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The Apartment with Two Women, directed by Kim Se-in
The Apartment with Two Women, directed by Kim Se-in

The Korean film The Apartment with Two Women, directed by Kim Se-in, was the big winner at the 26th Busan International Film Festival, winning 5 awards including New Currents Award, KB New Currents Audience Award, NETPAC Award, Watcha Award, and Actress of the Year for Im Jee-ho. The jury was left impressed, commenting, “A film about the well explored antagonism between a mother and daughter was so particular to the world it was set in. Amazing performances by the two leading actors had me holding my breath at times.”

The Chinese film, Farewell, Hometown, director Er Zhuo Wang’s first feature film also took the New Currents Award, with the jury commenting, “Set against the dreamy landscape of the countryside and then the box-like tiers of suburban Beijing, followed by the centers of learning where the relevance of choices made in the past is pondered. The New Currents Award to this film is richly deserved.”

Winners of 26th Busan International Film Festival Awards

New Currents Award

[Winner 1] Farewell, My Hometown | WANG Er Zhuo | China

Jury Comment: Farewell, Hometown, director Er Zhuo Wang’s first feature film, opened the door of perception for one of our jury members, and literally helped the other members through the door so we could also see what had captivated and enthralled them about this enigmatic film. For enigmatic it is, with its gentle exploration of time, poverty, education and compromise the female protagonists make. Set against the dreamy landscape of the countryside and then the box-like tiers of suburban Beijing, followed by the centers of learning where the relevance of choices made in the past is pondered. The New Currents Award to this film is richly deserved.

[Winner 2] The Apartment with Two Women | KIM Se-in | Korea

Jury Comment: Let me quote my hero filmmaker Luis Buñuel who wisely said that, “The minute a film is particular, is the minute it becomes universal.” The Korean film The Apartment with Two Women, directed by Kim Se-in, struck that very note with me. A film about the well explored antagonism between a mother and daughter was so particular to the world it was set in. Amazing performances by the two leading actors had me holding my breath at times. The ultimate question one would ask this mother is, “Does self-determination mean selfishness?” We, the jury of the New Currents Section of the 26th edition of the marvellous Busan International Film Festival, are privileged to bestow the honor of the New Currents Award to The Apartment with Two Women.

Kim Jiseok Award

[Winner 1] The Rapist | Aparna SEN | India

Jury Comment: The director tried to cover all the elements behind the sexual assault case, including psychology, social environment, class, and religion. But the film is not only about the incident, it is also about Indian society and its ability to discuss and decide these kinds of issues.

[Winner 2] GENSAN PUNCH | Brillante Ma MENDOZA | Philippines/Japan

Jury Comment: Incredibly strong story narrated in a documentary style. It is not just a story of a hero’s path to victory, but a story of building human relationships. Okinawa and Gensokyo are two seemingly different worlds, but they are connected by the warmth of people and their beliefs.

[Special Mention] The Bargain | WANG Qi | China

Jury Comment: The film shows how Shanghai’s economy attracts manpower from rural area, only to discard people when they become redundant. This can be read as a confession by the top management that they have not created any capitalist legacy to pass on to the next generation.

BIFF Mecenat Award

[Winner-Korea] 206: Unearthed | HEO Chul-nyung | Korea/Thailand

Jury Comment: Heo Chul Nyung looks at the blood soaked ground that Koreans stand upon though his own point of view. Haunting traces of mass killings are framed with caring hands of volunteer excavators. Heo’s camera seems to console the deaths caused by the tragedy of the 20th century just like those careful hands of excavators who caress the excavated skulls and bones.

[Winner-Asia] Self-Portrait: Fairy Tale in 47KM | ZHANG Mengqi | China

Jury Comment: Zhang Mengqi’s self-portrait suggests a reflexive portrait beyond the self, the family and the village that the filmmaker identifies with. The empathy towards children, elderly and the land that they live is acquired through the filmmaker’s inevitable closeness and intended distance. We are inspired by the filmmaker’s dreams, her unique and creative vision of the self, who is warm hearted yet coolly self-aware.

Sonje Award

[Winner 1] A Winter Glove | LEE Hyeonju | Korea

Jury Comment: A Winter Glove delicately captures the subtle waves of emotion. The protagonist “In-kyung” experiences consecutive losses of her loved ones. However, the film does not conclude with loss. Rather, the film leaves a lasting afterimage by showing “In-kyung” moving on to the next chapter. The jury selected this work in order to express our support for the director’s moments of contemplation in the making of this film.

[Winner 2] The Sea Calls for Me | Tumpal TAMPUBOLON | Indonesia

Jury Comment: The filmmaker skilled with his masterful storytelling demonstrated the most basic human instinct to reconnect kinship through an unlikely object of desire. a timely reminder for us to remember what it takes to be human.

[Special Mention] Sarira | LI Mingyang | China

Jury Comment: The filmmaker transports the audience into the monochromatic world of urbanisation, using subtle humor to depict a fast vanishing world that has led human beliefs for thousands of years.

Actor & Actress of the Year

[Actor of the Year] KWON Daham | Through My Midwinter | Korea

Jury Comment: Kwon Daham, who played Kyunghak in Through My Midwinter, communicates with the audience by depicting the character’s psychology with his detailed approach to acting. At times, he invites the audience to the quotidian life that anyone can empathize with, while at other times, he provides an intensity that locks the viewers inside the mind of the character by creating a point of truthful identification. Once the identification is understood, the distance between the character and the viewer decreases naturally, leaving a lingering impression stemming from the sadness of the situation in the film. Moreover, Kwon Daham’s sincere acting style resonated with me deeply, and certainly became a dagger to my heart. This is why I have no doubt that he deserves the Actor of the Year award.

Finally, I was honored to be a part of the jury of the Actor & Actress of the Year. I want to express my deepest gratitude and compliment not only to the dedicated acting of all participating cast but also to the crew that contributed to the films with their passion and sincerity.

[Actress of the Year] IM Jee-ho | The Apartment with Two Women | Korea

Jury Comment: For the entire running time of The Apartment with Two Women, I was also saddened and lonely as I was following the emotional journey of the character. In particular, actress Im Jee-ho, who played the role of Yijung, builds the emotional trajectory layer by layer with her slow movements, engrossing the audience further in the film. She expressed the character in such an excellent way.

KB New Currents Audience Award

[Winner] The Apartment with Two Women | KIM Se-in | Korea

Flash Forward Audience Award

[Winner] Mass | Fran KRANZ | US

FIPRESCI Award

[Winner 1] Seire | PARK Kang | Korea

Jury Comment: Between ghosts’ legends inspired by folk traditions and the anguish of today’s man facing the birth of a child, a creative film where realism and fantastic are combined. A drama served by a rigorous direction that makes the most of the sober playing of the main actor.

NETPAC Award

[Winner] The Apartment with Two Women | KIM Se-in | Korea

Jury Comment: The director, KIM Se-in’s impressive first feature about a very complicated, undeclared war between mother and daughter with a great sense of humour with very committed bold storytelling and performances by IM Jee-ho and YANG Mal-bok. The film establishes from the start, a very tense problematic central relationship between the mother Sukyung and daughter Yijung, with a no dialogue intimate opening scene. This strong start drags us emotionally to the story, the characters’ different personalities, temperaments, and disappointments. The rest of the film adds a well written dialogues and that raises the tension more and more, involving physical and psychological abuse. But at the end, the film tells us there is no simple conclusion, there is no good or evil!

DGK MEGABOX Award

[Winner 1] Through My Midwinter | OH Seongho | Korea

[Winner 2] A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea | KIM Miyoung | Korea

Jury Comment (Both Winners): We are thankful for the time we got to spend while encountering excellent works of different textures. Instead of making a decision based on superiority, the jury of the DGK-Megabox Award selected films that each member of the jury supports based on one’s taste and tendency. In addition to a sincere approach to directing, Through My Midwinter and A Lonely Island in the Distant Sea showcase the excellent acting ability of their actors, who express such sincerity. We support and have high hopes for the next films of all directors in the Vision section.

CGV Arthouse Award

[Winner] Chorokbam | YOON Seo-jin | Korea

Jury Comment: The image of green, which usually symbolizes vitality, is used as a device to express the dark and empty feeling coming from the death of in the family, thereby presenting a calm and unique point of view.

KBS Independent Film Award

[Winner] Hot in Day, Cold at Night | PARK Songyeol | Korea

Jury Comment: Although at first glance this may look like an ordinary low-budget film telling a familiar story, immediately it grabs the viewer’s attention with its vivid characters, subtle wit, distinctive rhythm, precise camerawork, and well-balanced narrative. Park Songyeol and Won Hyangra have brought an exciting new energy to the Korean independent film scene.

CGK Award

[Winner] Chorokbam | CHOO Kyeong-yeob | Cinematographer | Korea

Jury Comment: This year’ s Korean films submitted to the Vision and New Currents sections of the Busan International Film Festival were diverse in terms of form and style. The CGK Award jury unanimously agreed on the cinematographer CHOO Kyeong-yeob of Chorokbam to be the recipient this year.

Through concise and restrained images, Choo makes a significant contribution not only to the affect of the film but also to the construction of storytelling. Further, he creates excellent visual aesthetics in terms of presenting the spaces and characters within the scenes with his camera. Most of the long take shots in Chorokbam, which would have been completed through a cooperation between the director and the cinematographer, empty out all remaining opportunity costs without a trace once the frame is chosen. Through this, the film presents true textbook long take shots in comparison with other films.

Critic b Award

[Winner] Hot in Day, Cold at Night | PARK Songyeol | Korea

Jury Comment: The jury unanimously agrees that this is the ultimate work in Park Songyeol’s oeuvre. We fiercely applaud the courage expressed in this film that protects the dignity of living while simultaneously being capable of giving up on other things. Within a concise form, the film elicits intense emotion and makes a precise application of shots. The portrayal of our fellow people in pursuit of art and life at the same time is something we would like to see for a long time.

Watcha Award

[Winner 1] Through My Midwinter | OH Seongho | Korea

[Winner 2] The Apartment with Two Women | KIM Se-in | Korea

Jury Comment (Both Winners): We selected a film that could evoke the empathy of many based on a powerful and tenaious directing and dense acting. In particular, the film received positive assessments in terms of reflecting the life and reality of those living in contemporary times. Through the Watcha Award, we would like to offer support such that young filmmakers can continue to enter into the Korean film industry.

Citizen Critics’ Award

[Winner] Chorokbam | YOON Seo-jin | Korea

Jury Comment: This film depicts a family faced with death with a combination of muted dialogue and interstices in narrative, along with sensuous images and sound. Further, although the film deals with a conceptual subject, it is balanced with topicality, which is why we chose this film as the recipient of this award.

Busan Cinephile Award

[Winner] I’m So Sorry | ZHAO Liang | Hong Kong, China/France/Netherlands

Jury Comment: While maintaining an objective perspective, this film makes a logical approach to the audience with an issue that we cannot and should not avoid. The chilling sound that was meticulously designed and the metaphor that effectively delivers the subject are some of the other reasons we selected this work as the recipient of this award.

Asia Contents Awards Winners

Best Creative MOVE TO HEAVEN Korea
Best Asian TV Series Girl From Nowhere S2 Thailand
Best OTT Original The Long Night China
Best Asian Animation Heaven’s Design Team Japan
Best Short-form/Web Drama Sheker Kazakhstan
Best Actress SONG Jia, A Love for Dilemma China
Best Actor LEE Je-hoon, MOVE TO HEAVEN Korea
Best Writer YOON Ji-ryun, MOVE TO HEAVEN Korea
Newcomer-Actor MORISAKI Win, The Real Thing Japan
Newcomer-Actress
KO Min-si, Sweet Home Korea
Koe YEET, Titoudao Malaysia
Technical Achievement Sweet Home Korea
ACA Excellence SONG Kang, Sweet Home/NAVILLERA Korea
ACA Jury’s Special HANZAWA NAOKI Japan
Creative Beyond Border Bad Genius The Series Thailand
Alice in Borderland Japan

The 15th Asian Film Awards

Highest-Grossing Asian Film of 2020 Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no YaibaThe Movie: Mugen Train Japan
Best New Director Voice of Silence HONG Eui-jeong Korea
Best Newcomer One Second LIU Haocun China
Best Sound Limbo Nopawat LIKITWONG Hong Kong
Best Original Music The Way We Keep Dancing Day TAI Hong Kong
Best Supporting Actress True Mothers MAKITA Aju Japan
Best Supporting Actor The Silent Forest KIM Hyun-bin Taiwan
Best Production Design Limbo Kenneth MAK Hong Kong
Best Costume Design Wife of a Spy KOKETSU Haruki Japan
Best Cinematography The Wasteland Masoud AMINI TIRANI Iran
Best Visual Effects The Eight Hundred Tim CROSBIE, Joy WU China
Excellence in Asian Cinema Award LEE Byung-hun Korea
Best Editing Cliff Walkers LI Yongyi China
Best Screenplay The Disciple Chaitanya TAMHANE India
Best Actress Wife of a Spy AOI Yu Japan
Best Actor Voice of Silence YOO Ah-in Korea
Best Director One Second ZHANG Yimou China
Best Film Wife of a Spy Japan

APM 2021 Awards Winners

Busan Award Secret of My Father Jéro Yun MO Sung-Jin Korea
CJ ENM Award Before, Now & Then Kamila ANDINI Gita FARA, Ifa ISFANSYAH Indonesia
KB Award Fixed Love, Fixed Girl LIM Sun-ae PARK Kwansu Korea
NUTRILITE Award Lives of Crime HSIEH Pei-Ju, YANG Chieh, HUANG Dan-Chi, LEE I-Hui Estela Valdivieso CHEN, Hazel WU Taiwan
ArteKino International Award If wood could cry, it would cry blood NGUYEN PHAN Linh Dan NGO THI Bich Hanh Vietnam
Pop Up Film Residency Award Elephants in the Fog Abinash Bikram SHAH Anup POUDEL Nepal
MONEFF Award Spectrum KIM Bora BYUN Seungmin Korea

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