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Libera Me

The title (‘save me’ in Latin) is taken from French composer Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, which also serves as the soundtrack’s main theme, imparting a tragic air to one of the most intelligent and expertly mounted Korean action epics of recent years. The story centres on a mentally unbalanced arsonist and the fire-fighters who struggle to stop him. Although conventional in its subject matter, the film manages to feel fresh though skilled direction (by Yang Yoon-ho) and strong acting from its all-star cast (Choi Min-soo, Yoo Ji-tae, Cha Seung-won). Shot in Pusan with the enthusiastic support of the city and its local fire department, the film deserves exceptional praise for its genuinely spectacular special effects, which don’t involve any use of miniatures or digital imaging.
2000. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 120 mins.

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