Berlin's Critic's Week 2020
Jung Hyuk-ki, Cho Hyun-chul
Um Tae-gu, Lee Hye-ri, Kim Hie-won
Byung-gu (Um Tae-goo, I SAW THE DEVIL), a former professional boxer, was once destined for greatness. Dashing good looks, talented in the ring, the spotlight was entirely on him. But his fall from grace takes the form of a one-two punch: first, a dire mistake gets him removed from his boxing association. Then, he receives a devastating diagnostic: punch-drunk syndrome, a condition caused by repeated cerebral concussions, and often leading to Alzheimer’s disease. Biding his time, the former boxer makes ends meet by doing odd jobs at his coach’s gym. However, when Min-ji (breakout star Lee Hye-ri, MONSTRUM) enters the gym, Byung-gu’s outlook changes. With her help, he picks up what made him famous in the first place: a unique style known as “Pansori Boxing” – utilizing the flow and rhythms of traditional Korean drumming for maximum impact!
An unexpected mélange and reinvention of many classic sports films’ motifs (be it ROCKY’s story of the underdog or DRUNKEN MASTER’s atypical fighting style), Jung Hyuk-ki’s MY PUNCH-DRUNK BOXER is also a delightful rom-com at heart – told with the perennial quirk and style one has come to expect from the Korean mastery of the genre. Directed and edited with utmost precision and flair, and focusing on Um and Lee’s leading chemistry, the film’s tells a beautiful tale of hope and redemption in an indifferent world. But its greatest invention remains the fighting style it showcases: “pansori” at once novel and traditional, ever-captivating to watch, and a reminder – as the film itself puts its – the sometimes, the most local is the most universal. – Ariel Esteban Cayer
Adam Carter Rehmeier
A riotously hilarious anti-romantic comedy – that just happens to be genuinely romantic – in a universe between WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE and REPO MAN.
Shinichiro Ueda (ONE CUT OF THE DEAD) is back with the highly anticipated SPECIAL ACTORS – in which actors infiltrate a cult and turn the entire world into a stage!
Exploring the frivolities of youth and the difficulties of mental illness, COSMIC CANDY is a sparkling burst of optimism in the face of profound gloom.