'Currents' in motion

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-10-8 20:03:01

Actress Shahana Goswami and actor Devesh Ranjan at the 18th Busan International Film Festival on October 5, 2013. Photo: CFP

Actress Shahana Goswami and actor Devesh Ranjan at the 18th Busan International Film Festival on October 5, 2013. Photo: CFP

The water crisis of India, a family dispute in Kazakhstan, and the inner struggle of a Mongolian teenager - works of emerging Asian filmmakers invited to the 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea display a diverse Asia.

Twelve films from 11 countries invited to "New Currents," the event's main competition section, wrapped up their world or international premieres on Monday, half-way through the festival's 10-day run.

"Those emerging directors who enter into the new currents section are new leaders of the Asian film industry, whose works cover different themes and reflect a diverse Asia," said Kim Ji-Seok, executive programmer of BIFF on Monday.

As one of the most significant film festivals in Asia, the Busan Film Festival this year embraces a total 299 films from 70 countries, reflecting the growing Asian film industry in recent years.

Echoing the diverse film subjects is a vibrant jury led by Iranian director Rakhshan Banietemad and her counterparts from Japan, South Korea, the US and France.

"We are looking for some new voices from Asian cinema. Unknown filmmakers rarely have chances to show their film and search for investors, now it is an important opportunity for them," said Banietemad.

The New Currents award will offer two prizes of $30,000 to first or second-time Asian directors.

Unlike the three traditional international film festivals in Venice, Cannes and Berlin, BIFF focuses on discovering new talent and tapping into the potential of Asian cinema.

A common trait among this year's selection is a reflection on the vanishing virtues of the community and an awareness of pressing social issues, according to the BIFF jury.

In his first feature film Jal (Water), director Girish Malik tells of India's water shortages and the wellspring of corruption they breed through the story of a mystic named Bakka, who aides a team of European bird specialists to build a pond to protect flamingos.

"We show the beautiful landscape of India's Great Rann of Kutch. People go there for sightseeing and come back with beautiful memories, but without caring about people living there. We must draw people's attention to the water crisis and other hardships the villagers are going through there," said Malik.

In Mongolia's capital of Ulan Bator, teenager Tsog not only controls the TV of a woman living in the opposite building with a remote control, but also her life, a plane in the sky and even the whole world.

Mongolian director Byamba Sakhya's debut feature film Remote Control is the first Mongolian film to premiere among the BIFF's New Currents. "Mongolia is just like the teenage boy of my film - he looks like a man eager for power, but still very young and naive," Sakhya explained, adding that he aimed to reflect the struggles for new identities during social transition.

Transit, the first feature of Philippine director Hannah Espia, tackles the grief of Philippine laborers working in Tel Aviv, Israel as a local law threatens to deport their children.

"I want to show the struggle of migrant workers in terms of their identity and culture," said Espia. "Immigrant children don't know what nationality they belong to, while the adults - Filipinos and Israelis alike - harbor hostility toward one another."

Many selected films are also marked with bold experimentation, according to the BIFF jury.

Kazakh director Alexey Gorlov's second feature, A Story of an Old Woman, criticizes the selfish nature of man through how a family treats their aging mother Anna for the sake of money. The director shoots the entire 75-minute film in a single take, starting from Anna's arrival home to the very last scene.

"In this way, I try to make the audience feel that they take part in the scene they are watching," said Gorlov.

According to Aoyama Shinji, BIFF jury member and Japanese director, finding a new and specific way of telling a story matters just as much as the story itself. 

"But the next step is to bring these excellent Asian films to the world. The BIFF will work as a network to help the global movie industry discover new Asian films," said Shinji.


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