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Football Film Shows Real Moments

2006/12/14 | Permalink | Source

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By Cho Jin-seo
Staff Reporter

Spectator sports are fun. But when one is playing professionally, it is neither fun nor easy to have to scrape out a living with pure grind and sweat.

"Pisang" ("Bi-sang") documents this well by following the lives of professional football players in South Korea. Director Im Yoo-cheol and his staff followed Incheon United club _ the underdogs of the Korean football league _ for nine months, taping very real and personal moments, in and out of the stadium.

The players and the coaches are shy actors, perhaps too shy sometimes. But the director manages to portray what was on their minds by taking advantage of eight digital camcorders, his personal relationships with them and a good sense of humor.

Lim later said that he selected Incheon for the film simply because they were one of the most miserable teams in the Korean professional sports leagues. Poorly educated and poorly paid, their moral is at the bottom and they have little trust in each other.

As individuals, they were helpless. But new coach Jang Woe-ryeong believes he can turn them from ugly ducklings to golden geese. "We can be the champions", he writes on the board.

Coincidence or not, while the documentary was being filmed in 2005, Incheon achieved an unexpected, but well-deserved record of 15 wins, six draws and six losses _ the best in the league.

Then in the playoffs, they faced Busan I'Park, a team that had kicked out the general manager, the coach and many of the Incheon players years ago. It's the game they don't want to lose at any expense. Just days before the game, however, the captain of the team Lim Jung-yong finds out he is going blind. He can't play, but he knows he has to.

Scenes from TV broadcasting, Internet clips and even home videos recorded by a player's wife are charged with emotion and are so real and intense it is hard to watch the film without a handkerchief, even if one hardly enjoys football.

Poorly financed and tastelessly titled, "Pisang" ("Bi-sang"), means to fly high in Korean. It is another challenge for Incheon and Jang Woe-ryeong that they can produce a surprise again, this time off the pitch.

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