In Seoul, the paths of two men and one woman intersect and move apart from one another, centering around their love for cinema. A suicidal student meets a young woman who decides to follow ... See full summary »
In Seoul, the paths of two men and one woman intersect and move apart from one another, centering around their love for cinema. A suicidal student meets a young woman who decides to follow him in his fatal gesture. Coming out of a cinema, Tongsu, an unsuccessful filmmaker, spots a beautiful young woman, and recognizes her : she is the main actress in the film he has just seen. The life of this wavering and distressed young man strangely echoes the one of the young man from the beginning... Written by
After my slight disappointment with Woman is the Future of Man, partly due to its surprising usage of lightly elating music to sooth and deflate the dramatic moments and its overall inconclusiveness, I was hoping for Hong to get back to his older form where he didn't use such methods and directly depicted his characters as helpless, ominous and full of frailness. Even though the music here is similar to the above mentioned title, the story is much less confined and more progressive and straightforward.
Almost immediately we meet a young man and a woman who haven't seen each other in some years, which by now must be Hong's favorite set up. Almost half of the film we spend with them as they discuss various issues and ultimately come to an agreement that there is nothing else they would rather do than to commit suicide together. Similar tendency was brought up by the male character in Turning Gate, which never came to fruition. Although such premises sound harsh, it isn't completely played out that way due to the light music and the dreamy feeling that the characters exhume. After a turn of events this story comes to an end and we soon find out that we've been watching a film within a film. In Hong's fashion it didn't feel like a film or an overly staged cunning device, but more as a transitional story which is what it ultimately becomes.
The actress playing the role in this film becomes somewhat famous, but the director, who we barely see, suffers financial and health problems. All of this is talked about rather than shown, mainly because the primary story fills the second half of the film with an encounter between the actress and the eccentric friend of the director.
Without giving away too much detail, their relationship plays close resemblance to the story shown before. Hong continues his depiction of men as unstable and needy, by making the female character seem more financially and mentally stable, as well as more sexually confident.
Although the film is only 89 minutes long (compared to Hong's previous films), it feels much more complete than Woman is the Future of Man. This marks Hong's third installment dating from Turning Gate where conflicts between three parties (two men and a woman) were the reoccurring themes of the film both direct and indirect ways.
He also used a lot of zooming shots in this film, which I can't say if they did much good or bad, but maybe added a little documentary feeling that his films contain regardless. The acting as usual is sufficient within its bounds, but I must say that his last two films just aren't as poignant and memorable as his older work. The thing with Hong is that his films are shot in such harmony and patent style that in the end it's just comes down to which of his rich stories affect and connect with you the most.
This film is still informative with similarly simple yet pleasant scenery. The details are still here, the candid sex scenes are still here, the realistic dialogs are still here, but I wasn't quite moved here as I was with The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well, Power of Kangwon Province or Turning Gate. Hong still made me think with this film, but I felt that this film lacked the prolific and conclusive symbolisms that he is so magnificently gifted for. Still, it earns a recommendation to the fans of the director and those who'd like to experience something new.
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