Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. South Korea/Germany, 2017. Jeonwonsa Film. Screenplay by Sang-soo Hong. Cinematography by Park Hongyeol, Hyung-ku Kim. Produced by Sang-soo Hong. Film Editing by Sung-Won Hahm.
Min-Hee Kim gives one of her most affecting performances to date, once again the muse of director Hong Sang-Soo who is, himself, once again peering into the world of actors and filmmakers. Kim plays a successful film star whose glitzier activities are not happening for us to see, the narrative instead focusing on the introspective moments of her life as she absorbs her feelings about her recently explosive affair with a married man. A trip to Hamburg doesn’t take her too far from her emotional sore spots, and wandering the beaches of the Korean seaside town she is visiting will only make her more contemplative. As subtle and charming as all of Hong’s films, this one has a much more melancholy edge than his usual investigations of the quiet rhythms of daily life, and Kim keeps pace with his darker ruminations without ever letting go of the brightness she always brings to his work. The gorgeous imagery of her as a sole figure against the backdrop of her natural surroundings makes for nice breaks between the familiar (and frequently hilarious) sight of figures around a table covered in drinks.