The Turning Gate
Time Out saysHong's latest wry dissection of the gap between head and heart is divided into seven chapters, but the plot falls neatly into two halves. In the first, out-of-work actor Kyung-Soo (Kim Sang-Kyung) visits a country town famous for its lakes and has a fling with a dance instructor (Yea); she's crazy for him, but her affection turns him off and he bolts. In the second, he takes a train and chats to Sun-Young (Chu), who recognises him from his stage work; he gets off at Kyungju to follow her home and next day knocks on her door. They have sex in a hotel and he begs her to abandon husband and family to run away with him. She declines - and reminds him that anyway they met in similar circumstances twenty years earlier... As in The Power of Kangwon Province, the two halves are riddled with parallels, echoes and contrasts; the plotting is as intricate and detailed as anything you'd find in 19th century fiction (a form explicitly evoked by the descriptive chapter-titles), but the overall aesthetic strategy is as modernist as an ace scratch-mix. Often ruefully funny, too.