The government said nine people were killed across the country as of Thursday afternoon, and that more casualties were expected.
Festival organisers had cancelled a traditional public launch Wednesday — citing safety concerns — and delayed the setting up of outdoor facilities along the city’s main Haeundae beach as the typhoon was expected to bring strong wind and heavy rain.
But conditions cleared by mid-morning and workers were seen urgently preparing the Busan Cinema Centre for the opening night.
Ahead are 299 films from 85 countries, and VIP guests were joined Thursday by around 2,000 moviegoers for the world premiere of acclaimed Kazakhstani director Yerlan Nurmukhambetov’s drama “The Horse Thieves. Roads of Time”, the festival opener co-directed by Japan’s Lisa Takeba.
Nurmukhambetov returns to Busan having previously had his debut feature “Walnut Tree” win the main New Currents award in 2015.
He said that success was the “engine” that has run his career ever since.
“I was 40 at the time I won and the acknowledgement of this particular number of people gave me a feeling of deep relief and it brought opportunities,” Nurmukhambetov revealed before Thursday’s screening.
Korean cinema is also celebrating its centenary in 2019 and there were huge cheers to greet the red carpet arrival of some local industry greats Thursday — many who feature in the festival’s retrospectives and will meet with fans for Q&A sessions.
Those sharing the spotlight Thursday included director Im Kwon-taek, a veteran of 102 films and named best director at Cannes in 2002 for his sprawling drama “Chihwaseon”.
Another is actress Kim Ji-mee, who chalked up around 700 films before calling it quits in the late 1990s. Kim was famed also for a string of romances that saw her dubbed Korea’s Elizabeth Taylor by the local media.