On the Beach at Night Alone
(Bamui haebyun-eoseo honja)

Directed by Hong Sangsoo.
With Kim Min-hee, Seo Young-hwa, Jeong Jae-yeong.
South Korea/Germany, 2017, DCP, color, 101 min.
Korean, English and German with English subtitles.
DCP source: Cinema Guild

Among Hong’s most melancholy and sophisticated films to date, On the Beach at Night Alone fully embraces the surrealist elements that have often drifted across his films. Rather than jarring, the film’s unexplained diptych structure lends the film the oneiric and ruminative quality of a daydream whose leaps in time and space are emotional rather than logical. The story of a young actress running away from her recent traumatic affair with a renowned Korean filmmaker, On the Beach at Night Alone explicitly references the unreasonable sound and fury directed upon Hong and lead actress Kim Min-hee by the Korean media when the two revealed publically that they were in a committed relationship. Hong’s novel method of writing scenes the very morning of the shoot, and only sharing dialogue with his actors a few hours before, contributes to the gentle strangeness and strength of this film in which unexpected outbursts and awkward miscommunication are able to carry a raw, almost overwhelming, emotional weight. 

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