1:30pm Our Sunhi (88m) + Lost in the Mountains (31m)
Our Sunhi offers another dryly comic and acutely observed take on misread behavior, indecision, and awkward interchanges between the sexes from one of cinema’s undisputed masters of moral comedy. Attempting to make a new start, slightly lost former film student Sunhi (Jung Yu-mi) returns to her college to get a reference letter and inadvertently awakens vague romantic longings, first in her old professor, then in a graduate student/ex-boyfriend, and finally in a film director and potential mentor from her class. The three men move into orbit around Sunhi, proffering career and life-choice advice while attempting to define and “understand” her, but in the end they are merely projecting their own feelings and interpretations onto their obscure and unwitting object of desire, to quietly comical effect.
In Lost in the Mountains, one of Hong’s rare shorts, a young writer drives from Seoul to Jeonju to visit her best friend, but winds up getting entangled with a former professor and an ex-boyfriend, resulting in a journey of mortification and self-discovery.
3:45pm The Woman Who Ran (77m)
Men are mostly, amusingly sidelined in The Woman Who Ran, which is anchored by the director’s regular collaborator—and real-life partner—Kim Minhee as the peripatetic Gamhee. Divided into three casually threaded yet distinct sections, the film follows Gamhee as she travels without her husband for the first time in years, visiting a succession of friends: two on purpose, one by chance. As usual, Hong allows the most minimal interactions to carry surprising weight, and uses subtle and sly narrative repetition to evoke a world of circular motion. The Woman Who Ran also features one of Hong’s most expert comic set pieces, a neighborly argument about stray cats that gets to the heart of the filmmaker’s lovingly crafted world of thwarted connections and everyday dysfunction. An NYFF58 selection.