Iranian film about disabled father to open Asia's top film festival

·2-min read

An Iranian film about a disabled father who looks after his paralysed son will open Asia's biggest film festival next month, organisers said Wednesday as the event returns to "fully normal" for the first time since the pandemic started.

The Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) will run from October 5-14 and feature 243 movies from 71 countries, including 89 that will have their world premiere.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival was reduced to a fraction of its usual scale in 2020 while last year's edition took place with social distancing measures.

But next month, the annual event in the South Korean port city will be "fully normalised for the first time in three years since Covid-19," festival director Huh Moon-young told reporters.

"We feel fortunate to be able to play the role of Asia's best film festival again."

The upcoming edition will open with Iranian filmmaker Hadi Mohaghegh's "Scent of Wind", which tells the story of a father and a son -- both of whom have disabilities -- living in a remote village.

Mohaghegh's film is "very small and quiet, but it's really a great movie that has a tremendous amount of resonance and emotion that cannot be compared to its size," Huh said.

Japanese director Kei Ishikawa's drama "A Man", about a widow who discovers unexpected truths about her late husband, will close the edition.

The film is "elegant and calm", festival director Huh said, while offering a memorable exploration of identity and belonging.

- Honouring Tony Leung  -

This year's festival will honour Hong Kong's acclaimed actor Tony Leung, having selected him as the recipient of its "Asian Cineaste of the Year" prize.

It will screen six films featuring Leung, who will visit Busan to receive the award and meet with the viewers.

Leung, 60, who is best known for his collaborations with famed director Wong Kar Wai, picked the six films himself -- which include Wong's "In the Mood for Love" (2000) and "Happy Together" (1997).

Other anticipated screenings include Korean-Canadian director Anthony Shim's "Riceboy Sleeps," which tells the story of a Korean immigrant single mother, said festival's programmer Nam Dong-chul.

The film is garnering comparisons to "Minari", Nam said --  a 2020 drama about South Korean immigrants in the United States, which received rave reviews and a slew of awards, including the best supporting actress Oscar.

A documentary film about late BIFF chief programmer Kim Ji-seok -- who died in 2017 while attending the Cannes festival -- will also get a world premiere during the upcoming festival, Nam said.

One of the most respected film programmers in the South, Kim founded BIFF with two others in 1996 and is largely credited as one of the most critical guiding forces behind its success.

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