Knowing the 5 best Korean movies of 2009 ensures you won't miss out on the industry's gems. The state of the global economy did hurt the Korean film industry in 2009, but both independent and mainstream films managed to find success. In a surprising turn, one low budget documentary about a man and his cow managed to sell over three million tickets.

  1. "Old Partner" Old Partner is a documentary about an elderly farmer, Choi Won-Kyun, his wife, Lee Sam-Soon, and their old ox, referred to as "old partner." The portrait of an aging laborer and his devotion to his old partner is both nostalgic and sad, especially since most other farmers till their fields mechanically.  

  2. "Daytime Drinking" Hyuk-Jin (Song Sam-Dong) is a young man who has just returned from military service. His best friend invites him to stay at a remote resort town, Jeongseon, and Hyuk-Jin immediately leaves to meet up with his friends there. However, once he arrives, his friends are nowhere to be found, he is stranded and nothing seems normal. Comedy ensues as Hyuk-Jin deals with the weirdest situations he's ever encountered in search of his friends.  

  3. "Breathless" A low budget film directed by Yang Ik-Joon, "Breathless" centers on Sanghoon (Yang Ik-june), a thug for a local company. He swears, spits and beats up the weak locals the company has targeted. Realizing the violent play his life has become, Sanghoon believes his "disease" can only be cured by the person who "infected" him, his violent father, and struggles to fix his life. Despite the nastiness of the lead character, the film manages to portray the horrible impact a bad parent can have on his child's life.  

  4. "Mother" Do-Joon (Won Bin) is 27 years old and still lives at home with his mother (Kim Hye-Ja). Simple-minded and incapable of complex thought, Do-Joon still sleeps in his mother's bed. When evidence connecting him to a murder of a young girl is discovered, the police immediately arrest him, thinking the case is closed. However, Mother is not going to let her son rot for a crime he didn't commit and investigates on her own, slowly closing in on the real killer and taking the audience through twists and turns along the way.  

  5. "Possessed" The feature film debut of director Lee Young-Ju, "Possessed" is a slickly terrifying horror film. Hee-Jin (Nam Sing-Mi), a college student, is desperately trying to find her missing younger sister, So-Jin (Shim Eun-Gyung). Her religious mother doesn't do anything to find her sister other than praying and soon, the detective assigned to the case dismisses the girl as a runaway. She soon hears rumors about her neighbors using her sister's "spiritual gift" and the nightmare begins as her neighbors commit suicide in gruesome ways, one by one, apparently at the direction of her sister.