Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
The prolific career of Hong Sang-Soo includes numerous films that have a gentle and unassuming touch; easily categorized among his more obscure efforts, this one might not be the film to make a newcomer to his oeuvre a devoted fan (I’d suggest Night and Day for that), but it is one that will please fans who already subscribe to the subtle magic of his world.
Divided into sections that each record the interactions between younger and older generations while carefully, subtly charting the tension between them, it begins when Yeong-ho, a young aspiring artist, goes to visit his doctor father at his clinic, where a famous actor is being treated.
We then head to Berlin where Yeong-ho’s girlfriend Ju-won has gone to study fashion design, accompanied with her mother who has taken her to meet a successful ex-patriate artist (the director’s muse Kim Min-hee). The artist is putting Ju-won up until she finds her own place, and Yeong-ho follows her there. Later when he is back home, Yeong-ho meets his mother at a restaurant where she is dining with the actor who had been his father’s patient, who gives a terrific, grandiloquent lecture on the importance of the craft of acting.
Shot in a beautiful, hazy black and white and unfolding without the slightest feeling of manipulation, this is not the filmmaker at his most arresting but it still manages to show off his perceptive and generous understanding of human interaction.
Berlin Film Festival Award: Best Screenplay