Tag Archives: Sang-soo Hong

Sang-soo Hong – Book chon bang hyang AKA The Day He Arrives (2011)

Shot in murky black and white, Hong’s film traverses an open-air spectrum of repeating nuances, locations, and dialogue in charming ways. The small groups of characters, including mildly famous film director Sungjoon (Yu Jun-sang), who’s visiting an old friend in Seoul, graze on the coincidences and human fallibilities defining their overlapping mental quirks. Together, they’re like lost sheep roaming the urban academic landscape for a shepherd. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Geuk jang jeon AKA Tale of Cinema (2005)

In Seoul, the paths of two men and one woman intersect and move apart from one another, centering around their love for cinema. A suicidal student meets a young woman who decides to follow him in his fatal gesture. Coming out of a cinema, Tongsu, an unsuccessful filmmaker, spots a beautiful young woman, and recognizes her : she is the main actress in the film he has just seen. The life of this wavering and distressed young man strangely echoes the one of the young man from the beginning… Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Haebyeonui yeoin AKA Woman on the Beach (2006)

Film director, Joong-rae is preparing for his next movie but is unable to finish his script. So he pleads his friend, Chang-wook, a production designer, to go with him on a trip. Chang-wook brings his girlfriend Moon-sook along and they all go on a trip to the west coast to visit Shinduri Beach Resort. There, Joong-rae makes advances on Moon-sook. Already a fan of his films, Moon-sook doesn’t hide her interest. So later, while avoiding Chang-wook’s eyes, the two spend a heated night together. But the next day He and Moon-sook then part awkwardly. Few days later, Joong-rae is back again in Shinduri and runs into a young woman named Sun-hee. They end up spending a night together. Moon-sook arrives at the scene with the intent to be with Joong-rae. But seeing him being with Sun-hee, Moon-sook goes to drink on her own out of anger… Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Saenghwalui balgyeon aka Turning Gate (2002)

Hong San-soo’s comic rendezvous Turning Gate is built on a series of repetitions that mirror the South Korean director’s fascination with reincarnation. Out-of-work actor Gyung-soo (Kim Sang-kyung) leaves Seoul to visit his friend Seong-wu (Kim Hak-sun) in the country, and it is there that Gyung-soo learns of the Turning Gate myth: A young princess scorns the love of a snake, the reincarnation of a commoner killed by her father. Oblivious to Seong-wu’s affections for Myung-sook (Yeh Ji-won), the indecisive Gyung-soo embarks on a heated affair with the sexy dancer, and when he rejects her love, the actor unknowingly begins to live out the legend of the Turning Gate. Haunted by regret, he wraps himself around a married woman, Sun-young (Chu Sang-mi), familiar with his stage performances. Hong San-soo’s use of repetition (not one but two kisses to break the ice; the regurgitation of dime-store mantra; and Myung-sook’s various dances that end on the same beat) evokes a karmic connection between a secular world and a bygone spiritual one. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – List (2011)

Plot : Over a slice of chocolate cake, a mother (Yuh Jung Youn) and daughter (Jung Yu-mi) tensely discuss the good-for-nothing relative whose money troubles have brought them to the seaside town of Mohang. For now they have nothing to do but wait, so the younger woman, Mihye, composes a list of goals for her involuntary vacation — a list which she seems to fulfill almost accidentally, as she and her mother wander, eat, drink, and meet with fate, here in the form of a clumsily flirtatious film director (Joon-Sang Yoo). Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Domangchin yeoja AKA The Woman Who Ran (2020)

While her husband is on a business trip, Gamhee meets three of her friends on the outskirts of Seoul. They make friendly conversation but there are different currents flowing independently of each other, both above and below the surface. Read More »

Sang-soo Hong – Ja-yu-eui eon-deok AKA Hill of Freedom (2014)

Kwon (Seo Young-hwa) returns to Seoul from a restorative stay in the mountains. She is given a packet of letters left by Mori (Ryo Kase), who has come back from Japan to propose to her. As she walks down a flight of stairs, Kwon drops and scatters the letters, all of which are undated. When she reads them, she has to make sense of the chronology… and so must we. Alternately funny and haunting, Hill of Freedom is a series of disordered scenes based on the letters, echoing the cultural dislocation felt by Mori as he tries to make himself understood in halting English. At what point did he drink himself into a lonely stupor? Did he sleep with the waitress from the “Hill of Freedom” café (Moon So-ri) before or after he despaired of seeing Kwon again? Read More »