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Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2020 (21st-30th October)

Busan International Film Festival Logo

The full programme for the 2020 edition of the Busan International Film Festival was announced earlier this month as was the format of the festival.

This year’s edition is smaller than previous years where there would typically be multiple screenings of 300 features and shorts. Now there are 192 films from 68 countries and each film will screen only one time.

The reduced format sees all but a handful of physical screenings and events cancelled or moved online. This includes the opening and closing ceremonies, receptions, on-stage greetings, talks and guest meetings. The priority is safety but people can still enjoy films, many of which are available to view online via (Korea only).

So, the fest will take place from October 21st to the 30th and it features a great selection of films from across the world. Titles that I have already reviewed (forgive me for plugging my own writing) are Happy Old Year and Beasts Clawing at Straws. I have not seen any of the Japanese titles, many of which look awesome.

Here’s the line-up:

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Japanese Films at the Busan International Film Festival 2019 (03rd-12th October)

Busan International Film Festival Logo

This year’s Busan International Film Festival is the 24th in the series and it runs from October 03rd to the 12th. This is the first time that I have covered Busan but it has been on the cards for a while because, much like Tokyo and Osaka, it’s a good place to scout out Asian films. There is a great slate of titles from some soon-to-be-released mainstream films to indie movies and there are familiar titles featured at other festivals.

Here are the titles!

The Opening Film is:

The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time    The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time Film Poster

オルジャスの白い馬Oruhasu no Shiroi Uma

Release Date: January 18th, 2020

Duration: 84 mins.

Director: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov, Lisa Takeba

Writer: Yerlan Nurmukhambetov (Screenplay),

Starring: Dulyga Akmolda, Madi Minaidarov, Mirai Moriyama, Samal Yeslyamova,

Website IMDB

This road movie/western is a co-production between Kazakhstan/Japan and brought to the big screen via Tokyo New Cinema. It is the work of two directors, Yerlan Nurmukhambetov who won the New Currents Award in Busan International Film Festival 2015, and Lisa Takeba. Yes, that Lisa Takeba with the fierce imagination who made The Pinkie (2014) and Haruko’s Paranormal Laboratory (2015). In his first overseas role, Mirai Moriyama (The Drudgery Train) takes one of the lead characters amongst a predominantly Kazakh cast.

It looks like an ambitious and fresh new movie production for Japan as it follows To the Ends of the Earth to new territories and stories. 

Synopsis: We are in the plains of the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, a world where horse thieves operate under vast skies and on huge grass plains. A family man is murdered by those thieves as he heads to a town market to sell his horses. This leaves his wife a widow and his children fatherless. The village comes together to help the wife hold the man’s funeral and then the wife decides to return to her family with her children. Then, another man who vanished from her life eight years ago appears and helps the woman move and takes one of the children, the son, under his wing, teaching him how to ride horses. The son of the wife resembles that man. The man and the boy go out on horseback together and track down the horse thieves…

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