Invited to serve on the jury at a film festival, Director Ku does not care about his supposed-to-dos. Rather, chatting at parties and drinking now seem to be his all time favorites. Ku runs into an old friend who insists he come over for dinner and he stays the night at his friend's house. Yet, the next day, Ku finds himself in trouble with an alleged accusation of seducing his friend's wife. Later, he travels to Jeju Island to give a lecture. He hooks up with a painter for another long night of drinking. The day after, Ku is invited to the painter's where he happens to see his ex-girlfriend. Written by
Pusan International Film Festival
A director observes unflinchingly, but awaits growth
This movie took a long time to get going for me, and someone I know said the same thing, so give it a chance. It's another reflexive movie about making movies type of movie, only this one starts with a minimum of drama, and no attempt at visual beauty or pathos. However it really crept up on me and I was rapt by the end.
There's a lot of Rohmer in it I think, nuanced talky scenes which occasionally end with a pointed bit of mise-en-scene. It's about this director Ku, who is a real art-house type, he makes the sorts of films that Like You Know It All is. He's held in high critical esteem, but he's not making films that have a chance of being popular.
Ku has quite a thing for the ladies, and he ends up in a couple of dalliances by the time the film is over, that are both with the wives of big friends of his. As with many serial philanderers, this is down to personal insecurity. One thing he's got Rohmer beat on is humour, and this is a pretty funny film. There's a fairly rotten view of folks here, the men in the film are largely preoccupied with themselves, the women are doing the odious vicarious stuff that they like to do, for example participating in ambition and success by proxy through their relationships, impromptu hardly sensible harangues seem to be something they like to inflict on Ku. They're also pretty fickle, they talk about men as entomologists talk about insects. (on that note, a close-up of a caterpillar tells us what Hong thinks of one of the pairings!).
There's just something dark about the whole thing, one of the women asks him not to make a movie about the events, and he's clearly dared to do just that. Hong doesn't give Ku/ur-Hong a coat of whitewash either, he's dopey, falls asleep during viewings of festival films where he is in the jury, is pretty much lead by his groin, basically a prat. For all that he does have a clear philosophy on how to make films, and why. He believes in freedom, and that is what film-making is to him.
Film students watch out because you're all portrayed as fawning idiots here. Hong doesn't treat himself much better, visually contrasting himself through Ku as a juvenile frog, somewhere between a tadpole and the full-on Bud-wei-ser croaker. Perhaps he believes his best work is yet to come, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one.
Its lasting impression is light-hearted and because it's a rare instance of a forensic examiner turning the microscope on themselves, I give it full marks.
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