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.
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.
Inspired by his own affair with Kim Min-hee, Sang-soo's On the Beach at Night Alone doesn't exactly mark a divergence for the director (his favorite collaborator Soju is in fine form though), but that doesn't mean it isn't wise, painful, and lonely. Min-hee plays an actress who is trying to piece her life back together after her affair with a director is made public. Can she love again? Can she even live!?