Hotel by the River (Gangbyun Hotel)
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Section: World Cinema
Country: South Korea | Year: 2018
Language(s): Korean | Time: 96 mins
An ageing poet is holed up for two weeks in a modest provincial hotel overlooking the Han River. His adult sons are summoned to visit after years of estrangement. Though the hotel is small and its surroundings easy to navigate, the father and sons lose each other, meet up, and lose each other again. Meanwhile, a young woman, after having just fled a destructive relationship, gets a room at the same hotel and calls for a friend. They nap, take walks, and talk about everything, drawing the attention of the poet, who finds in the pair a beauty and fascination sufficient to inspire new verse.
Hong Sang-soo made his debut with the feature The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well in 1996. Since then, through the 21 films that he’s written and directed, Sang-soo has consistently used a complex and ordered architecture under a seemingly random surface created by spontaneous circumstances in depicting the characters in his films. Renowned for his unique cinematographic language and unprecedented aesthetics in filmmaking, Hong Sang-soo is considered one of the most established auteurs in contemporary Korean cinema.