From left: "Friend", "Musa", "One Fine Spring Day", "Bungee Jumping of Their Own"
T he past few years have been very strong for Korean cinema, but 2001 marks a new plateau in terms of box-office clout. Led by such smash hits as Friend (the best-selling Korean movie of all time), My Sassy Girl. My Wife is a Gangster. Kick the Moon, Hi Dharma, Guns & Talks. and Musa -- all of which drew more than two million viewers -- Korean cinema has approached a 50% market share in 2001. With Hollywood films accounting for less than 40%
of the market, Korea has become just about the only place in the world where local films outdraw Hollywood.
Nonetheless, the presence of so many blockbuster films has not meant the death of more artistic work. Visitors to the 2001 Pusan Film Festival who had heard that Korean cinema had "gone commercial" were pleasantly surprised by the high number of original, quality films on display. Films such as One Fine Spring Day. Flower Island and Take Care of My Cat have been eagerly sought after by foreign festivals, and Korean cinema's rapidly expanding talent base gives hope that the industry will continue to make good films long into the future.