12nd Pusan sieh Busan - der frühere Name ist Pusan

China, October 4 - October 12 2007

The jury

Ronald Bergan (UK), Diego Brodersen (Argentina), Harri Römpötti (Finland), Nirmal Dhar (India), Cho Hye-jung ()

Awarded films

This year’s Pusan International Film Festival was bigger than its eleven predecessors — with 274 films from 64 countries — while still maintaining its pre-eminence among festivals in promoting, discovering and rediscovering Asian films. Bigger does not necessarily mean better, and there was some criticism in the local press (and in “Variety”) about the choices and organization — there were delays, last-minute cancellations and a shortage of stars and directors. Apparently, Ennio Morricone complained about the way he was treated on stage at the opening rain-sodden ceremony. (The courteous festival director Kim Dong-Ho even made a public apology for some of the mishaps.)

All this passed the FIPRESCI jury by. We concentrated on the “New Currents” competition of new first or second Asian features, the majority of which were world premieres. All our screenings in the multiplex Megabox theatres started on time, and were packed with the most well-behaved audiences on earth. Among the eleven films we saw, there were at least five worthy of consideration for our award: Flowers in the Pocket (Malaysia), Tribe (Philippines), Wonderful Town (Thailand), Life Track (China-Korea) and the eventual winner, Red Awn (China). Not a bad average.

We also had time to sample the films in the fascinating Korean Cinema Retrospective, which included the earliest extant Korean film, Sweet Dream (1936). The quality of the new Korean films this year was considered less good. No complaints about the food, however. Especially the dinner we had at a Japanese-style restaurant where we were kindly invited by our Korean FIPRESCI colleagues. (Ronald Bergan)