Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. South Korea, 2013. Jeonwonsa Film. Screenplay by Sang-soo Hong. Cinematography by Hong-yeol Park. Produced by Kim Kyoung Hee. Music by Yong-jin Jeong. Film Editing by Sung-Won Hahm. Toronto International Film Festival 2013.
Another subtle charmer from the great Hong Sang-Soo, about a young woman’s difficulty navigating education and romance without trouble despite all efforts to be her best self. Sunhi returns to the school where she graduated as a film major to request a recommendation letter from a former professor. He tells her he can only do it if he is allowed to be completely honest, but that he will let her read it and use it at her own discretion. She then has drinks (and as per the director’s norm, far too many of them) with an ex-boyfriend who made a film about their relationship, who then meets up with another filmmaker friend and to whom he confides his drama with his ex. This new addition meets Sunhi and is enchanted with her, creating a love quadrangle with a girl at the heart of it who just wants to get ahead in life and has no need of all these immature men. Hong’s touch is as light as it ever has been, right down to the use of delicate piano music on the soundtrack, and his Rohmeresque observations of the follies of love are critical but never harsh or cruel.