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[Guest Film Review] "Hit The Night"

2018/01/27 | 321 views | Permalink

Contemporary S. Korean art house cinema has been largely shaped by Hong Sang-soo, with others ripping off his work and other adopting some of his assets in their own films. Jeong Ka-young belongs in the second category, as she uses the long (and occasionally drunken) dialogues between a man and a woman, and the lengthy one-shots, that frequently appear on HHS films, as a base for "Hit the Night", where she is also the protagonist, a tactic she also implemented in her first film, "Bitch On the Beach".

"Hit the Night" (festival entry) is screening at International Film Festival Rotterdam, that will be on January 24 until February 4

Ka-young, a young filmmaker, invites her friend Jong-hwan for drinks and dinner, in order to ask him some questions for a script she is preparing. The questions begin on film topics, with "One Fine Spring Day" being repeatedly mentioned, but gradually, the questions become more personal as she learns more about him and his relationship status, and soon start revolving around sex (and masturbation and Japanese porn), as it becomes clear that Ka-young wants something more from him. The night continues at a karaoke parlor, where Hyung Seul-woo, a friend of Jong-hwan's also appears, after his invitation.

Jeon Ka-young's second film is equally minimalistic and frequently functions like a theater play with two actors, since the changing of locations occurs just three times. In that fashion, the dialogue seems to be the most important factor in the film and Ka-young seems to thrive in this element by touching a number of subjects, including the concept of cinephiles  (I couldn't agree more with the phrase "the problem with cinephiles is that their standards are too high") and human relations. Due to the setting, Sun Jong-hoon's cinematography and Um Yoon-zoo editing do the bare minimum for the film, although the former's framing is great.

There are two very interesting concept in the film. The first one is the way she tries to seduce him, by making him drunk and asking more and more intimate questions, all the while highlighting her cheerful and intelligent character. In that fashion, Jeong Ka-young gives a very convincing performance that highlights the resolved and mischievous nature of her character.

The second concept derives from the first one, with the question regarding whether she will achieve her goal carrying the film for its whole duration. While the feminist approach, where the female is the hunter and the male the prey, is evident, the film also highlights the superficial nature of Ka-young, who still wants to date the beautiful one, despite the fact that his friend seems more interesting, more compatible, and more interested in her. In that fashion, Park Jong-hwan plays the kind and polite man, who knows exactly who he is (a very beautiful man with a girlfriend, who does not need to try much regarding women) while Hyung Seul-woo portrays the exact reverse "archetype" of a man who knows he is not attractive and tries to win women with his character.

"Hit the Night" is a very interesting movie, which presents human relations in minimalist but quite entertaining fashion.

Review by Panos Kotzathanasis



"Hit the Night" is directed by Jeong Ka-young, and features Jeong Ka-young, Park Jong-hwan and Hyung Seul-woo.


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