DCP. I'm not sure about the musical bridges between scenes, something rare in this filmmaker, and also the first part in Europe, which end is astonishing. And that's the big ellipse of this movie: what ever happened to (ot)her? The subject is never mentioned and the possibility of duplicity is strongly suspected: is she not the same? Organically, as always in this filmmaker, complexity is simply, straightforward.
Hong's been pretty consistent with respect to the tics and tropes of his storytelling (such as they are), but less so with respect to their results. On the Beach at Night Alone has been described as Hong's most personal film, which seems plausible--it certainly doesn't lack for emotion, or even self-laceration. But it doesn't share much. Somehow obvious despite its opacity, it feels frustratingly lazy, tossed-off.
Perhaps Hong's most difficult film, and certainly one of his most private. It's impossible to grasp the emotional import without knowing that the director and actress had a scandalous extramarital affair, and the film is their attempt to understand each other. Hong's weakness is as a dramatist—he's not as generous as Ozu or as witty as Rohmer, making this naked exorcism meaningful only to its creators and their cult.
striking how hong sang-soo brings to the screen the actress with whom he supposedly had had an affair. despite this dimension of self-analysis, both morally and artistically ("it's boring to only talk about your feelings"), the core is a a depiction of solitude, loneliness and human relations. the film about kim min-hee (through hong sang-soo's eyes) is a film about all of us.
Suspecting we are all on the same page re: how Hong is continually constructing an ongoing project w/ each film. BEACH is one of the distinct pieces because of the novel manner by which it reconfigures some of the basic parameters. You see, the director-stand-in in BEACH is for the most part a structuring absence. This is Kim Min-hee's show and man oh man is she up to it. She behaves badly w/ total panache.
Sang-soo's lucid quests for the meaning of love, consistently clever and exclusive, keep enriching the contemporary cinema with modesty and virtue. Hence, “On the Beach at Night Alone” brings some truths attached and is definitely worth exploring.
Not sure if i am interested in following the HSS train and his 3 films every year. This one is obviously special and personal, written with heart and anger but it does not make it any better. I don´t mean that HSS has to be funny again. Some of his best films are sad. But i just get kinda tired. He works more and more by subtracting (less is the new more). Well, less films from him might upgrade the quality of them.
There's an additional layer of interest given that the film supposedly depicts the director's real life affair with actress Kim Min-Hee but in all honesty this is one of Hong Sang-Soo worst films. None of his films feel particularly consequential but in this case the sparse narrative feels extremely disconnected from the premise and there isn't anything at stake, ever.