2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

Members' Marquees

Critical Contacts

Lobby Reading

The Video Store

Reel Resources

The Blog Bijou

-Admit One
-Artistic Delusions
-Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
-Beware of Blog
-The Brain Drain
Biancolo Notes
-The Big Ticket
-Bitter Cinema
-Black & White World
-Bull Durham's Hot Corner
-Brewed Fresh Daily
-Camille's Film Journal
-The Chutry Experiment
-Cineblog (II)
-Cine Club
-Cinegraphic.Net: The Avante-Garde Film and Video Blog
-Cinema 24
-Cinema News
-Il Cinema Secondo (Italian)
-Cineaste (Russian)
-Cinema Toast
-Concentrated Nonsense
-Confessions of an Indie Filmmaker
-Cult Movies I Dare You to Watch
-Cutting to the Chase
-Cynthia Rockwell's Waiting Room
-The Daily Despair
-The Daily Digest
-Day for Night
-Delta Sierra Arts
-Dinky's Docket
-Distorting the Medium
-Donald Melanson On Movies
-Electric Movies
-Fade In: Blog
-Feeling Listless
-Filmfilter (German)
-Filmtagebuch (German)
-Film Talk
-Five Easy Pieces
-Frank Booth
-A Girl and A Gun
-Glazed Donuts
-GreenCine Daily
-Harlequin Knights
-He Loved Him Some Movies
-The Hobo Reviews
-Hot Buttered Death
-Iggy's Movie Review Weblog
-Iguano Film Blog
-In Development
-Japanese Films' Journal
-Joe Sixpack's Film Blog
-Joe's Weblog & Film Project News
-Junk for Code
-Kumari's Movie Blog
-Lights Out Films
-Like Anna Karina's Sweater (Filmbrain)
-Listen Missy
-Magnolia Girl
-Marley's Ghost
-Media Yenta
-Michael I. Trent
-Moov Goog
-Motime Like the Present
-Movie Boy
-Movie Criticism For the Retarded
-A Movie Diary
-The Movie Generation
-The Movie Marketing Blog
-Movie Retard
-The Movie Review
-Moving Pictures
-Nando's Blog
-Netflix Fan
-Or Kill Me
-Out of Ambit
-Out of Focus
-Paolo - Cinema's Radio Weblog (Italian)
-Pigs and Battleships
-Plot Kicks In
-Pop Culture Junkies
-The Projector
-Qwipster's Movie Reviews
-Reel Reviews (Podcast)
-Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
-The Screening Room
-Screen Watcher
-Short and Sweet
-The Silver Screen
-Stinky Cinema
-Sunset Blvd
-Tagline: A Movie Weblog
Talking Pictures
Tea for One
-Tom Vick's Asian Cinema Blog
-Trailer Park
-Truly Bad Films
Waste of Tape
-Wayne's Movie Blog
Whippin Picadilly
Wittgenstein's Bunnies
-Yay! Movies!
McBain Recommends
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Kill Bill vol 2
Shroom Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Head On
Joker Recommends
-Top 20 List
-House of Flying Daggers
-The Aviator
-Bad Education
Yun-Fat Recommends
-Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
-Los Muertos
-Tropical Malady
Allyn Recommends
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Songs from the Second Floor
Phyrephox Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Design for Living (Lubitsch, 1933)
-War of the Worlds
-Howl's Moving Castle
Melisb Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Return
-Spirited Away
-Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring
Wardpet Recommends
-Finding Nemo
-Man on the Train
-28 Days Later
Lorne Recommends
-21 Grams
-Cold Mountain
-Lost in Translation
Merlot Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Man on the Train
-Safe Conduct
-The Statement
Whitney Recommends
-Femme Fatale
-Gangs of New York
-Grand Illusion
Sydhe Recommends
-In America
-Looney Tunes: Back In Action
-Whale Rider
Copywright Recommends
Top 20 List
-Flowers of Shanghai
-Road to Perdition
Stennie Recommends
Top 20 List
-A Matter of Life and Death
Rodney Recommends
Top 20 List
-The Pianist
-Talk to Her
Jeff Recommends
-Dial M for Murder
-The Game
-Star Wars Saga
Lady Wakasa Recommends
-Dracula: Page from a Virgin's Diary
-Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
-The Last Laugh
Steve Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
Jenny Recommends
-Mean Girls
-Super Size Me
-The Warriors
Jason Recommends
Top 20 List
-Old Boy
-Million Dollar Baby
-Head On
Lons Recommends
-Before Sunset
-The Incredibles

Powered by Blogger Pro™

links open windows

(c)2002 Design by Blogscapes.com

The Blog:
Sunday, October 10, 2004
From the 42nd New York Film Festival: Woman is the Future of Man
Hong Song-soo’s small, unassuming comedic film, wonderfully titled Woman is the Future of Man, is slight in the way Tsai Ming-Liang’s film Goodbye, Dragon Inn or Ohayo by Ozu Yasujiro is slight. All three retread familiar themes and narratives by their respective filmmakers, and use an exact, refined visual style that is unfussy and deceptively simple. But these things do not make any of these films any less great, and Woman is the Future of Man is a quiet, sad film whose surface simplicity deeply reflects the sorrow congenital in its characters.

Though the narrative is clean, Hong’s film is actually fairly playful in its chronological structure. It begins with Hyeon-gon (Kim Tae-woo) returning from America to visit an old friend of his from school, Mun-ho (Yu Ji-tae), who has acquired many of the things in that denote the life of an adult, having married and bought a house. Though seemingly grown up-both men are university graduates, Mun-ho being an art teacher and Hyeon-gon a film director-a meeting between the two reveals the simple-minded maturity of the two men and their ineffectual abilities to understand women and thereby be satisfied with life.

When Mun-ho momentarily steps out of a café the two are eating at, Hyeon-gon with ridiculous sincerity hits on the waitress by asking her to audition for his film. She turns down his advances and his glance wanders out the window to a beautiful woman standing in the middle of the street. The film cuts immediately to what turns out to be a flashback of Hyeon-gon’s relationship with Seon-hwa (Seong Hyeon-a), whom he seems to have dated primarily for sexual reasons even though she fell hard for him. Leaving for America, Hyeon-gon promised to continue the relationship but in fact carelessly abandoned her.

In the first of a number of delicate rhymes which speak to Woman is the Future of Man’s gentle circular structure, Hyeon-gon leaves the café to do an errand and Mun-ho hits on the waitress by asking her to pose nude for him. Denied like his friend, Mun-ho’s gaze rests on the same woman outside and the film flashes back to his naïve, aggressive attempts to sleep with Seon-hwa after Hyeon-gon left. When Hyeon-gon returns the subject of their shared sexual partner comes up and the two decide to travel to find Seon-hwa. Both men trying to revise a relationship they idealized and misremember, and both men are weakly and passively competing with each other to reclaim their memories of a woman they thought they understood and forgot, but whose essence now eludes them. Barely able to copulate and getting increasingly drunk throughout the film, the two men are faced again and again with their inadequacies and overconfidence in their growth as humans.

The two men go about it differently, in accordance to their personalities. Hyeon-gon is petty, insecure, over-dramatic, and childishly exploitive; Muh-ho is adulterous, a liar, dreams of banalities like job security while hitting on his students, and is completely ignorant about woman (“I didn’t know women shaved their legs,” he remarks after sleeping with Seon-hwa). Seon-hwa herself is not a simple character, and Hong’s generous ambiguity in her motivations for again and again having these lousy male relationships is echoed by Seong Hyeon-a’s performance, which varies strangely from passive to enthusiastic to cynical to rational. The trio of performances drive the subtle distress throughout all the relationships about the film, from which erupts a seemingly endless amount of attempted sex, hardcore drinking, miscommunication, and generally petty behavior that can be seen as either banally disturbing or unexpectedly laughable.

Woman is the Future of Man is a sorrowful, funny, and deceptively undemanding film on man’s vague, idealized dreams of a complete life. Looking at each other critically and building their own inadequacies out of competition and indeterminate goals, Mun-ho and Hyeon-gon rush forward thinking they have somehow grown beyond the mistakes of their youth. Halfway through the film Mun-ho tells his friend in a bit of revenge what Hyeon-gon had never known, that Seon-hwa had been devastated from the breakup and thought he had been “an animal.” The realization comes a shock to the man, and though clearly time has passed, there has been little self-realization, clarification, or development of character.

It is Hong’s light touch, efficient shot coverage (using plain camera pans, clean compositions, and group symmetry), and his cast’s dead-pan ability to just barely converse with each other that lends his film the humor which relieves its near-pathetic thematic focus. Reminiscent of Ozu’s Ohayo where children questioned the point of the meaningless greetings and light banter of adults, the characters of Woman is the Future of Man seem to talk around each other, leaving both trite and important questions unanswered, and their supposed intellectual sharpness deadened by permanent reminiscence, drunkenness, and sexual preoccupancy. The surface simplicity of Hong’s film is actually its strong point; the ease of comprehensibility makes its subtly shine through all the stronger, and makes its combination of natural humor and pathetic unhappiness a rich, fascinating subject.