Woman is the Future of Man may not mark any major departures of style for celebrated auteur Hong Sang-soo, but the filmmaker is still in top form in this tightly-constructed, mesmerizing work. Although it features much of the awkward dialogue and cutting irony that has made Hong’s previous films so distinctive, Woman feels in some ways both more shallow and more elusive than the works that preceded it. As such, it is a difficult film to make sense of, unless you have had previous exposure to the negative energy that fills Hong’s cinematic world.
As with all of his previous works, Hong’s title for this film is an object of curiosity. It is a line taken from an Louis Aragon poem that Hong saw printed on a postcard in a French bookstore. Hong’s tongue-in-cheek effort to explain it doesn’t leave one feeling any wiser: “As the future is yet to come, it means nothing, and if the future is multiplied by man, the result is still zero. And if woman is the future of man, which is zero, then woman is also nothing…”
Perhaps if those critics had researched Hong’s filmography, they would have realized that his films are something unique in world cinema. On an aesthetic level, no other filmmaker produces the same weird tempo created by Hong’s editing, and the elegance which underlies the awkward surface of his films. This is not where you should look for lectures on social ills or for moving tributes to humanity, but if you want an honest and sober effort to depict something truthful in human relationships, then this film is something you will enjoy more and more with each repeated viewing.
Two men pursue a woman form their past in this drama from South Korea. Heon-jun (Kim Tae-woo), a struggling filmmaker who has just returned from the United States, runs into his old friend Mun-ho (Yu Ji-tae), now an art professor, and they decide to get a bite to eat. Over dinner, they find themselves talking about Seon-hwa (Seong Hyeon-ah), a beautiful woman they both dated in college. While both men flirt with their waitress, talking about how Seon-hwa has renewed their fascination with their old love, and they individually decide to track her down. They discover Seon-hwa, once an artist, is now working as a bar manager; they learn, in her personal life, the fates have not been kind to her, and in many respects, she’s not the women she once was.
Yeojaneun Namjaeui Miraeda (aka Woman is the Future of Man) was screened in competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.
2.00GB | 1 h 27 min | 1024×576 | mkv