Our Sunhi Screen 14 articles

Our Sunhi

2013

Our Sunhi Poster
  • Even more minimalistically maddening than usual, Hong’s arc finds the characters rehearsing these same fumbled social situations almost in desperation until the cycle is complete and the spell broken, freeing Sunhi if not her hapless, lumpish suitors.

  • I’ve only seen a few of his films, and yet every time it feels like running into an old friend. Our Sunhi, the Korean filmmaker’s latest exercise in intimate wryness, kicks off with a daisy-chain of encounters that exemplifies his deceptively simple style.

  • ...This one feels almost like a more straightforward remake of Oki's Movie (my favorite of his last several), with the multiple-film conceit abandoned... and the gender trajectory reversed, so that we begin with the lone female and triangulate (almost literally) to the several fellas. Perfectly pleasant, but at this point I'm itching to see what Hong might do if forced out of his very snug comfort zone. Which even Izzy could not achieve.

  • Such minute psychological observations (like Rohmer’s and maybe Ozu’s) are especially dependent on performances, and, for the most part, they are strong here, particularly Jeong Yu-mi. It is not clear, however, that this confined and disciplined system of themes, characters and lengthy conversations will attract a lot of new fans to Hong’s minimalist work.

  • It’s funny, to be sure, and Hong leans on his ease with timing and deadpan delivery (visual as well as performance), but it’s awfully familiar and lacking the sharp bite of more satirical films.

  • It's a pleasure to watch, from its opening moment to its last. Yet beneath its breezy comic surface, there is the subtlest undercurrent of melancholy here, emanating not least from the distaff center of attention. "Our" Sunhi, after all, has to shoulder the weight of all that smitten affection, which Hong wisely realizes might be a less enviable, more burdensome task than inferior rom-coms prefer to let on.

  • If the psychosexual hang-ups staged by Hong define our contemporary landscape, then it is the world itself, at least a metonymic version of it, that his mise en scène offers us as a series of minute, precisely crafted fragments that overlap and contradict themselves. He recounts small moments that don’t quite add up to a “story”; his limited settings, used in a combination of repetitive variations become a sort of minimalist aleph...

  • There's a lacerating sense of self-defeat to Our Sunhi, but the bruising ramification of these actions are never felt as deeply as they are in Hong's most daring works (The Day He Arrives, Woman on the Beach,Night and Day). The drama is a bit too limited in scope in Our Sunhi, as that slight but key sting of regret is not felt by the time Sunhi’s chickens come home to roost. Rather, Hong leaves the film with an eloquently comical and quietly reflexive scenario...

  • Like Eric Rohmer (to whom he has often been likened) or Woody Allen (whose work ethic he shares), Hong can sometimes seem to dash off a film with less than his usual rigor, but “Our Sunhi” benefits from a leanness and sense of purpose absent from some of Hong’s other recent efforts (like the overlong “Hahaha”). It’s a film in which one senses Hong’s technique drained of all excess moisture, as if the film had been set out overnight in a bag of rice.

  • Perhaps Hong’s most rigorously composed work, Our Sunhi consists largely of lengthy, static two-shots wherein characters psychologically purge to the point of discomfort, forcing one to confront these contradictory personalities head on. (Hong has never been one for cross-cutting, but even so, a handful of scenes here run close to ten minutes in length; an early scene between Munsu and Jaehak approaches 12.)

  • At less than 90 minutes, the film is deft and cunning, and it had my full attention from that early scene in which Sunhi sits in a chicken joint drinking beer with a pal. The lighting is remarkable: framed in profile against a large window, Sunhi is almost a silhouette against the street outside, which seems at once to be invitingly and off-puttingly bright.

  • Hong structures the film around different pairings and drinking sessions, each in it’s own way an indicator of fluctuating desires and motivations. More often than not, what’s said is not what’s felt, and this leaves the characters fittingly bewildered in perfect Hong fashion.

  • Hong arranges matters so that Sunhi and all three of her suitors cross paths in a park bedecked with autumnal foliage, and the wryly comic results are so deftly handled as to be worthy of a 1930s Lubitsch film.

  • Hong parsed down to the essentials in what (having only seen his last six films) might be his best film in terms of directorial work. New visual textures are abound, from the repeated use of establishing shots that stare into the sky before situating us within the moment (all leading to that final out zoom) to the exceedingly long takes with much less dialogue than usual, emphasizing the spaces and gestures made in a way closer to something like Hou's Cafe Lumiere...

More Links