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Formerly set on a sliding scale between 106 and 146 days per year, the government bowed to pressure from the U. Reviewed below: The Art of Fighting (Jan 5) -- If You Were Me 2 (Jan 13) -- Ssunday Seoul (Feb 9) -- Way To Go, Rose (Feb 10) -- One Shining Day (Feb 23) -- See You After School (Mar 16) -- Romance (Mar 16) -- Grain in Ear (Mar 23) -- My Scary Girl (Apr 6) -- The Peter Pan Formula (Apr 13) -- Bloody Tie (Apr 26) -- Over the Border (May 4) -- Family Ties (May 18) -- The City of Violence (May 25) -- A Bloody Aria (May 31) -- A Dirty Carnival (Jun 15) -- Silk Shoes (Jun 22) -- Aachi & Ssipak (Jun 28) -- Arang (Jun 28) -- APT (Jul 6) -- Hanbando (Jul 14) -- The Host (Jul 27) -- Forbidden Floor (Jul 27) -- Roommates (Aug 3) -- Dasepo Naughty Girls (Aug 10) -- To Sir With Love (Aug 3) -- Lump of Sugar (Aug 10) -- Cinderella (Aug 17) -- Time (Aug 24) -- Woman on the Beach (Aug 31) -- Like A Virgin (Aug 31) -- Tazza: The High Rollers (Sep 27) -- Traces of Love (Oct 26) -- My Friend & His Wife (n/a) -- Cruel Winter Blues (Nov 9) -- Host and Guest (Nov 15) -- No Regrets (Nov 16) -- If You Were Me 3 (Nov 23) -- Ad Lib Night (Nov 30) -- I'm a Cyborg, but That's OK (Dec 7) -- The World of Silence (Dec 14) -- 200 Pounds Beauty (Dec 14). Sporting perpetual bruises on his face, he spends his free time reading martial arts manuals and taking fighting lessons from various adults in town, in a desperate attempt to learn how to defend himself. One day, at a private reading room, he comes across an eccentric old man named Pan-su who possesses an amazing skill for fighting.It's not that he is powerfully acrobatic or unnaturally strong, it's that he is a seasoned expert in down-to-earth, realistic modes of fighting. Pan-su somewhat reluctantly takes Byung-tae under his wing and starts to teach him what he has learned about fighting and about life.Compensating for this lack of regular camaraderie, Eun-hye has also created an imaginary friend.Eun-hye is played by a girl (Jeong Eun-hye) with actual Down's syndrome and some of her own experiences were brought into the short.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).Park's short "Seaside Flower" follows days in the life of Eun-hye, an elementary-school-aged girl with Down's syndrome.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.The other major issue for the film industry in 2006 was the controversial reduction of Korea's Screen Quota System, which obligates theater owners to screen local films for a certain number of days per year. Filmmakers responded with lengthy public protests, but were ultimately unsuccessful in trying to get the government to revoke its decision. (Note that King and the Clown was released on December 29, so it is listed on the 2005 page) Seoul population: 10.35 million Nationwide population: 49.0 million Market share: Korean 63.8%, Imports 36.2% (nationwide) Films released: Korean 108, Imported 237 Total admissions: 153.4 million (=4 million) Number of screens: 1,880 (end of 2006) Exchange rate (2006): 970 won/US dollar Average ticket price: 6034 won (=US.22) Exports to other countries: US,514,728 (Japan: 42%) Average budget: 4.0bn won including 1.4bn p&a spend Byung-tae is a teenager attending a tough high school, where the other students make it their daily habit to beat him up.
(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.Two films broke records at the box office: King and the Clown, which was released in the closing days of 2005 (on this site it is listed on the 2005 page) and which sold 12.3 million tickets, and Bong Joon-ho's monster movie The Host, which sold just over 13 million tickets (the equivalent of over million).Several other films did quite well too, including gambling film Tazza: The High Rollers and comedy 200 Pounds Beauty.Hong Sang-soo was widely praised for his seventh film Woman on the Beach; The Host won over critical praise to go with its commercial success; and the 11th Pusan International Film Festival boasted a large number of independent films that stirred up excitement among critics.
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.
Ultimately Art of Fighting is worth watching, but is unlikely to rank as one of the highlights of 2006.