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(I don't know about you, but I like the sound of the word "omnibuses.") My favorite of the shorts was Jung Ji-woo's, "A Boy With The Knapsack", a sparingly dialogued, black and white study of the lives of North Korean (illegal) refugees in South Korea.
The pacing is perfect, the images of the friends in arms racing through the city still stay with me, and there's a nice little placement of one of the symbols of capitalism that brought a bit of laughter to what is otherwise a short full of sorrow, even more sorrowful considering its partly based on a true story.
Although lacking the depth of the other roles he has played in the past few years, Pan-su possesses an attitude that is uniquely Baek Yoon-shik.
The Art of Fighting is well acted and capably put together, with a mostly predictable but engrossing narrative.
With so many films produced, and with the budgets of many films having grown out of control, a very small number of Korean films from 2006 ended up turning a profit.
In contrast to the start of the year, when a huge number of films were in production, by year's end many investors had decided to hold back on funding any new films for a while, and the mood seemed to bode ill for 2007.
Debut director Shin Han-sol's The Art of Fighting is a different sort of action film, one that largely avoids impressive displays of physical movement, and instead focuses on the gritty, sensual aspects of fighting.
This time around, the directors contributing shorts on a human rights issue of their choosing were Park Kyung-hee (A Smile), Ryoo Seung-wan (Die Bad, Arahan), Jung Ji-woo (Happy End), Jang Jin (Someone Special, The Big Scene), and Kim Dong-won (Sanggye-dong Olympics, Repatriation).
The packed crowd at 2005's PIFF who saw this film along with me laughed continuously at Kim Su-yeon's character (who has been in Ryoo's films Die Bad, No Blood, No Tears, and Crying Fist), a character who learns the lesson be careful who you hate, because your hate might leave you on your own.
Made while he was still working on his essay on masculinity that was Crying Fist, Ryoo provides an added treat with a surprise cameo by someone from the previous series, making me wonder if this is also going to be a regular aspect of the future omnibuses.
Pan-su, meanwhile, is played by acting god Baek Yoon-shik, who has already shown his mastery in films like Save the Green Planet and The President's Last Bang.
Here he plays this role with a mixture of world-weary passivity and sudden, electric bursts of violence.
A number of films shot in a more commercial vein, such as gangster movie A Dirty Carnival, debut film Like a Virgin, drama Family Ties and even the crazy low-budget comedy My Scary Girl earned high praise as well.