October 17, 2005


GRAIN IN EARBigger and better, this year's Pusan Film Fest is counting the tickets sold, looking back on good times, and cleaning up the discarded tissues soaked with tears of joy from hordes of teenaged girls who camped outside hotels to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. People slept in theaters in order to grab a ticket to the next day's early films, Sammi Cheng showed up looking healthy and ate some ginseng chicken with Stanley Kwan, and Japanese heartthrob, Satoshi Tsumabuki, dashed out of a panel discussion with A BITTERSWEET LIFE star, Lee Byung-Hun, only to return moments later, apologizing profusely and saying that nerves had caused him to take an emergency bathroom break.

The festival had a record 307 movies, sold 192,970 tickets, and had 7,647 media and celebrity guests (almost every celeb attending was Asian). On the other hand, people were pretty dismissive of the quality of films and couldn't name a single stand-out Korean film. The independent Korean film, THE UNFORGIVEN, about the dehumanizing experience of joining the army, was the big winner (four prizes) and the Chinese/Korean co-production GRAIN IN EAR, about a woman operating an illegal kim chee stand, won the "New Currents" prize. Although everyone calls it GRAIN IN EAR, and the poster reads GRAIN IN EAR, could the actual translation of the title be "AN EAR OF GRAIN" as in "an ear of corn"? Dunno, but that's what Xinhua is calling it, in a rare moment of insight. (Of course, they're also repeating the shaky rumor that Michelle Yeoh is going to be in INDIANA JONES 4, a rumor sourced to an idle two-sentence exchange between Steven Spielberg and Yeoh. The rumor is popping up everywhere, but folks: the movie hasn't even been written yet.)

Western festival folks (from Toronto, Cannes and Sundance) are sick and tired of schmoozing and voice their admiration for Pusan's fan-driven festival, while poo-pooing Pusan's intentions to start a market as part of the festival in 2006.

Finally, CJ Entertainment has picked up the local rights to five Asian movies to be part of "The CJ Collection": BE WITH ME (Eric Khoo, Singapore); CITIZEN DOG (Wisit Sasantieng, Thailand); MIDNIGHT MY LOVE (Kongdej Jaturanrassamee, Thailand); MONGOLIAN PING PONG (Ning Hao, China) and POET OF THE WASTES (Iran, Mohammed Ahmadi).

Set pic from DAISYAnd, finally, people are saying that what caused the most excitement at the festival was the trailer for Andrew Lau's (INFERNAL AFFAIRS) next film: DAISY. Starring Jeon Ji-Hyun (MY SASSY GIRL) and set in Amsterdam you can find a zillion set photos for the movie here, as well as detailed production info.

Last but not least, and on a related note, a sharp eyed reader just informed me that Lau's last movie, INITIAL D, which ate up the Asian box office all summer, has finally found an America buyer: Tai Seng. Nothing wrong with Tai Seng, but they usually get movies that every other Western distributor has passed on. Ouch.

October 17, 2005 at 10:27 AM in News | Permalink


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