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17th Busan International Film Festival, 2012

"36" (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit)

The 17th edition of the Busan International Film Festival took place October 4-13, 2012 in this southern port of South Korea. In 2011, the festival underwent major changes when Lee Yong-kwan took over directorial duties from the founding director Kim Dong-ho, and the headquarters were moved to the impressive new Busan Film Center. In his second year, Lee managed to increase audience numbers, and the festival continues to be a major hub for Asian film, functioning particularly as a showcase for contemporary Korean cinema.

The FIPRESCI Jury, as well as the main jury led by Béla Tarr, watched the ten Asian debut films in the New Currents section at BIFF. The two awards of the main jury went to Kayan (Maryam Najafi, Lebanon/Canada) and 36 (Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit, Thailand), the second of which also won the FIPRESCI Prize. Another competition was in the Flash Forward section, where the jury lead by Arturo Ripstein chose Flower Buds (Poupata, Czech Republic) as the winner out of eight first or second films by non-Asian directors. A large selection of recent films from festivals around the world was screened to the great interest of local audiences who enthusiastically filled the cinemas. The festival also had special sections on works from the Afghanistan National Archives and films by Polish masters such as Jerzy Skolimowski and Krzysztof Kieslowski. Other highlights included a section on Sergei Paradjanov and Mikhail Vartanov, as well as a retrospective on Shin Young-kyun, "the male icon of Korean cinema". The Busan International Film Festival is also significant for its parallel events, particularly the Asian Film Market, attended by production and distribution companies not only from Asia but from all around the world. The Busan Cinema Forum, now in its second year, is a parallel academic event aiming to bring scholars and the industry together. The theme of this year's edition was "Politics of Film Restoration and Preservation in the Digital Era." (Melis Behlil)

17th Busan International Film Festival (Korea, October 4-13, 2012, FIPRESCI Jury: Melis Behlil (Turkey, president), Pablo Utin (Israel), Jake Wilson, (Australia), Madhu Eravankara (India), YOOK Jung-Hak (Korea). FIPRESCI Prize: 36 by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit (Thailand, 2012, 68 min). Production: Pop Pictures, Tel: 02-691-6770, Fax: 02-691-6771, web:, e-mail:,


36. Pablo Utin dwells on the Fipresci and official Jury winner from Thailand: Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit's impressive debut 36. arrow.
The Virgin Suicides: 111 Girls. Jake Wilson discusses one of Fipresci Jury's favorite entries in the New Currents competition: 111 girls, by Bijan Zmanpira and Nahid Ghobadi. arrow.
Watching Avatar in Busan. Melis Behlil searches the reasons for the recurrent references to James Cameron's Avatar in different Busan's films. arrow.
When Light Touches Softly. Madhu Eravankara reviews the touching Taiwanese film that became the audeince's favorite in Busan: Chang Jung-Chi's Touch of the Light. arrow.



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Busan 2012

bullet. Index
bullet. 36
bullet. The Virgin Suicides
bullet. Watching Avatar in Busan
bullet. When Light Touches Softly