Woman on the Beach

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  • Movie: Woman on the Beach
  • Revised romanization: Haebyeonui Yeoin
  • Hangul: 해변의 여인
  • Director: Hong Sang-Soo
  • Assistant Director: Lee Kwang-Kuk
  • Writer: Hong Sang-Soo
  • Producer:
  • Cinematographer:
  • Release Date: August 31, 2006
  • Runtime: 127 Min.
  • Production Budget: US$ 1.45M
  • Language: Korean
  • Country: South Korea

Plot

Jung-Rae (Kim Seung-Woo) is a director/writer that needs to get away from the city environment to concentrate on his script. He asks his friend and coworker to drive him down to the coastal city of Shinduri. Unfortunately, his friend, Chang-Wook (Kim Tae-Woo), already has plans for the evening…which includes a special date with a girl. The director, Jung-Rae, insists anyways and finally Chang-Wook agrees…if he can bring his girlfriend, Moon-Sook (Ko Hyun-Jung). Jung-Rae says that is fine and they agree to go all together.

Later that day when the director is picked up by Chang-Wook, he is introduced to his girlfriend, who happens to be a big fan of his work. Once they arrive in Shinduri the director and Moon-Sook become better acquainted and quickly become more attracted to each other. Moon-Sook tries to clarify to the director that she is only friends with Chang-Wook, while the director clarifies the situation even more by asking her "Who would you prefer to be with?" When Moon-Sook answers that it would be the director, they soon find themselves sneaking out together at night and end up sleeping together at another hotel.

The next day the director seems more uptight and makes it known that he is going back to Seoul because the beach town is too empty. He tells Moon-Sook that he needs some time to clear things out in his mind. The director soon returns back to Shinduri and calls Moon-Sook repeatedly on her cellphone. Even though she doesn’t answer the phone, Jung-Rae leaves a message asking her to come back to Shinduri to see him. Soon after the phone call, the director comes across another lady near the beach that he believes resembles Moon-Sook. While they become more involved, Moon-Sook has now returned to Shinduri.

Cast

Woman On The Beach-Kim Seung-Woo.jpg Woman On The Beach-Kim Tae-Woo.jpg Woman On The Beach-Ko Hyun-Jung.jpg Woman On The Beach-Song Seon-Mi.jpg
Kim Seung-Woo Kim Tae-Woo Ko Hyun-Jung Song Seon-Mi
Director Kim Jung-Rae Won Chang-Wook Kim Moon-Sook Choi Sun-Hee

Additional Cast Members:

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Ki Don’t let the movie poster fool you into believing that this movie is a Korean Romance/Comedy. Woman on the Beach is directed by Hong Sang-Su (Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Woman Is the Future of Man) which should give you an idea of what this film is like, if you are at all familiar with Korean Cinema.

Woman On The Beach, as with most of Hong Sang-Su’s films, deals with relationships and the fragile psyches behind those relationships. It just so happens that Woman On The Beach may well be Hong Sang-Su most accessible film to date and possibly his best film. This was all the more surprising because the two main characters in the film were not instantly like-able characters.

From the first scene, the viewer is introduced to Jung-Rae's propensity to be self-centered and selfish. His friend had no desire to go to Shinduri, but still Jung-Rae goads him into going, simply because he wants companionship and a ride! It's irrelevant to him that his friend had already made a date and it “could” be better for him if he brought her along. Even with these faults, there are bigger issues that encompasses Jung-Rae's mind. That issue would be the image of his ex-wife having sex with another one of his friends prior to their marriage. This image tainted Jung-Rae’s view on life and clouds his ability to concentrate on his work.

The director of the film, Hong Sang-Su, lets it known in his own subtle way that the problems Jung-Rae experiences are self inflicted wounds. While Jung-Rae and Moon-Sook were drinking together and still in their initial flirting stage, Jung-Rae decided to go to his hotel room for a nap. While he doses off into sleep, the sound of the television is discernible, with two baseball announcers talking in the background. The announcers are “coincidentally” discussing the rules for a baseball player that gets intentionally hit by pitch. They say something along the lines of "The batter was a hit by a pitched ball. There’s a strict rule for a baseball player if you let the ball hit you when you could've dodged it..its either a ball or strike…rather than a free pass to firstbase." That would sum up perfectly Jung-Rae's own self induced trauma over his wife's pre-marriage sexual relationship.

This changes, somewhat, when he meets Moon-Sook. The conquest part excited Jung-Rae enough, where he forgot about his problems and soon focused only on Moon-Sook. That is until the next morning, when reality came through the curtains along with the sunlight. Jung-Rae, in his self-defensive mode, acted distant with Moon-Sook and eventually broke up their relationship. But he quickly changes his mind and asks for reconciliation. The director did a wonderful job of expressing Jung-Rae's feelings towards Moon-Sook via the pen and paper diagram he had Jung-Rae draw.

As you can tell by now, Woman On The Beach is filled with images of people in groups of three. This was probably in reference to the director's idea that human nature is filled with desire for something they do not have. As the people in the film come in groups of three, they eventually seek out to break off into pairs and the volatility of this situation is what attracted people like Jung-Rae to Moon-Sook.

The film ends with another poignant and uplifting message. Moon-Sook calls Jung-Rae and tells him in a matter-of-fact kind of way that she does not want to see him anymore. She then drives off in her car onto the beach in Shinduri. Her car gets stuck in the sand and then two men come over to push her car out of the sand. This was the one time in the movie where a group of three people broke up with an individual leaving happily by themselves. The idea of happiness coming from within and until you are able to find that, the type of despair that inflicted Jung-Rae and Moon-Sook will always linger, was an absolute great way to go out! Very good movie that should be checked out.

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