- The Power of Kangwon Province
- South Korea1998
- Hong Sang-soo
“Etched with precision and conveying a world of feeling … One of the best films you can see this year.”Manohla Dargis, New York Times
The trusted, treasured hallmarks of prolific South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo were already in perfect order in his exceptional 1998 sophomore feature, a superb entry point for those navigating the director’s expansive oeuvre for the first time. Sophisticated in design but subtle in its down-to-earth telling, the film relates the overlapping, analogous tales of two ex-lovers who, unbeknownst to each other, are simultaneously holidaying in the mountainous seaside province of Kangwon in South Korea’s northeast. In the first part, young Jisook (Oh Yoon-hong), overnighting with two girlfriends, starts a flirtatious relationship with a married policeman. In the other, husband-father Sangwon (Baek Jong-hak), awaiting news of a teaching position, travels to Kangwon with an old schoolmate and crisscrosses the same path Jisook just took—or is about to. At the centre of the jigsaw is a mystery involving a perished sightseer, whose death brings to fore a dark undercurrent running through the film. Per usual for Hong, then as now, drunken squabbles over soju and regrettable sex abound.
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“Complex in structure and subtle in effect … Virtuoso filmmaking.”Tony Rayns, Time Out
“Hong’s stationary camera anchors an essentially humanist vision, revealing fine nuances of character and noting the emotional disconnect between even the most intimate companions.”Fred Camper, Chicago Reader