I couldn't care less about what the critics said about this movie. To me, this isn't a movie. This is like a very annoying ambient music, and it isn't annoying because it's bad, but because it's very plain. The 2 stars are for myself for having endured this until the end.
this film sounds unbearably indulgent on paper but manages to mostly steer clear of the narcissism i feared. yet, as much as the first part compels, the second part falls apart (particularly with hong's decision to finally reveal the director). kim minhee's performance, more so than the script or direction, pulls it all together and provides depth.
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.
Hang Sang-Soo remains the greatest contemporary follower of Rohmer. His films are little prose poems about relationships, told with unimitable understatement and an all-encompassing sense of empathy. This is his angriest film yet: a reflection on abuse, loneliness, frailty. I'm not sure if the ultimate sparseness of its structure really does justice to the good scattered bits. Maybe this is too loose for its own sake
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.
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!?
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.