Busan International Film Festival: 8 Best Movies Resonating in 2022

At the 2022 Busan International Film Festival, some of the most talked about films offered a mirror to society. The films came from all over the world, but there was often something universal about the themes that appealed to them: most importantly, the choices women face or have been taken away from them.

The annual festival made a full comeback after a scaled-down version last year (the mask mandate was maintained and most social activities took place outdoors), and this year’s festival featured 242 films from 71 countries. Themes of motherhood, family, iniquity, race, heroism, horror and human struggle – especially for women – seemed particularly relevant given the political climate in many Many countries. It was a reminder that movies send our world back to us, and that we struggle and often find joy in the same way, despite cultural differences.

Here are the best films from the Busan International Film Festival that are worth checking out as soon as they find a home near you.

Broker

Broker is the first Korean film by Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu, who won the Palme d′Or with Shoplifters at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. The film stars veteran actor Song Kang-Ho (Parasite) who won Best Actor at Cannes this year for his portrayal of a kind and handsome broker of babies whom he steals from a baby drop box at a church in Busan to sell on the black market for adoption. But when a mother-of-baby, beautifully played by Lee Ji-eun (K-pop idol IU), returns for the baby and joins the search for a couple to adopt her baby, a tragic comedy ensues. The star-studded cast, which also includes Gang Dong-won, Bae Doona and Lee Joo-young, creates likable portrayals of characters who, on paper, commit nasty crimes, raising valid questions about who should be a parent and what defines the family.

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Ajoomma

A Singaporean “aunt” (“ajoomma” in Korean) is a neglected middle-aged widow who lives with her son and longs for the escape she finds in Korean dramas. In fact, her son has booked a vacation tour to Korea to visit the locations of a drama she loves. But when he abruptly gives up, she decides to go it alone rather than lose the money. Her journey quickly deviates from her fantasy world, forcing her into desperate situations. Singaporean director He Shuming said he wanted to make a film about a middle-aged woman out of respect for her mother and, simultaneously, to embrace melodrama. He cast character actress Hong Huifang for the lead role. The result, a charming tale that wraps restraint and compassion around farce, was noted as a festival favorite by many (especially young) viewers. For K-drama fans, there are a few hidden Easter eggs.

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