- POSTED: 12 Oct 2013 13:22
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Two wildly diverse takes on modern love and obsession have taken the top prize Asia's largest film festival, which draws to a close Saturday.
BUSAN, South Korea: Two wildly diverse takes on modern love and obsession have taken the top prize Asia's largest film festival, which draws to a close Saturday.
Jurors in the New Currents award at the 18th Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) lauded Korean director Ahn Song-Kyoung's "Pascha" for its "intimate, highly original expression of an unusual love story".
At the same time they hailed "Remote Control", from Mongolia's Byamba Sakhya, as a "sharply observed portrait of the tensions between city and country, reality and fiction".
Both filmmakers receive $30,000 for the award, which offers two prizes and is open to first and second-time Asian directors.
The prizes will be formally presented at BIFF's closing ceremony Saturday night.
Ahn's film tells the heart-breaking tale of a 40-year-old woman trying to hold on to her 17-year-old boyfriend and the second-time director said she had wanted to focus on the turning points in people's lives.
"I am interested in the moments in life when we become disillusioned and are forced to make decisions," she explained.
Meanwhile Sakhya's look at a romantic obsession one neighbour develops for the other was designed to highlight a Mongolian society that is in "transition", the director said.
"The whole system is changing," said Sakhya. "It's challenging for everyone but it is still full of hope."
The New Currents jurors also awarded a Special Mention to the Philippine's Hannah Espia's for "Transit", a moving account of migrant life in Israel, which they said focused on an "unknown dimension" of life.
The film had been put forward as the Philippine selection for Oscar consideration.
The Busan festival sold just over 217,000 admission tickets for the 299 films screened over its 10-day run and has played host to a number of international and Asian stars, among them Oscar winner Quentin Tarantino and the Oscar-nominated Japanese actor Ken Watanabe.
Among the highlights for international guests has been the chance to catch Korean director Bong Joon-ho's English-language sci-fi thriller 'Snowpiercer", a box office smash in South Korea and a film which is being prepared for international distribution.
Oscar-winning Irish director Neil Jordan ("The Crying Game") delighted local audiences by saying that film world was looking to Korea for inspiration - after a record-breaking year at the local box office - and a wealth of talent in local cinema was certainly to the fore.
He cited Lee Yu-Bin's whimsical coming-of-age road trip "Shuttlecock" and the more commercially-driven revenge thriller "Dynamite Man", from director Jeong Hyuk-Won, as two examples.
Another production which created a buzz was Jung Yoon-Suk's gripping "Non-fiction Diary", named BIFF's best Korean documentary.
The film casts its gaze on a series of brutal murders in the 1990s, as well as two political scandals, as it shines an often bleak light on contemporary Korean history.
BIFF closes Saturday night with the world premiere of the Korean family drama "The Dinner", directed by Kim Dong-Hyun.