Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. South Korea, 2017. Jeonwonsa Film. Screenplay by Sang-soo Hong. Cinematography by Hyung-ku Kim. Produced by Kang Taeu. Music by Sang-soo Hong. Film Editing by Sung-Won Hahm. Cannes Film Festival 2017. Toronto International Film Festival 2017.
A charming slice of life from the masterful Hong Sang-Soo, this delicate tale in a minor key revolves around the erotic complications of a middle-aged book publisher. After telling his wife that he has no reason to be on a diet and that her observation of his improved looks do not at all mean that he’s having an affair, we witness his spending evenings at dinner with the volatile young woman who used to work as his assistant. She has quit the office and gone away, so he hires a studious woman (Min-Hee Kim, outstanding) to replace her, and she’s only on the job for one day when the man’s wife comes in and accuses her, quite violently, of being the woman with whom her husband is cheating. Doesn’t sound like much to go on, but as always it is the nuance with which Hong films his characters that makes them so endearing, not to mention the strength of his actors to keep their subtle performances so even and steady through very long, unbroken takes.