YOURSELF AND YOURS (Dangsinjasingwa dangsinui geot)
(director/writer: Hong Sang-soo;cinematographer: Park Hong-yeol; editor: Hahm Sung-won; music: Dalparan; cast: Kim Joo-hyuck (Youngsoo), Lee You-young (Min-jung), Kwon Hae-hyo (Jaeyoung), Yu Jun-sang (Sangwon), Kim Eui-sung (Kim Joong-haeng, neighbor); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; The Cinema Guild; 2016-South Korea-in Korean with English subtitles)
“It has a catchy droll humor, if nothing else.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A quirky relationship indie film by the prolific South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo (“Right Now, Wrong Then”/”The Woman Who Ran”). It’s filmed as a comical allegory, filled with boozy flawed characters who are not sympathetic figures. We encounter three troubled males–a journalist, an artist and a filmmaker–pursuing a tantalizing woman. It’s a typical playful Hong film, one that’s more absurd than realistic and kept mysterious with no explanations to clear up the dark spots. It has a catchy droll humor, if nothing else. Just don’t look for much of a plot or much more of a story than how these flawed characters interact with each other when being romantic, and I think with those limits even those not familiar with Hong’s films might find this strange one has an odd appeal. At least if should be tolerable if you can go along with its magical realism.
While worried over his ill mom, the sensitive artist Young-soo (Kim Joo-hyuk) gets into a spat with his free-spirited girlfriend Min-jung (Lee Yoo-young) and tells her off. He’s been told by his neighbor (Kim Eui-sung) she was excessively drinking with another man at a cafe. She gets indignant over his attempts to control her and after denying the gossip, breaks off the relationship. The next day he will try to make up with her while she’s at a bar drinking with several men, but the woman who looks like his former girlfriend says she’s her twin. Not even Young-soo is sure if she’s not Min-jung.
Young-soo seems to believe Minjung is having an affair with the middle-aged writer Jaeyoung (Kwon Hae-hyo), only to find out she dumped him while they were sitting at a park bench by coldly saying “I’m not interested in you any more.” Another look-alike or real Min-jung is linked to drinking with the womanizing filmmaker Sangwon (Yu Jun-sang).
But we are not sure what’s real or imagined, and question if these ladies are Min-jung or her twin, or look-alikes, or if it’s merely Youngsoo hallucinating, or if Minjung is merely playing mind games on him. Her perverse feminist thing is to divide men into either being “wolves” and “children,” and calling them all pathetic.
Kim Eui-song, Yu Jun-sang and Kwon Hae-hyo, all Hong regulars, are excellent in supporting roles, while the leading characters Kim Joo-hyuk and Lee Yoo-young are first-timers with Hong and do a credible job.
Hong tells us in an interview he took his cues about what to do about a female protagonist from Luis Bunuel’s That Obscure Object of Desire, which featured different actresses playing the same woman.
REVIEWED ON 6/23/2020 GRADE: B –