5 September 2006 | gonzagaext
Quietly Engaging, An Authentic, Heartfelt Look at Matters of the Heart
It's been a while since I watched the amusingly titled "Woman is the Future of Man" at the Quad. More than a year and 2 Hong Sang-Soo films later it remains among my favorite films.
While it's always refreshing and welcome to see films depart from the pyrotechnics of the Hollywood school of film-making, some films' subtlety and quietness are rather oppressive (Tsai Ming-Liang immediately comes to mind). I think I have a longer attention span than the average film-goer, however, I have to admit that I can't sit through all kinds of slow films. Some are worth the challenge, others end up embodying the stereotype of the inaccessible art film. Hong's film would've looked like art house snobbery in action if not for the fact that it's made in a very straightforward manner focusing mainly on the most basic of emotions (and the complicated situations emanating from them). The style of film-making is so cinema verite, so unobtrusive, it's a joy to go beyond being a member of the audience and feel like an actual passerby. The best, most memorable celluloid stories stay in your mind as films but "Woman" is a story so well-told it feels more like snippets from somebody's life told by a close friend.
Hong Sang-soo's "Woman is the Future of Man" is yet another great addition to the impressive national cinema of South Korea and one that pushes me to continue exploring more of this body of work. It's raw, naked jealousy, regret, love, lust, and longing. It's a bittersweet reminder for anyone who's ever experienced romantic love and its many variations and deviations. This is it how it happens and somehow Mr. Hong has captured it through the magic of cinema.