This year was the 12th annual Pusan International Film Festival and since I missed it last year despite being down here in the local area, I wasn’t about to miss it again given that I live in the city. However, before I was able to see the 3 movies I saw today, my outlook was a bit dim. Friends of mine were saying “You have to wait in HUGE lines & it won’t be worth it. You’ll probably get a movie or two that nobody wants to see.” Others were mentioning how hard it was for them to figure out how to secure tickets.
Nevertheless, I woke up this early Sunday morning around 8:30a, which isn’t that early for such a HUGELY demanded event like this and took my 50 minute subway ride (with two transfers 😉 to Jangsan Station, the end of line 3 (the green line) here in Busan. Again, you can spell the city’s name with a “P” or a “B.” I believe it started to be spelled with the letter “P” since foreigners and linguists pronounced it with more of a “P” sound. However, in recent years, there’s been more emphasis on trying to get it to it’s original Korean phonetic spelling which is with a “B” — as you can see in Hangul, Busan is spelled “부산” where the consonant “ㅂ” usually stands for the letter “B.” There is actually a consonant in Korean for the letter “P” which looks like this: “ㅍ.” Hopefully, this clears up the mystery why you have both spellings almost everywhere…
When I arrived at the Primus movie theatres** at Jangsan Station around 9:25a, where they were selling the tickets to any of the movie venues, it was starting to get busy, but far from any chaos I was expecting. Koreans start their days late & it looks like even the fans from all over the world were also starting their days late in line with the Koreans. While I failed to do any research on the movies I wanted to see, I just looked for the ones that seemed to be available and back to back in the schedule & hopefully get as many of them in on this one day I have “off” per week.
I chose the theatre, which happened to be the Megabox theatre off of Haeundae Station***, which had the most consecutive movies I could watch today. I wanted to get as many as I could. I approached the box office & asked what movies were sold out before even wasting a minute on looking through the details on each. The movies that had several theatres dedicated to them were mostly sold out. So, I ended up picking “White Night” (a Denmark flick), “Beyond the Years” (a Korean movie about “pan sori“) and “Une journe’e” (a French movie actually translated as “that day” in English). After pondering for a bit, I thought I wanted to get as much International exposure as possible and went back up to see if I could get a refun 5 minutes after I bought them & they said “no, you have to try to sell them” at a booth in front of them. So, I registered my tickets for the sale of the 2nd flick and ended up buying tickets instead to “Daughter of Chorolque” (a documentary about women miners in Bolivia).
“White Night” was impressive. It had a great plot and the acting was decent. I’m no movie critic, but it was my favorite out of the 3. The next movie, “Daughter of Chorolque” was well made by the first time movie producer/director, but I was tired & ended up sleeping through a bit of it. The movie is quite timely given all the mine accidents that have been reported in recent weeks and months. The graphic images of the accidents that occur to the female miners were really appalling and the stories of the men who left their wives were sad. The last movie “Une journe’e” well really well made & I liked the way they recounted events in the movie through different perspectives of different characters. My belief that French men are cheaters was reinforced, but at the same time, the story was sad as well.
**To get to the Primus Movie Theatres really easy, just get off the Jangsan Station (the last station on line 2 on the east side). Walk out Exit 9 on the far west side of the subway station. There is a set of flat escalators at the end of the exit. Just take that up & pop out the left & walk into the building & take the elevator to the 7th floor.
***For the Megabox theatres, just stop at the Haeundae Station and get out exit #1 heading towards sFUNz, a large department store about 2 blocks away. Before reaching the department store, you should see the Shee-weh (“outside town”) Bus terminal on the immediate right of the exit. Exit #5 & #3 go toward Haeundae beach which has a lot of festivities for the festival.