this year after its ousted co-founders, Lee Yong-kwan and Jay Jeon, were reinstated earlier this year.
In all, 324 films from 79 countries were screened this year, according to organizers. BIFF drew a total of 191,000 festival-goers. (SD-Agencies)