I wasn’t too enamored with Hong Sang-soo’s A Tale of Cinema (NYFF 2005), but this new film is marvelous. Set in an off-season seaside resort, it concerns a movie director and his girlfriends (both sober and drunk on sake), an abandoned dog, vindictive sushi chefs, and swollen muscles. A delicious surprise. At the press conference, Sang-soo turned out to be as soft spoken and gentle as you would expect. He works with a twenty-page treatment, shoots in sequence, and doesn’t write actual scenes until the day of shooting. The result is ineffable, subtle, hilarious, and true. With the beautiful Korean TV star Go Hyun-jung. My favorite film at the festival so far.

Woman on the Beach. Hong Sang-soo, 2006. ****

[tags]korea, 4 stars, hong sang soo, go hyun jung, film, nyff[/tags]