Derik Badman's Journal

2021-01-25 08:18

Hong Sang-Soo's Woman on the Beach (2006) was not one of my favorite movies of his, but as I've seen more and more of them it cements my feeling that he's much more interesting in the more recent films. All the ones I really like cover the range 2015-2017 (I've not yet seen any of the even more recent ones) and give a more prominent (and empathetic) role to the women. This one goes further that way than the previous earlier ones I've seen (and didn't really like). This one actually is super reminiscent of Rohmer's Moral Tales, as it has a guy (a film director, a maintstain of Hong's work) who is at the beach and there are two women, the one he likes, and then the one he sleeps with when the first one goes away (but then she comes back). But unlike Rohmer, the first woman ends up rejecting him because he is not truthful with her. And the film ends with the woman not the man, as she drives off from the beach. It was refreshing to see that, because as I was watching it the director protagonist got more obnoxious and I was concerned it would end up with the woman not breaking off with him.

One strange moment late in the film (which I should also note felt a little long at over 2 hours), the woman has been out (with the second woman). She parks her car on a road, locks it up, and then just walks into a field. Cut to her coming over a little hill. She walks into this field, it's not clear what she is doing out there in the dark, not in the sense of what we see her doing (walking), but in the sense of why she walked out there. The scene cuts back to the director for a bit, and then when it returns to the woman she goes back up the little hill and drives back to the hotel. It's a mysterious little moment.

Finished the Queuenea essay book such as I could. Ended up skimming much of it. A lot of the essays feel... irrelevant now, to me. He's talking a lot about literature contemporary to him (mostly the mid/late 40s) that I have not heard of. The essay on Bouvard and Pecuchet was interesting. I'm still not clear if I've read it before somewhere. But I enjoyed it and it made want to reread that novel. Also there is an interview towards the end that provides more context to some of his comments I've seen quoted about the structure of his novels.