A young man arrives at a hotel for an assignation; she calls to say she’s not coming. He is Jae-hoon, she is Soo-jung; they’ve met through Young-soo, an independent filmmaker. Soo-jung writes for Young-soo; Jae-hoon may finance his film project. From varying points of view in two long parallel flashbacks, we see what precedes the hotel date. Details differ, and each account includes events missing from the other. Characters are quiet and self-contained, then animated; victims apologize. Each character frequently asks, “Really?” What has really happened? Is one account more accurate? Is a kiss the most enjoyable and promising human contact? Connections are tenuous and fragile. —IMDb
A regular on the international festival circuit, Hong Sang-soo is one of Korea’s most highly regarded contemporary directors. His mostly improvised, innovatively constructed films conceal rich layers of meaning beneath deceptively simple surfaces, and reveal a filmmaker with a unique, individual style. A rather notorious figure on the Seoul film scene, Hong has a fondness for alcohol that is almost as legendary as his talent for filmmaking. He’s been known to get familiar with his actors before shooting by taking them on drinking binges, and, for verisimilitude, the many drinking scenes in his films normally include actually drunk performers (who sometimes don’t remember these scenes after they’ve been shot).
Born in 1960, Hong began his film studies at Joongang University in Korea, then moved to the United States, where he received his BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His debut feature, The Day a… read more
Minimalist lovers’ fling, fluttering amongst sterile and artful. A fragmented vignette apparatus blurs the connections between the same trio of twenty-something acquaintances, each ‘scenario’ being curious yet in headway, as party to its jigsaw. But indeed, quite removed in character still - and so too this viewer, in proportionate volume. Its title - born of Duchamp - holds the banner 'loft.
Hong Sangsoo plays with perception and ideas of truth in this drama about a young woman and her suitors played out from different angles and different points of view. Hong explores the story from varying perceptions, calling into question their validity as the characters themselves try to find love despite their own shortcomings. Brilliantly structured and rewarding.
Possibilities are endless, but throughout all of them the same far-from-perfect human beings are the ones making the story unfold itself...things will never be ideal. As the film itself illustrates, any attempt to clean up the 'noise' cause by the characters in front of the camera would only leave us facing a inanimate-cold-nothingness...the same ones who f-things up are the ones who make it all possible.
On the repetition-obsessed filmmaker’s wonky sense of space.