Hong Sang-soo but of those I have (including The Day He Arrives, Like You Know It All, Oki's Movie, Night and Day, Woman Is the Future of Man, Woman on the Beach and his latest RIGHT NOW, WRONG THEN among them), certain themes and characteristics emerge. Hong often tells stories with a Korean art film director as a leading character. (Why not? He certainly knows those ropes.) If not a director, he'll give us an artist, or sometimes both. Furthermore, this director (along with most other characters in the film) drinks a lot and womanizes whenever possible. Travel is often present --from one city to another or one country to another -- as is the sense of the past nurturing and/or hobbling the present, as well as a keen interest in responsibility and the acceptance or rejection of same.
Eric Rohmer when I confront the films of Mr. Hong (shown at left). And I do mean this as a compliment. Both men's film are art-house to a fault, dialog heavy and often deal in similar themes. (Hong's movies are generally lengthier than Rohmer's, so be patient.) His latest two-hour frolic splits itself almost exactly in two, with the first hour showing us his alter ego engaging in the usual come-on to attractive women (though he does try to resist, boy, is it difficult!), drinking, flirting, babbling and generally embarrassing himself rather badly. All this is, as usual, great fun to see this pretentious little twat unmasked and undone. But it is with the second half that Hong burnishes his movie to a gleaming shine.
Grasshopper Film and running opens tomorrow, Friday, June 24, in New York at the new Metrograph and at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and in Los Angeles on June 25, at the Acropolis Cinema. In the weeks following, it will hit another six cities. Click here then scroll way down and click on Where to Watch to see all currently scheduled playdates, cities and theaters.