(director/writer: Hong-Sang-soo; cinematographer: Hong-Sang-soo; editor: Hong-Sang-soo; music: Hong-Sang-soo; cast: Kwon Haehyo (Byungsoo), Lee Hyeyoung (Ms. Kim), Song Sunmi (Sunhee), Cho Yunhee (Jiyoung), Park Miso (Jeonsu); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Hong-Sang-soo; A Jeonwonsa Film; 2022 S.Korea-in Korean with English subtitles-B/W)
“A well-made grim film that’s starkly funny but has no emotional impact.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Prolific South Korean filmmaker Hong-Sang-soo (“The Woman Who Ran”/”In Front of Your Face”) shoots a black and white slight human interest drama where he’s director, writer, editor, cinematographer and producer.
The story follows the middle-aged frisky film director Byungsoo (Kwon Haehyo), who takes his aspiring interior decorator daughter Jeonsu (Park Miso) with him to visit his old friend Ms. Kim (Lee Hyeyoung) in the four-story walk up building she’s the owner/landlady of. Mrs. Kim is also an experienced interior designer, as the taciturn divorced director hopes his friend will give his daughter advice on being an interior designer.
Before you realize it, Byungsoo is a tenant on the top floor of Ms. Kim’s building and his daughter is no longer her apprentice.
After knocking off a couple bottles of wine, the director in Chapter 2 hooks up with his fellow tenant, owner of the the second floor restaurant, Sunhee (Song Sunmi). In Chapter 3 the director is sick and in isolation over COVID, while Sunhee has gone stir-crazy at home. In the final chapter, Sunhee dumps him and the director soon shows off on the balcony his new girlfriend (Cho Yunhee) to the distress of the snooping landlady who has turned frosty to him.
With Kwon Haehyo delightfully playing Hong-Sang-soo’s doppelgänger, who quickly reacts to being left alone when dumped by his woman and not handling it that w
ell until he does. It’s a well-made grim film that’s starkly funny but has no emotional impact, but it should put a smile on your kisser.
Played at the Toronto Film Festival and at the San Sebastian Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 10/1/2022 GRADE: B