Movie lacks redemption, in a good way: Woman on the Beach

A year after playing at SIFF, South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo’s Woman on the Beach returns to Seattle for a one-week engagement at the Grand Illusion. And it’s well worth carving a couple of hours out of your current festival-going to catch. This perceptive comedy of bad manners, in which a “sensitive artist” outs himself as a conniving neurotic prig, absolutely towers over most of the entries in this year’s SIFF, Asian or otherwise.

The movie follows a swaggeringly sexual filmmaker, Kim Joong-rae, who takes off for the weekend to Shinduri Beach, supposedly to draw inspiration for his latest pretentious project, to be called About Miracles, concerning a man who spends 10 years trying to figure out where that Mozart music in the elevator is coming from.

Along for the ride are Chang-wook, a worshipful acolyte who always addresses Joong-rae (to sweetly ludicrous effect) as “director Kim,” and Chang-wook’s luminous date Moon-sook. Joong-rae wastes no time in trying to come between them: “Chang-wook, I admire you. It’s hard for a married man to openly bring along his girlfriend … You must really trust me.”

In the realm of compliments that double as insults, Joong-rae establishes who’s-who in his flirtation with Moon-sook . . .

Continue reading at Northwest Asian Weekly.