Sang-soo Hong (Korea, 1960) studied cinema in the USA and debuted at home
Daijiga Umule Pajinnal/ The Day a Pig Fell into the Well (1996).
This is a
film noir of sorts, a very realistic portrait of four dysfunctional characters.
It is also a bleak fresco of a self-destructive society haunted by relentless,
incurable alienation and loneliness.
The film is structured in four parts, each one continuing the story through
the eyes of a different character: the failed and selfish novelist (who cheats on two women), the failed businessman (who cheats on his wife), the naive lover (who attracts a scumbag and a sociopath), the married woman (who cheats on and is cheated by her husband). Neither woman has much dignity. They seem desperate
to escape their loneliness. They seem to have no choice: all men around them
are despicable. And the men are pathetic self-absorbed narcissists.
The film, shot in a semi-improvised style reminiscent of Italian neorealism,
feels somehow incomplete, as if some scenes had been arbitrarily omitted.
A young man leaves his bare apartment and steals fruit from the neighbor's
roof garden. He meets a friend who has not read yet his manuscript and asks
to get it back for further revisions. He is a budding novelist,
Hyo-sub/ Hyo-seop. Then he revises the manuscript at a restaurant. Then he
meets his girlfriend Min-jae at a cafe.
She, who used to work for a publisher, reminds him that they have been dating for two years already.
He plays with an insect while she reads his manuscript.
She is moved and offers to proof-read it. When they walk out,
he claims to have forgotten his wallet at home so she has to pay.
Then she even loans him money.
He walks straight into a bookstore where he meets another lover,
He pays for a hotel room with the money given him by the naive girlfriend.
Po-kyong is married and he is jealous of her husband.
He can't stand the thought that she has sex with another man.
She gets upset and tries to leave.
She swears she doesn't sleep with the husband.
She forgives him and they have sex.
They can only stay three hours in the room.
He takes his manuscript to a publisher (who is writing a novel himself, about Marx and Chuan-tsu). The publisher refuses to give him an advance.
A friend reminds him of a dinner appointment that the publisher forgot to mention to him. The dinner is for the spectacled Hong-sun. A
drunk Hyo-sub causes a disaster at the table
and gets into a fight with the waitress,
embarrassing all his friends.
Later he gets into a fight also with an older friend
and gets kicked out of the restaurant.
He is arrested and sentenced to five days in jail.
In the same place another man is being sentenced to five days in jail,
the shy Min-soo.
The film then switches to another story about another man.
dressed in a business suit, buys a bus ticket.
The passenger sitting next to him vomits.
When the bus arrives at the destination, the man goes to the restrooms
to wash his sock.
The business woman he came to see is always busy.
A friend picks him up and takes him to his place.
He has sex with a prostitute.
Then back to the office waiting for the female businesswoman, who is still
not available. He has to stay the night in town.
The couple next door are fighting. He calls a prostitute.
While she is in the bathroom, he shakes like an epiletic.
He grabs a picture from his wallet and we realize that his wife
is Po-kyong, and they had a child (presumably dead).
They have sex. Then he realizes that the condom broke and he
frantically washes his penis, afraid of venereal diseases,
and then visits a clinic.
Meanwhile, Min-jae wakes up and starts making morning calls: her first job.
Then she works at a box-office selling tickets.
Meanwhile, she makes phone calls looking for other jobs.
And she spends her money on gifts for Hyo-sub.
Back at the ticket office of the theater, she chats with her coworker
and best friend.
Min-soo, the man who went to jail at the same time as Hyo-sub, talks to three
Hyo-sub delivers the manuscript that Min-jae proof-read.
Min-jae loses a job because she refuses to dub
Back at the theater, the owner finds out that she walked out of the box office.
She's preparing surprises for Hyo-sub's birthday.
She walks to his apartment, without warning him, to deliver
the gifts. and she sees a woman walk out of his place,
and finally understands that he has been cheating on her.
He ignores her pain and rushes after the other.
Min-jae is devastated. She begs him to take her back.
He scorns her and insults her and even slaps her sending her on her knees.
She keeps crying in the middle of the street and he simply walks away.
Min-soo, who is secretely in love with her,
witnessed the scene from a distance and watches speechless.
He follows her to a restaurant but still doesn't talk to her and she doesn't talk to him.
He follows her outside and she yells at him but then finally she accepts him
and coldly lets him make love to her.
The following day
the married woman, is waiting for Hyo-sub at a bus station but he doesn't show up.
She takes a taxi to his place. He is not home. Someone has stolen her money and
she has to borrow money from his neighbor.
She waits in vain then leaves a note on the door
(which the curious neighbor reads as soon as she leaves).
She looks for her husband, still carrying her suitcase.
She follows him in the streets.
She sees him walk into the clinic, waits for him to leave, then enters and
finds out that he has been tested for venereal diseases.
She takes a night bus.
Min-jae dreams that Po-kyong is dead and the memorial is attended by both
Hyo-sub and Dong-woo/Tongu, and that Hyo-sub comes to sleep next to her.
Po-kyong buys a framed photograph of her family just to destroy it.
Then walks back to Hyo-sub's apartment in the middle of the night.
He is still not home. In reality, inside Min-soo is sitting in a corner
and the dead bodies of
Min-jae and Hyo-sub are lying on the floor. Presumably they got back together
and he killed them.
Po-kyong peeks from a window and it is not clear whether she sees the scene or
not. But she walks away more relaxed, almost smiling.
She sleeps at home with her husband Dong-woo, who
forces himself on her and she lets him have sex.
He calls her "pure": obviously he has no idea that she cheated on him
and was about to leave him. Dong-woo walks outside to ge an icecream.
She calls Hyo-sub and leaves a message (which implies she did not see the
dead bodies). She is still in love.
In the morning she opens the newspaper on the floor of her living room
(presumably having read about the murder of her lover)
and walks towards the window, perhaps to commit suicide.
Kangwon-do ui him/ The Power of Kangwon Province (1998)
tells two stories, one after the other, that turn out to be complementary.
Each story is a bleak meditation on alienation, but it is not made clear
why one needs to see two of them.
The other problem with this film is that it is terribly slow, with many
details that don't seem to add anything to the (rather plain and simple)
Finally, it feels like the plot is not fully fleshed out. It feels like
the point of making the two halves meet at the end is only to wink at
the viewer, certainly not to actually complete the story of the two ex lovers
and not even to reveal some kind of meaning in what happened.
Three female students from the capital city meet at a train station in a region known for its
natural beauty. They are on vacation and they set out to explore the forests
and beaches of the region. When they need a place to stay, a kind police officer
helps them find cheap and good accommodation. They have dinner with him.
He tells them that he is married.
Two of the girls, Misun and Jisook, have an argument, after which Misun walks
to the beach and the third girl, Eunkyoung, goes to check on her. Alone with the cop,
Jisook gets drunk and throws up in the street. He takes her to his guard
post where they cuddle.
During their stay, the girls hear of a girl who died falling from a cliff.
The girls leave the following day.
When she gets back home, she finds a message scribbled on the wall next to
her front door, obviously a message from her former boyfriend, who was also
a married man.
Jisook keeps in touch with the cop and one
day he convinces her to come back and visit him. She is angry at him when he
makes her wait at the bus stop, but then enjoys the day. Later she gets drunk
again, he takes her to a motel room and tries to make love to her, but she
doesn't want to.
While she is in the restroom, he climbs over the handrail of the balcony and
hangs on the street. No sex takes place. He mentions that they are now
investigating the death of the girl as a murder.
The following day she takes the bus back home and cries the whole time.
The scene changes abruptly.
Sang-kwon, an aspiring professor, is telling his friend, a professor,
that he just broke up with a younger girl.
Sang-kwon is actually a married man with a child, apparently a happy marriage.
His friend encourages him to visit an influential man who can help him obtain
a teaching position. Sang-kwon is skeptic.
While walking outside with his family, a
a car that is backing up almost runs over his child.
He then visits the middle-aged fat influential man bringing him a bottle of
expensive whiskey. Later he files the papers to apply for the teaching
position at the university. He is nervous. His friend invites him to go on
a brief vacation in the same mountain region where the girls went.
They ride the same train and explore the same forests, but they also
venture on the mountains from which there are spectacular views.
They meet a girl who is alone. She seems ready to flirt but then she disappears.
When Sang-kwon sees her again, accompanied by an older man, he has an argument
with her as if she cheated on him. The two friends hire two prostitutes and
Sang-kwon ends the night making love to a whore who keeps telling him to
hurry up. The following morning the two friends try in vain to book a flight.
While they are waiting for seats to free up, they see the man who was with
the cute girl board the plane alone.
Eventually they succeed and get back to the capital.
Sang-kwon cannot resist and walks to the apartment of his old girlfriend,
which we now realize is Ji-sook, and writes the message on the wall that
she is going to find soon.
We now realize that the second half of the film is contemporary with the first
Sang-kwon reads in the newspaper that the cute girl fell from a cliff
to her death. He calls the police to report that she was with a man and he
saw the man board the plane alone, hence it may have been a murder.
He obtains the teaching position at the university and celebrates with his
friends and the influential mentor. Ji-sook happens to be there and walks to
the table to say "hi". Later they meet in a motel room. He wants to have sex
but she tells him that she cannot because she just had an abortion, and
it wasn't his baby either. He is so horny that she performs oral sex on him.
Then he returns to his ordinary life.
Oh Soojung/ Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000), shot
in black-and-white, tells a simple old-fashioned love story, but turns it into
an experimental film when the second half consists simply in retelling of the
same story from the perspective of the other sex. At the same time the director
seems steeped into nostalgia and revisiting classic styles of the past
through the landscape, the acting and the photography:
the French nouvelle vague of Truffault and Resnais,
Woody Allen's Manhattan,
and even Italian neorealism of the 1950s.
The young and apparently wealthy Jae-hoon takes a hotel room. The girl for whom
he has been waiting, Soo-jung, calls and asks to postpone their meeting.
He protests that they were supposed to "do it" today and insists that she keeps
A flashback shows how the two met.
Jae-hoon, the owner of an art gallery, had lunch with his friend Young-soo,
who used to be a painter too but now has become an independent filmmaker.
Young-soo brings along his young screenwriter Soo-jung. Some other day
Jae-hoon meets Soo-jung again at a park where her crew is filming.
Later Jae-hoon meets Young-soo at the same restaurant and accepts to fund
Young-soo gets food poisoning and has to take a taxi to rush home.
The aggressive Jae-hoon takes Soo-jung in a narrow alley and tries to kiss her.
She is mildly attracted to him but pushes him away.
Sitting at a cafe, he more politely professes his love for her and his
seriousness about starting a relationship.
She simply replies "no".
He trie again and eventually succeeds in aking her home. She unties her bra
while he is under the shower, a sign that she is willing. But then she reveals
that she is still a virgin.
Jae-hoon seems delighted by the news and is willing to postpone.
Jae-hoon has asked Soo-jung to keep their relationship secret.
At a Christmas dinner with friends Young-soo gets drunk and treats Soo-jung
like his girlfriend. This provokes Jae-hoon's jealousy, who later, alone with
Soo-jung, calls his friend a thief. This escalates to an argument during which
Jae-hoon the inveterate bachelor even mentions marriage, but he does so implying
that it would be a sacrifice for him.
Soo-jung decides to break up. It doesn't take long for
Jae-hoon resume his courtship.
Her virginity fascinates him although it makes it much harder to actually
He gets her in bed again, but, again, she gets frigid when he tries to touch
her genitals: that organ is still off limits.
She promises to do it the next time, and he decides to book an expensive
The second part of the film begins with the same conversation of the first half,
but this time we don't see the man, we only see the woman as she claims that
she is sick and asks to postpone yet again. To relax, she takes an aerial tram
to the top of a hill but the car gets stalled because of a power outage.
A flashback shows how she met Jae-hoon. Young-soo is a married men with two
children. He is in love with Soo-jung but she is reluctant to get involved
with a married man. At the first dinner with Jae-hoon she is stressed.
She might or might not be a virgin, but she lives with her older brother
whom she masturbates occasionally.
However, she is clearly more attracted to Jae-hoon. The latter told her that
he takes a stroll in the park every day at lunch time and she makes sure the
crew will be filming there at lunch time so she can "accidentally" meet him.
One day in the studio Young-soo kisses her on the mouth. She is surprised but
not frightened. She confesses that she has little sexual experience. She tried
sex twice with a good friend, both times with awful results.
Meanwhile, Young-soo is revealed to be a penniless coward,
humiliated by a member of his own crew (while she is eavesdropping)
who holds it against him that he is
the director only because he is related to the owner.
She is clearly trying to get dates with the handsome and wealthy Jae-hoon.
When he talks to her about sex, she can't wait; but it's him who doesn't seem
to be serious.
Yo complains that Jae-hoon does not return his calls.
Jae-hoon is rich and Yo needs money.
Yo suspects that she is going out with Jae-hoon.
He is the one who is aggressive with her, not Jae-hoon.
He takes her to a room and undresses her, but she stops him.
She confesses that she used to have a big crush on him.
First she stops him but then she takes his glasses off and lets him hug her.
At the Christmas dinner
Jae makes love to another woman and Soo leaves the house furious.
She is with three girlfriends when Jae calls her again.
They meet and he gets her in bed again. The reason that sex does not happen
is not that she wants to postpone but that he calls her with the name of the
other girl. She leaves, jealous and offended, but then quickly forgives him.
He is the one who cancels the date at the expensive hotel, not her.
She is disappointed.
He invites her to a cheap hotel instead.
Nonetheless she is more than willing to have sex.
It hurts, and she bleeds.
Before leaving, they try to wash the blood from the sheets.
He promises to be a good boyfriend. She is happy.
The second half of the film is simply the same story told from the perspective
of the girl. We now realize that the first half was told from the perspective
of the man.
Scenes are slightly changed, added and removed and changed.
In this second half she looks a lot less innocent than in the first half
(than if looked from the wishful perspective of the man who loves her).
Turning Gate (2002): the protagonist lives two similar stories but
two different women, learning from the first story how to make it right in
the second one.
Yeojaneun Namjaeui Miraeda/ Woman is the Future of Man (2004)
is relatively lightweight by comparison with its predecessors, and almost
completely linear. The story centers on two friends who loved the same
woman and now have completely different lives.
The two men fight not so much over who will sleep with the girl but over
what the girl is really like.
However, the quiet melancholy of the story is not
supported by adequate development.
A poor aspiring filmmaker, Heon-jun, who just graduated from college in the USA,
visits his friend Munho, a university lecturer who is now relatively rich and
lives in a big home with his wife and his child.
They eat at a restaurant where the filmmaker tries to convince the waitress
to become an actress. Then he notices a girl standing outside.
A suddent flashback shows what happened before Heon-jun left for the USA.
He was dating a girl, Seon-hwa, but one day she was forced into a taxi by
an high-school boyfriend who just returned from military service and the
following day she told Heon-jun that this guy raped her in a hotel.
They made love and he promised to "cleanse her" but instead decided to leave
for the USA without telling her. It was Munho who brought her to the airport
where the two former lovers met in tears for the last time. She told him she
would wait for his phone call. But apparently he never called.
Back to the restaurant Munho tells Heon-jun that Seon-hwa
dropped out of college and now runs a bar in a hotel (in the very town where
she was raped).
Munho asks the same waitress to be a nude model for his art class.
He stares outside and notices the game girl that started
Heon-jun's reminescence of Seon-hwa and he too starts remembering.
It turns out that Munho too was in love with
Seon-hwa when she was an aspiring painter.
We see how they made love and were left disappointed.
Back to the present, it started snowing and the two friends leave the
restaurants where each has tried unsuccessfully to seduce the waitress.
They decide to take a taxi and visit Seon-hwa.
While they wait for her, they eat and drink, and argue about the real nature
of the girl, Heon-jun seeing her as a romantic and Munho as a slut.
When she arrives, at the end of her night shift, she invites them to her place,
where they get completely drunk.
Seon-hwa tells Heon-jun how she waited in vain for him and he gets on his
knees crying. They have sex in her room while Munho sleeps on the couch.
Later, while Heon-jun is still sleeping Munho simply asks
Seon-hwa to perform oral sex on him and she does without any hesitation.
Each has treated her according to his view of her.
The following day the trio walks out together, as if nothing had happened
(it is not clear if Heon-jun knows that Munho too slept with her).
But eventually Heon-jun parts angry from Seon-hwa, probably sensing that
Munho was right about her real nature.
Munho, meanwhile, has met some of his students and has dinner with them,
getting drunk and talking too much.
One female student has a crush on him and one male student is hostile to him.
After dinner, the girl follows him and is readily available when he proposes
to get a room in a motel. The room is filthy and she kindly offers fellatio
so they don't have to get into the bed. While she's working on it, the male
student, who has followed them, bangs on the door and runs away. It's enough
to signal to the lecturer that he knows: now Munho
is in trouble because his extramarital affairs might ruin his career.
Tale of Cinema (2005)
Haebyonui Yoin/ Woman on the Beach (2006) is a very minor and overlong film.
It could be a film about a love obsession but the psychological analysis is
way too vague and weird.
Jungrae, a famous director who is working on a new script, asks his young collaborator and fan Changwuk to spend a day with him to a beach town. Chengwuk is surprised by
the last-minute request and asks permission to take his girlfriend with him.
The phone rings: Jungrae's producer just read in the newspaper of the death
of a director with Jungrae's last name and wants to make sure the script is
proceeding as agreed. The producer also warns Jungrae that a sand storm is
about to hit the coast. In the car Jungrae meets Munsuk, who is also a fan
of his work. Changwuk is nice and plays her music to Jungrae, introducing her
to the famous director as an aspiring composer of film music, but instead she
is hostile towards her boyfriend. In fact, when they
reach the town, she objects that she is not his girlfriend because they
only kissed once.
In fact she seems to flirt with Jungrae, and
Jungrae is amused by their argument.
At the beach he tells them that his script, titled
"About Miracles", will be about a man who listens to a Mozart melody three
times in a row and decides to investigate the coincidence as if it contains
the secret of the universe.
When the director makes a neurotic scene at a poor restaurant waiter, the
gentle Changwuk insists that he apologizes. The director refuses, and the
girl accuses Changwuk of simply trying to show off with her.
When the director, drunk at another restaurant, asks her whether she's happy,
she starts talking about her estranged father and cries. She tells them
that she lived in Europe for a while and admits having sex with several foreigners. This humiliates Changwuk, clearly jealous, and irritates Jungrae, clearly
conservative when it comes to foreigners, who almost treats her like a prostitute. Alone with the director, the girl admits that she likes him better than
she likes her boyfriend and later, alone again on the beach, they kiss.
When the boyfriend calls her to find out where they are, she sends him in
the opposite direction. Then she and the director walk into an empty room
at a nearby cheap hotel and have sex.
The following day, however, Jungrae behaves coldly towards the girl (they
briefly speak about his failed marriage) and the
girl warms up again to her boyfriend.
During their walks on the beach they have run twice into a couple walking their
cute dog. What our trio doesn't see is that this couple abandons the dog on
the highway, the dog running in vain after the car.
The kids return to the city. Jungrae, walking along on the beach, gets on his
knees, cries and prays for help. Then he calls Munsuk and leaves a message on
her answering machine. Minutes later he sees two young women and approaches the
attractive one, Sunhee, with the excuse of interviewing her for his film.
Again, we learn of some family issues: the girl hates her mother and is divorcing the husband who cheated on her.
He phones her the following morning to see her alone. He seduces her, narrowly
avoids being run over by her motorcyclist boyfriend, and
takes her to the same cheap hotel where he slept with Munsuk.
Munsuk comes back to the same beach town and gets drunk alone. She learns
from the waiter that Jungrae has a girlfriend who looks like her.
Munsuk guesses where they are having sex and bangs on the door in the middle
of the night.
The following morning Sunhee has to leave the room from the balcony to avoid
Munsuk who is sleeping on the mat in front of the door.
Jungrae was drunk. When she wakes up, she doesn't remember much.
When they run into Sunhee and her friend, Munsuk doesn't know that Sunhee
is the girl who was sleeping with Jungrae.
On the beach they meet a young man walking the cute dog, and Munsuk is shocked
to hear that the dog was abandoned by the owners.
Jungrae strains a muscle and Munsuk takes care of him in his room.
Sunhee, who cannot find her wallet, invites Munsuk to lunch.
They discuss the fact that they look alike, the very reason that Jungrae
Sunhee does not know that Munsuk does not know, so she openly talks about
having sex with Jungrae.
Meanwhile, the incapacitated Jungrae is getting nervous at home.
Ironically, he also finds the inspiration to finish his script.
Munsuk confronts Jungrae who still cannot admit the truth.
He leaves a tearful Munsuk in the room and returns to the city with his
Munsuk picks up Sunhee's wallet in the bed: Munsuk has always known that
the wallet was there.
Munsuk returns the wallet to Sunhee and leaves but her car gets stuck in
the sand. Two men push the car out of the sand. The sand storm has covered
the road with sand.
Bam Gua Nat/ Night and Day (2008)
Like You Know It All (2009)
Oki's Movie (2010)
Uri Seonhui/ Our Sunhi (2013) was perhaps meant to be a farce, but it is hardly comic at all. As a comedy it falls flat. As a character study it is mildly successful in depicting an inscrutable girl chased by three superficial men.
Sunhi is back on the campus of her film school after graduating. She
is looking for a professor,
from whom she needs a letter of reference
to apply for graduate school in the USA. A fellow student tries a bad joke
on her. She still finds the teacher but she remains upset with the silly
Donghyun warns her that he thinks she is weird and he will write so in the
letter of recommendation. Everything thinks that she is weird.
Still upset with the student, first she confronts him and then,
to calm down, she enters a restaurant and starts drinking alcohol.
Then by accident from the window he sees her ex boyfriend
bidding a nice trip
to a girl who is about to leave town. Sunhi calls him upstairs and they
get drunk together. He has just debuted as a filmmaker and Sunhi knows that
the film is about their story. As he gets drunk, he confesses that he still
loves her. He asks in vain why she dumped him. She tells him she can't explain
and leaves him alone. Drunk, he walks to his friend Jaehak's place, begging
for his company, but Jaehak sounds truly annoyed.
When they finally meet, Munsu gets upset with him.
Meanwhile, Sunhi is disappointed with the letters of recommendation written
by her former professor and meets with him to change his mind.
He confesses he had a crush on her.
Donghyun visits Jaehak, who has abandoned his wife, and tell him that he
(Donghyun) is in love with a younger girl.
By accident later Jaehak meets Sunhi and they start chatting about Munsu.
She swears she's not going to date anymore and just wants to focus on studying.
But then she seduces Jaehak just like she has seduced her former professor
and Jaehak goes home drunk and in love.
Donghyun rewrites his letter of recommendation to Sunhi's satisfaction.
She meets him in a park. When she leaves him alone for a second, he stumbles
into Jaehak and then Munsu also shows up. Munsu knows that Sunhi must be
around, but Donghyun denies having seen her and texts her to hide.
The three men walk around together looking in vain for her.
The Day He Arrives (2011)
In Another Country (2012): the actress
plays three versions of a Frenchwoman in Korea.
Our Sunhi (2013)
Nobody's Daughter Haewon (2013)
Hill of Freedom (2014)
Jigeumeun Matgo Geuddaeneun Teullida/ Right Now Wrong Then (2015) is a film structured in
two parts that repeat the same story but from opposite emotional ends
and with opposite endings.
The first part is also narrated and sounds like a diary, a story that
truly happened. The second part is not narrated and come as a surprise.
Here the protagonist is not a pompous arrogant liar but a gentle soul,
and it feels like the daydream of someone who is remorseful and wishes
he were a different person.
It is not just the same story viewed by different characters but the same
story "revised" by the protagonist's own conscience.
The narrating voice (the protagonist) tells us that he just arrived to
a small cold town for the first time. He wanders around and sees a
girl enter a temple. Later she meets a girl sent to take care of him,
a very pretty girl, Bora, and he tells himself that he has to be cautious not
to get involved with her. He is a famous filmmaker.
She admires his films
and wants to be the assistant for his next film.
They have fun in a sled rink.
Later he follows the girl into the temple and approaches her as she is
drinking milk. He tells her that
he is there to screen a film and to talk about it.
Heejung is impressed that he's a filmmaker.
She recognizes his name: Chunsu Ham.
She's an unemployed painter.
He invites her to coffee. They have a lengthy conversation.
She takes him to her studio. They go out and get drunk.
He seduces her.
She laments that she has no friends.
She invites him to visit a friend who runs a cafe
where intellectuals meet.
The friend knows a lot about the director,
including that he is married and that he
molested a female crew member:
Heejung is speechless and leaves the room.
Later, alone with him, she vents her anger.
At home her mother already know that she
met a director and scolds her for drinking.
The following day very few people attend the talk.
Asked to summarize in a few words what is a film,
he goes on a lengthy emotional rant.
Heejung's friend came to listen and follows him outside.
He tells her that he disliked the moderator.
She gives him a script that she wrote.
The pretty girl Bora comes to bring him back inside.
She hugs him and he's embarrassed.
The second part begins with the exact same
first scene of when he arrives in town and
walk into the temple.
This time there is no narrating voice.
Later he buys a ticket and visits the same temple.
He looks for quiet and sun, and takes a nap.
When he wakes up, he finds the shy girl drinking milk
and have the same discussion about his film.
They have coffee and this time she tells him that
she lives with her mother and her parents are divorced.
They walk to her studio.
She vents her loneliness and depression.
She resents his crude remarks about her loneliness and gets angry.
This time their conversation happens on the roof, as they enjoy the view of the city.
At the restaurant again she admits she cannot make friends.
He proposes to her, but this time he admits
that he is already married and even has two children.
Nonetheless he loves her and cries.
He even gives her a ring that he found in the street.
Then she invites him to her friend's cafe. Heejung is not in the room
while he is talking with her two female friends.
Drunk, he lies down on the floor.
Then he pretends it was a prank.
He starts undressing, shocking the two ladies, and gets completely naked in
front of them.
Later, dressed again, walks alone with Heejung.
He and Heejung toy with the idea of going to the beach, but, after she speaks
on the phone with her mother who is worried, he walks her home.
Her mom tells her that he stripped in front of her friends.
Heejung, who was not in the room, is pleasantly surprised.
She kisses him good night.
He hides from her mom.
He smokes a cigarette, slightly drunk, alone in the dark cold street.
The following day we see him after the
lecture and this time he is smoking
outside with the pretty girl Bora and the moderator.
And he's happy of how it went.
It starts snowing.
Heejung comes to say goodbye before he leaves town.
They shake hands, reluctant to display their emotion in front of Bora
and the moderator. No kiss.
She walks inside the theater where his film is being shown.
He walks in and they exchange words of lovers.
He leaves for good and she continues watching his film.
It is snowing very hard now.
At the end of the movie she walks back home in the snow.
Yourself and Yours (2016)
Bamui Haebyeoneseo Honja/ On the Beach at Night Alone (2017) is Hong's
autobiographical meditation about his own
real-life extra-marital affair with a famous actress, Min-hee Kim, who in fact
plays the role of the protagonist.
The real protagonist, however, is the woman's nervous breakdown.
She's obviously spending all the time wondering whether her old lover misses
her as much as he misses her.
It's hard to tell what is dream and what is not in the film:
the man who asks her the time and the man who washes the window are too
surreal to be real life, and she seems to have only a vague recollection
of the town and the people of the second part.
The young and attractive
Young-hee is visiting an older female friend in Germany. They are both lonely
after breaking up with their lovers. The older woman, Jeeyoung, was married for ten
years but now she claims that it was just a marriage of convenience.
While visiting a park, where a man asks them in vain what time it is,
Young-hee gets on her knees and bows and prays
for her own future. Walking around town, they check the bookshop run by
a man who is dying of cancer and composes music for children.
Then they have dinner with a German couple that is being nice with the older
friend, even though she hardly speaks to them.
The German couple takes the Korean ladies to the beach where Young-hee draws
a picture of her lover in the sand. Then a man (the same man who asked them
what time it is) carries away Young-hee on his shoulders.
Young-hee returns to Korea. She is alone in a movie theater when the lights go on. She walks outside and meets an old friend, Chun-woo (but initially she
doesn't recognize him and doesn't remember having been in that town before).
She is in his town
to visit their common friend Jun-hee, and Chun-woo informs Young-hee that
he has opened a restaurant with another common friend, Myung-soo.
Chun-woo heard rumors of her love affair with a married man, a film director,
and tells her that he stopped making films. Later they meet at
Myung-soo's restaurant. Chun-woo has to leave for work and Young-hee ends up
waiting for one hour before Myung-soo shows up. They chat casually and
Myung-soo is reluctant to admit that he has a relationship with the woman who
is running the restaurant, which upsets the latter. The woman orders him to
help her with sorting coffee beans and he meekly obeys. Young-hee walks
outside and waits until he's finished. Then they all meets for dinner at
another restaurant: Young-hee, her best friend Jun-hee, Chun-woo, Myung-soo
and his girlfriend. Young-hee talks about her trip to Germany but then, drunk,
she begins to insult her friends as incapable of real love. She kisses Jun-hee
in front of the others. Then the two friends walk outside to smoke a cigarette
and shily confess it's the first time that they kissed a woman.
Myung-soo pays back an old loan that Young-hee had even forgotten.
Chun-woo and Jun-hee then take Young-hee to a beach hotel.
Her room has a splendid view of the sea, despite a man who is obsessively
washing her window.
The girls buy some food
at the supermarket and then the trio eats at the hotel room.
While Young-hee is in the restroom,
Jun-hee tells Chun-woo that she wants to help Young-hee restart her acting
career. When they leave, Young-hee walks to the beach, draws a picture of
her former lover and falls asleep. A man wakes her up, introducing himself
as the assistant director of her former lover. He invites her to join the
crew that made a bonfire. Later they take her to a restaurant where she meets
her old lover, the director. He is going back to filming after being sick
for one year and admits that his new film is about her. She gets angry,
but she also admits that she has a destructive side. He has a gift for her:
a book. She gets angrier, they argue, he cries.
Then she wakes up: she was dreaming. A stranger is waking her up because
it's dangerous to fall asleep in such cold weather. She walks away alone.
Geu-hu/ The Day After (2017)
Claire's Camera (2017)
Pul-ip-deul/ Grass (2018)
Hotel by the River (2018)
Domangchin Yeoja/ The Woman Who Ran (2020)
Inteurodeoksyeon/ Introduction (2021)
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx) |
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