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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.

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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 (=$954 million) Number of screens: 1,880 (end of 2006) Exchange rate (2006): 970 won/US dollar Average ticket price: 6034 won (=US$6.22) Exports to other countries: US$24,514,728 (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.

Part of this may be due to the inherent pessimism in the work, and its portrayal of a town where life is bleak and unlikely to improve.

Yet on a cinematic level too, one wishes that there were just a bit more substance to the film.

Here he plays this role with a mixture of world-weary passivity and sudden, electric bursts of violence.

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.

Yet the film leaves you with an odd sense of emptiness.

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).

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