Last year, I visited Korea for the first time and made it a priority to attend the Busan International Film Festival after hearing much about it through social media and friends. The experience was out of this world - never had I been to a festival that an entire city was in tune with in every kind of way.
There were two films that stood out to me the most amongst all the Korean films I saw at the festival. One was Kim Ki-duk's outstanding film Pieta, which was also included in the 2013 program of KOFFIA, an excellent comeback from the elusive Korean director. The other film was from a relatively new director and a new force to be reckoned with in the Korean film industry, and was possibly the biggest surprise for me at the festival. I had not heard anything about the film, or the director, and was going with gut when I decided to grab a ticket to see it.
The film was Pluto, directed by ex-school teacher turned filmmaker Shin Su-won whose short film Circle Line (also screened as part of the K-Shorts Showcase at KOFFIA this year) was awarded the Canal+ Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. For a film that was made without the support of large funding bodies, Pluto is an incredible achievement for the kind of film it is and I would gladly tell you why.