Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. South Korea, 2000. Screenplay by Sang-soo Hong. Cinematography by Yeong-taek Choi. Produced by Byoung-ju Ahn, In-gi Choi. Music by Kil-sung Ok. Production Design by Seok-Jae Choi. Costume Design by Ji-hyang Kang, Yoo-seon Kim. Film Editing by Sung-Won Hahm. Toronto International Film Festival 2000.
The delicate nature of erotic human contact is the center around which this sexy, light film spins its moments of human vulnerability. Shot in beautiful black and white, Hong Sang-Soo’s love triangle is of a gallery owner who gets together with a filmmaker to possibly be his next backer, and at the meeting finds himself deeply attracted to the director’s beautiful writer. The two of them begin an affair that plays out twice, in either version having different things happen that lead to their high point when they get together to make love in a hotel room. It’s not Rashomon-like as may be suggested by this setup, we’re not getting to the bottom of a mystery even if the film opens with a conundrum that inspires the examining of details of their interaction. Hong is more interested in the varying details of daily life that can take two people in one direction or the other, while also focusing on what it is between two people highly attracted to each other that is completely inevitable. A very appealing cast and excellent dialogue highlight a subtle, memorable piece.