Cleveland International Film Festival } March 22 – April 1, 2023 } Playhouse Square


Year: 2001
Country: South Korea
Run Time: 117 minutes

From the director of "Dr. K" (24th CIFF, 2000), this striking Asian answer to Scorsese's "Mean Streets" is a visceral crime drama that shattered box-office records at home. Alleys, schools, cinemas and waterfronts of Pusan, 20 years of tumultuous Korean history, and human treachery and ambition scramble the allegiances of four childhood buddies. In the 1970s they're the closest of friends, staging smash-and-grab raids in the neighborhood market, playing with toy knives and marveling at porn on that new invention from Japan, the VCR. Jeong-suk is a mobster's boy with a knack for living on the edge. His loyal lackey is Dong-su, otherwise doomed to a low social standing because of his father's profession as an undertaker. Sensible Sang-taek, smitten with a local singer, and awkward Jeong-ho complete the quartet of pals. Flexing his underworld muscle in and out of high school, Jeong-suk finally gets sucked into crippling drug addiction, while too many wild brawls earn Dong-su a prison sentence. When he gets out, at the beginning of the 1990s, the mortician's boy is a changed man, in more ways than one ? he has hooked up with a gangland boss opposed to Jeong-suk, and Sang-taek can only watch helplessly as the onetime buddies set out on a vendetta against each other, as lethal and merciless as the razor-sharp blades that are the mobs' favorite weapon. The boys are back in town, and the knives are no longer playthings... (In Korean with English subtitles)

Kwak Kyung-taek

Kwak Kyung-taek

Suk Myung-hong, Hyun-kyung-lim, Cho Won-jang

Ki S. Hwang

Park Gok-ji

Principal Cast
Yoo Oh-sung, Jang Dong-gun, Suh Tae-hwa, Jung Woon-taek

Film Contact
Donate >


Your donation helps fulfill our mission to promote artistically and culturally significant film arts through education and exhibition.

Sign up for our email newsletter

  • facebook
  • twitter
  • instagram
  • youtube
  • flickr
  • alexa
  • foursquare



We promise you, it will make a difference!

Give Today