I'm a big fan of his work. I didn't like the soundtrack, but that's a minor quibble. It actually did what it was supposed to do, which is to reinforce the repetitious nature of the work. I say that in a good way. Looking at something from different angles, messing about with chronology. Right from the start you know you'll have to piece it together in your mind. Watching it twice definitely helps.
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.
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.
This film feels as though it exists in an odd limbo between Hong's dark and plodding early works, and his more recent, structured comedies. But of course the figure of the amoral artist appears as one of the focal characters, seemingly an allusion to the director's own personal failings. This seems to be a binding element throughout many of his films. That and soju.
It's not so much about who's side is accurate, but about two possibilities. (hence the reference in the title to Duchamp's glass) One represents chance meetings and is about fate, which is how Jae-hoon sees reality. While the other is about intention (hence the titles perhaps coincidence and perhaps intention) and is how Soo-Jung looks at reality.
This was an absolute chore to sit through, to be quite honest. Pretty interesting concept, though: told between two points of view; differing accounts of a very convoluted relationship. It's too bad there is almost nothing going on in the course of the film that pushes the viewer to care about who remembers what and what re-telling is more accurate.