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The 16th Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival (PiFan) (19-29 July) will open with the world premiere of local omnibus Horror Stories and close with the Asian premiere of high school musical-romance MIIKE Takashi's For Love's Sake.
The eleven-day festival will screen 50 contemporary Asian features this year, in a lineup of approximately 100 new feature films. There are also several retrospectives, including a focus on local comedies from the 1970s and a tribute to local production house Myung Films.
As in recent years, films from South Korea and Japan dominate PiFan's Asian lineup, each representing one quarter of its contemporary Asian selection. They include OH Young-du's co-production Young Gun in the Time, presented at the festival's project market last year.
Highlights among the Japanese selection are ONE Hitoshi's Love Strikes!, Miike's Ace Attorney, SUZUKI Taichi's The Brat! and HIRAO Takayuki's animation Gyo. IGUCHI Noboru returns with Dead Sushi.
Outside Japan and South Korea, the strongest selections are from Hong Kong and India, with five films each, and Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia, with three films each. Less well represented are the vibrant genre cinemas of Thailand and the Philippines with just one film from each territory.
China, currently undergoing a renaissance in genre cinema, is represented with two films, Frant GWO and LI Yang's ambitious science fiction romance Lee's Adventure and ZHANG Li's romantic drama Flying With You starring South Korean idol JANG Na-ra.
Of the twelve titles in the "Puchon Choice" feature film competition, four are Asian: Upi's Belenggu, Soi CHEANG's Motorway, MORI Yoshitaka's Space Brothers and SHIOTANI Naoyoshi animation Blood-C: The Last Dark.
Unusually, there is no film from South Korea competing this year. Seven years after industry and academia figures called for a boycott of the event, the festival still struggles to secure upcoming local releases. Local film studios do co-operate with the festival but only supply films that have already had a theatrical release.
Local films opening in cinemas during the festival, including KIM Ik-ro's comedy A Millionaire on the Run (CJ, 19 July), CHOI Dong-hun's starry heist movie The Thieves (Showbox, 25 July) and opening film Horror Stories (Lotte, 26 July).
Two local horrors will likely still be showing in cinemas: PARK Jeong-wu's Deranged (CJ, 5 July) about a mutant parasite that threatened to wipe out the entire population, and KIM Dong-bin's Two Moon (Lotte, 12 July) about two strangers who wake up in a basement in a forest.
|1. Seeking Mr. Right|
2. Princess and Seven Kung Fu Masters
3. Ip Man: Final Fight
4. Journey to the West
5. An End to Killing