6:00pm Woman is the Future of Man (88m)
An attempted trip down memory lane turns sour in this volatile melodrama, a key work in the development of Hong’s approach to examining relations between men and women. Two friends (Kim Tae-woo and Yoo Ji-tae), a filmmaker and an art teacher respectively, drunkenly decide to seek out an old girlfriend in a nearby city, but this journey into the past reopens old wounds and reignites old longings that were probably best left extinguished. An eminently modern parable about love and selfishness, Woman Is the Future of Man endures as one of Hong’s richest group portraits of everyday people flailing about while trying to obtain a bit of tenderness.
7:45pm Woman on the Beach (127m)
After creatively blocked filmmaker Jung-rae (Kim Seung-woo) convinces his friend to join him on a brief holiday to finish a script, he begins an affair with the friend’s girlfriend, Mun-suk (Go Hyun-jung). As is customary in Hong’s doubled-narrative structures, the film’s second half inverts this triangle when Jung-rae returns to the beach and meets Sun-hee (Song Seon-mi), a woman who resembles Mun-suk. Woman on the Beach revisits the kind of listless coastal resort town that supplied the setting for The Power of Kangwon Province, but this time during its wintry off-season, as Hong deftly captures the subtle layers of monotony, humor, and sadness that connect Jung-rae’s two trips. An NYFF44 selection.