The 28th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which takes place from Oct. 4 to 13, will present a special program that focuses on Korean Diasporic Cinema. The program will explore six works featuring Korean-American filmmakers and actors, highlighting their significance within the American film industry. The featured films are Past Lives (2023), Jamojaya (2023), Minari (2020), Burning (2018), Columbus (2017) and Searching (2018).
Past Lives, directed by Celine Song, won praise at this year’s Sundance Film Festival for its evocative romantic storyline. The film, starring Grace Cho and Teo Yoo, explores the threads of ‘inyun” or fate that entwine the lives of two Korean characters who were close as children and then separate when she moves to the USA. The characters reunite as adults and question their fate.
Jamojaya (2023) is the latest film written and directed by Justin Chon. It stars Yayu Unru and Brian “Rich Brian” Imanuel, who plays an Indonesian rap star struggling with his newfound celebrity. Chon also directed Blue Bayou, Ms. Purple, Gook, and four episodes of the Apple
Minari (2020), directed by Lee Isaac Chung, is the story of Korean immigrants who face difficult hurdles when starting a farm in the rural US. It stars Steven Yeun, Han Ye-ri and Youn Yuh-jung. Youn’s performance in the film won her the 2021 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Burning (2018), written and directed by Lee Chang-dong won, the 2018 Cannes Film Festival FIPRESCI Prize. The psychological thriller film stars Steven Yeun, Yoo Ah-In and Jeon Jong-seo. Burning was the first South Korean film to make the final nine-film shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film when nominated for the Academy Awards.
Columbus (2017) is written, directed, and edited by Kogonada, who also directed After Yang and some episodes of Pachinko. Columbus was his feature directorial debut. The film follows the son of a renowned architecture scholar, played by John Cho, while he’s stranded in Columbus, Indiana. The character explores and revels in the city’s architectural heritage.
Searching (2018) is a mystery thriller directed by Aneesh Chaganty as his feature debut. The film follows a father, played by Cho, who searches for his missing 16-year-old daughter with the help of a police detective, played by Debra Messing. Searching was the first mainstream Hollywood thriller headlined by an Asian-American actor.
The 2023 festival will feature a selection of new films by some of the world’s most influential filmmakers, including Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers, David Fincher’s The Killer, Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things, and Ken Loach’s The Old Oak. Also among the selection of films being screened are Agnieszka Holland’s Green Border, Marco Bellocchio’s Kidnapped, Alice Rohrwacher’s La Chimera, and Nanni Moretti’s A Brighter Tomorrow.
The BIFF Korean Diasporic Cinema program runs between Oct. 5 and 6.