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
One of the most fascinating fractured portraits of what it means to be a woman. The frank, sometimes brutal presentation of (hetero-)sexuality never borders on the sadistic (that is, on the part of the camera...) and almost constructs the film as a warped satire of the entire genre of film romance. The construction of the film is its most powerful aspect, working to simultaneously elucidate and obscure reality.
After watching this I now know two important things: a) I never want to have sex, and b) Being a girl sucks. The title suggests a Japanese exploitation movie, but this is anything but. Characteristic of Hong Sang-soo, Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors is misanthropic, deadpan, sometimes funny, but mostly depressing; think of it as a Seinfeld episode without the jokes filmed in a wintry black and white.
On the repetition-obsessed filmmaker’s wonky sense of space.