Retrospective Film

by Lawrence Garcia Retrospective Film

List | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
List

For Hong Sang-soo, whose working method and steady output has been, and continues to be, (relatively) unburdened by production constraints, the notion of artistic freedom has never been much in question. And so it is with 2011’s List, a half-hour short film about a young woman (Jung Yu-mi) and her mother (Youn Yuh-jung) visiting a seaside town. After dodging her mother’s questions about potential marriage prospects, the woman composes a list of activities that she aims to complete by the…

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by Lawrence Garcia Retrospective Film

Hahaha | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
Hahaha

True to its title, 2010’s Hahaha is very funny — amusing in ways that might even cloak its generous, searching ambition. The film follows two skirt-chasing, barely-employed Korean men: Joong-sik (Yoo Jun-sang), a depressed film critic pursuing an extramarital affair, and Moon-kyung (Kim Sang-kyung), a director set to leave for a dead-end trip to Canada (and possibly the most pathetic manchild that director Hong Sang-soo has ever written).…

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by Ryan Swen Retrospective Film

Lost in the Mountains | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
Lost Mount

Lengthy runtimes have never been totally essential to Hong Sang-soo’s work, but there is a certain quality intrinsic to his approach — how he crafts long, languid scenes that accrue an emotional and comedic power through duration — that seems to benefit from the feature-length form. So, it is instructive to view Hong’s two shorts (discounting the delightful but less-than-two-minute 50:50, made for the Venice 70 – Future Reloaded omnibus — which InRO has not included in its retrospective) as…

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by Paul Attard Retrospective Film

Like You Know It All | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
Like You Know It All

As with many Hong Sang-soo films, 2009’s Like You Know It All deliberately repeats itself: Goo Kyeong-nam (Kim Tae-woo), an arthouse director, goes on two nearly identical trips — first to Jecheon, as a juror for the local film festival, and later to Jeju, as a guest speaker at a university — during which he bumps into long-forgotten friends, drinks heavily, and sleeps with someone’s wife. The chance encounters here serve as comedic fodder — Goo’s distractedness leads…

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by Kenji Fujishima Retrospective Film

Night and Day | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
Night and Day

Hong Sang-soo’s 2009 film Night and Day marks many firsts for the director, including his first film shot on digital and his first to be filmed outside his native South Korea. At 144 minutes, Night and Day is also Hong’s longest film by a considerable distance. That doesn’t mean that Night and Day is a radical departure for the filmmaker; it is, as with many of his films before it and many since, a merciless dissection of a self-absorbed male artist’s fragile ego…

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by Luke Gorham Retrospective Film

Woman on the Beach | Hong Sang-soo

October 19, 2018
Woman Beach

As perhaps the most narratively straightforward Hong Sang-soo film to date, albeit one still prone to a certain structural mischievousness, Woman on the Beach modulates its conceptual restraint in such a languid way as to allow its characters room to breathe. Interestingly, despite this active divergence of approach, Woman on the Beach opens with its Hong stand-in, arthouse director Kim Jung-rae (Kim Seung-woo), in a state of stasis.…

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by Tony G. Huang Retrospective Film

Woman Is the Future of Man | Hong Sang-soo

October 18, 2018
Woman Is

The first striking thing about 2006’s Woman Is the Future of Man is its blunt exhibition of various cruel and brutal sexual behaviors, which range from more typical, regretful encounters to acts which can be described as criminal. Though Hong isn’t often thought of as a shock-effect arthouse director — anymore — there was a time when his unstylish presentation of sex acts could really provoke and disturb. In particular, the rape of Park Seon-hwa (Sung Hyun-ah)…

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by Chengzhi Jin Retrospective Film

Tale of Cinema | Hong Sang-soo

October 18, 2018
Tale of CInema

In 2005’s Tale of Cinema, as in most of Hong Sang-soo’s works, structure is part of the story. The film is split into two halves, the first of which comprises a short film by a director that people keep mentioning (but whom we don’t really have the chance to meet until part two). ‘Film-world’ and diegetic reality intertwine in Tale of Cinema through many shared elements — but especially with the presence of actress Choi Young-Shil (Uhm Ji-won).…

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by Sean Gilman Retrospective Film

On the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate | Hong Sang-soo

October 18, 2018
Turning Gate

In Hong Sang-soo’s 2002 film On the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate, a young actor, Gyung-soo (Kim Sang-kyung), goes on vacation to visit an old friend; he hangs out and drinks with his buddy and the two take a ferry trip to, but do not actually visit, the Turning Gate. The friends meet a pretty dance instructor, Myung-sook (Ye Ji-won), whom Gyung-soo hooks-up with, but refuses to say he loves, and things end badly — especially once he realizes that his…

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by Justin Stewart Retrospective Film

Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors | Hong Sang-soo

October 18, 2018
Virgin Strip

“I should correct something if it’s wrong,” says Soo-jung (Lee Eun-ju), the titular virgin of 2000’s Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, to her smothering art dealer suitor, Jae-hoon (Jeong Bo-seok). She refers only to her own improper chopstick technique, which Jae-hoon was so kind to point out to her, but the line also well sums-up the primary gambit of Hong Sang-soo’s third film — which tells the same story twice, first from a male perspective, and then from Soo-jung’s…

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by Tony G. Huang Retrospective Film

The Power of Kangwon Province | Hong Sang-soo

October 18, 2018
Power Kang

Two strong, entirely unrelated stories are told in 1998’s The Power of Kangwon Province — and Hong Sang-soo resorts to employing a third narrative to stitch them together, to ambivalent effect. The first part of the film follows a group of recent graduates to the vacation locale of Kangwon, and is of particular interest for the way Hong’s camera registers actress Oh Yun-hong’s tiny physique in contrast with her surprising emotional volatility.…

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by Paul Attard Retrospective Film

The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well | Hong Sang-soo

October 18, 2018
Day Pig

A retrospective look at the first feature by any major auteur tends to bring-out some desire for a grand analysis of their work — and often, looking at the beginnings of a certain style and how it’s been refined over time can be of more interest than assessing the quality of said film itself. With 1996’s The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well, Hong Sang-soo is not yet employing his signature, intuitive zooms, but he is dealing with what…

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