(aka 'Yeojaneun namjaui miraeda' or 'Woman Is the Future of Man')
The title of Hong's comedy of manners and mores, taken from a Louis Aragon poem, is gently misleading: the woman here, bar-owner Sun-Hwa (Sung), is actually a figure from the pasts of the two men, aspiring film-maker Kim (Kim) and university lecturer Lee (Yu). Both men had affairs with her in their student days, although they recall her very differently. And when they meet for the first time in some years (Kim has been studying in the US) they decide to look her up - and both of them fall for her all over again. The fact that Lee is now married is only one of the complications which affect the resulting triangle of jealousies, rivalries and generally less than great sex. As usual, Hong loads the film with neat symmetries and patterns of repetition/variation, but there's less formalist play with narrative structures than before. (Maybe the French co-producer's demand for cuts forced him to axe some of his ideas this time?) Still, it's funny, wry and emotionally acute.
Theatrical Release: May 17th, 2004 - Cannes Film Festival
DVD Review: New Yorker - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||New Yorker Video - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.41 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||Korean (Dolby Digital 2.0), Korean (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
Introduction by director Martin Scorsese
New Yorker are really improving in many areas with their recent DVD releases. Unfortunately this image still shows combing - which I can only assume if from an interlaced transfer as the standard master utilized would no doubt also be NTSC (cites Korean company Enter One in the opening). The image is anamorphic and the disc dual-layered but it loses a few points for lack of sharpness which won't probably be evident if viewing through standard television CRTs (cathode ray tubes). Still it has hazy moments and colors are not as vibrant as they might be. But the rest is all good - a 2.0 stereo and largely untested 5.1 track are optional as are well rendered English subtitles. The image is free from damage and I saw no untoward artifacts. The DVD is stacked with supplements.
It starts with a 2 1/2 minute intro by Martin Scorsese. There are 30 minutes worth of optionally subtitled interviews (3) with the principles, an almost 40 minute long 'Making of..." featurette (also optionally subtitled), a photo gallery and both Korean and French theatrical trailers. There is also a 6-page liner notes leaflet with short essays by Michael Atkinson and Kyung Hyun Kim. All relevant additions and fully supporting further appreciation of the film.
Like some of Sang-soo Hong's other work (Turning Gate, Woman on the Beach) - this is an excellent and memorable piece of poetically human cinema. There is a Korean DVD of the film available but I have no information on it at present. As for this NY'er edition - I am quite proud of them - they have come a long way in the past few years and this has shown some real growth especially in the area of extra features. An imperfect DVD, but one we recommend on the basis of the film and supplements.