Turning Gate (2002)

August 29, 2001 • Film, Korea, Reviews

[director Hong Sang-Soo]

With each picture Hong Sang-Soo comes nearer and nearer to creating reality on the movie screen. Turning Gate, his fourth picture, is the most realistic to date. In it, a failing actor has consecutive love affairs with two very different women. The story is so slight as to be almost invisible. The film is quiet, beautiful in a very ordinary way, and focused quite acutely on a trio of hyper-realistic performances. The other actors in the film are non-professionals taken off the street, adding to the realism of the movie. And the script was written as the filming progressed, with Hong adding bits of the actor’s real lives into the characters.

It is Hong Sang-Soo’s funniest film to date, and his most spare and clearly-made production. It doesn’t quite have the naturally thrilling feel of The Power of Kangwon Province; and in truth it isn’t meant to. This film is a quiet reflection. Not Hong Sang-Soo’s greatest film yet (the honor still goes to the absolutely great Power of Kangwon Province), but close to it.

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