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FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
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   Woman is the Future of Man  


Woman Is the Future of Man

Reviewed by Adrian Sim

Korean Title: Yeojaneun namjaui miraeda
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Writing Credits: Hong Sang-soo
Starring: Yu Ji-tae, Kim Tae-woo, Seong Hyeon-a, Kim Ho-jung
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year released: 2004
Runtime: 88 min

Well all right, not exactly a comedy...nothing hilarious in the conventional sitcomish, stand-uppish live wire way... but the trademark Hong Sang-Soo wit, i.e. sophisticated frisky humor subtly played out in ironies in situations and exchanges b/w characters.

In Hong's sexually frank worlds, the protagonists are discontented beings who often give in to their libidos and let their dicks, pussies and orifices rule their heads.

In Hong's previous Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, a disgruntled virgin has a hard time choosing between her middle-aged married producer and a handsome young man to deflower her.

In his most praised on the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate, a loser finds his latest sexual conquest oddly reflective of his previous one.

Relationships are frayed. People are hurt. But the cheating and fucking continues...often stolid and fraught with awkward yelps. And they want more. It’s like these empty people are waiting, fucking and waiting for the definitive in their lives which never comes.

I admire Hong for dealing with the sex in his films in incredibly matured and thought-provoking way. The carefully directed scenes never cheapen the sex. The minimalist framing actually milks maximum dramatic effect and nuances from the characters.

Hong usually depicts his characters' flaws and as a result, they appear unlikeable - selfish and frustratingly whiny. But I like his films nonetheless for the small truths they reveal.

On closer inspection, Woman is actually a culmination of themes from Hong's previous forays. It deals with memories, lies and truths as in Virgin. Like in Turning Gate, it deals with sex as reprieve from disillusionment.

Woman is yet again, another splendid existential tragicomedy by Hong Sang-Soo. Although deceptively unassuming on the surface, it is, at the core, a scathing exposé on human follies and frailties that we so often fail to address or admit. Strictly for the cinephiles!