Heroes of the East

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    Woman on the Beach (2006)

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    ewaffle

    Posts : 55
    Join date : 2011-02-16

    Woman on the Beach (2006)

    Post  ewaffle on Sun Mar 06, 2011 8:51 pm

    Woman on the Beach, Hong Sang-soo's film of shifting relationships reminds me a bit of Eric Rohmer, perhaps a combination of "Pauline at the Beach" and "Chloe in the Afternoon". Hong has a deft hand with love triangles. The presentation of his characters is less sunny than Rohmer but their development is just as credible and organic. Neither is afraid to film long conversations with little action and I thought I recognized a Rohmer trademark camera movement during a couple of them in Woman on the Beach, the camera going from a nicely framed shot of three actors to a deliberate zoom that focuses on one of them but stops well short of a close-up. The character speaking is emphasized but the other two aren't excluded while over-the-shoulder reactions shots aren't necessary.

    The first triangle is among Director Kim, his friend and acolyte Won Chang-wook and the woman who Won thinks is his girlfriend, Kim Moon-sook. They head to the beach on the west side of the peninsula, definitely during the off season. Kim needs to get away from Seoul to write a screenplay due in a week that he has been blocked on--he drags Won and then Moon-Sook along to keep him company. When Director Kim and Moon-sook fall into bed it is less of a betrayal of Won than a quick brushing off.

    In the following triangle Won is replaced by Choi Seon-hee so the rivalry is now between two women with Kim as the apex of the angle. Kim is a lout, Won is a cipher, Moon-Sook is delightful if deluded young woman and Choi Seon-hee is out to have a good time while she divorces her husband. Or so it might seem but the shifting realities of who is with whom pulls the rug out from under any certainties we might have about the characters, their relationships and their motivations.

    Director Kim is a fantasy voyeur--he claims, after convincing Moon-Sook to tell him that she slept with foreigners during her college days in Germany, that he can't get the image out of his mind, a flaw (or simply an aspect) of his make-up that serves him well as a creator of images for the screen.

    This is the first Hong Sang-soo movie I have seen so I don't know if Woman on the Beach is typical of his work or not.

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