(director/writer: Sang-Soo Hong; cinematographer: Park Hong-yeol; editor: Hahm Sung-won; music: Jeong Yong-jin; cast: Jung Jae-young (Ham Cheon-soo ), Kim Min-hee (Hee-jung), Youn Yuh-jung (Kim’s Mother), Yu Jun-sang (The Moderator at the film gathering), Ko Ah-sung (Yeom Bo-ra), Chai Hwa-jung (Bang Soo-young), Seo Young-hwa (Joo Young-sil), Kee Joo-bong (Kim Won-ho), Youn Yuh-jung (Kang Deok-soo); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Kim Kyoung-hee; Next Entertainment World/Finecut (Jeonwonsa Film); 2015-South Korea-in Korean with English subtitles)

“It keenly observes how people try to make romantic connections.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Acclaimed South Korean auteur Sang-Soo Hong (“Hill of Freedom”/”In Another Country”/”Woman on the Beach”) directs and writes one of his familiar types of arthouse comedies. It won the Golden Leopard prize at the Locarno International Film Festival. It uses mostly static medium shots interlaced with zooms.

Arthouse film director Ham Chunsu (Jung Jae-young) is visiting the city of Suwon, just outside of Seoul, to screen his latest film with a gathering of film people. Due to a travel date snafu he arrives a day early and decides to kill time visiting the “Blessing Hall” palace. There the older filmmaker runs into the attractive younger local artist Yoon Heejung (model-turned-actress Kim Minhee) and chats her up.The unknown painter is impressed that he’s a famous celebrity. They end up spending the day together. They go first to a coffee shop, then they go to her workshop. They go later to a restaurant, where they have sushi and drink too much soju, before ending the night with her friends in a bar. She reveals that she doesn’t “like to watch movies but people seem to praise your movies a lot.” Too much drink allows Ham to tell the bashful Yoon that he’s fallen in love with her. But nothing more comes of it. For the second part, the film does the first part over and lets us see another way the pick-up could have turned out if it was played out differently. It gives the filmmaker another chance to find success in romance over two days. The humanistic film seems to be autobiographical, as it keenly observes how people try to make romantic connections.

REVIEWED ON 6/6/2016 GRADE: B+    https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/