Once Upon A Time In High School Directed by Yoo Ha 2004
This was less a martial arts film and more like a two hour episode of The Wonder Years (complete with the cute Korean version of Winnie Cooper). It also had elements of Lindsay Anderson’s If…. with its portrayal of South Korea’s highly strict and militant education system during the 70s.
There are a few fight scenes though, including a Taxi Driver style training montage that culminates to the final rooftop battle. The end result turning into something like a mix between Bruce Lee’s real life rooftop fights when he was in China and the scene in Fist of Legend where Jet Li takes on the whole school.
This might have been my favorite movie if I had seen this in high school during my own Bruce Lee obsession phase, but I just really can’t relate to coming-of-age stuff anymore no matter how many Murakami books I try to read or Freaks and Geeks reruns I watch.
I would recommend this on a purely nostalgic level, if you’re interested in Korea during the 70s, and obviously if you’re a fan of martial arts and Bruce Lee.
Before D.A. Pennebaker gave us an insider look at Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign with The War Room, he, along with fellow documentarians Richard Leacock and Albert Maysles, introduced the world to their “direct cinema" approach of filmmaking with Primary: a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the 1960 Wisconsin primary election between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey.
Primary was highly groundbreaking for being the first film or news media to have such unfettered access and journalistic coverage of the operations behind a Presidential campaign.