PIFF 2009 – Day 1

I’m sitting in the second-floor guest lounge at PIFF Center, which at this time of the day, 4pm, is very active. It’s the first day of the 2009 Pusan International Film Festival. Or, as I like to think of it, the best time of the year to be in Busan. People are greeting and meeting, perusing the catalog, reserving tickets, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, taking pictures, and doing business. As a media professor, I get a guest pass every year. So for a whole week, I watch as many free movies as I can squeeze in and enjoy some prime people-watching.

This spot always brings out an odd combination of young hipster types (filmmakers and film buffs) and older dudes in black suits (producers and other money people). This is like my little slice of Seoul. A good chunk of these folks are down from Seoul, but it also brings out the rare artists within our own relatively humble cowboy town of 4 million. You can usually tell who the directors are — something about the choice in eyeglass frames and sweater pattern. Creative people also, for whatever reason, have that look about them. They carry themselves differently. Outside I mostly see college students hanging out on the beach, laughing and gathering into small groups, just wanting to be part of the action I suppose.

I’ve got four tickets for tomorrow. I like to gravitate toward Korean offerings, or those films that seem weirdly constructed, or have a possible sound design angle to them. Tomorrow I’ll see Scandinavian film Metropia (“Roger hears voices…”), Korean films Dear Music: That is, their fantasy heading for the sea (seriously, that’s the title) and Like You Know It All, and Sleepless by Italian director Dario Argento, a guest at this year’s festival.

I’ll be carrying my laptop around all during the festival, so I hope to post a good supply of updates and reviews over the next eight days. Happy PIFFing!

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