Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors


Reviewed by: Nicola Osborne

Soo-Jung is a mysterious and apparently manipulative young woman working for a filmmaker, Director Kwon, who by chance meets one of his friends, Young Soo, a successful businessman who becomes increasingly interested in her.

In this highly cryptic little movie we get the chance to see almost all the encounters between the various combinations of the three leads twice. The film of about an hour essentially re-runs with scenes added, removed and changed or given from a different perspective to emphasize the importance of incidental decisions in the overall outcome of life. As heavy going as this might sound, and though the second run through becomes tiresome as you approach the two-hour mark, this is actually strangely watchable. No matter which of the three characters is most prominent in a given scene you are no nearer understanding them and Soo-Jung manages to remain an odd enigma for whom you can't help but feel concerned.

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The fact that the film was shot on grainy black and white stock taken alongside Soo-Jung's uncanny ability to dress like Yoko Ono lends it a strange 1960s look, the innocence of the leads also reflects this factor of being lost in time.

The dramatic use of cityscapes and the director's eye for complex relationships means the influence of Woody Allen is pretty noticeable (although even Allen might have steered clear of the mildly worrying relationship that Soo-Jung has with her brother...) and lends a celluloid-loving worthiness to fit with two of the leads involvement in the film industry.

At over two hours the film is able to be rather slow-paced, though this irritates in the first half especially. The opposing accounts of the same incidents keeps the film feeling fresh but ultimately the whole affair seems to be trying too hard to be clever to it's detriment.

An interesting film probably best left to young arts students who wear a lot of black or middle aged men who have a thing for troubled young virginal women...

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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Sex and romance in Seoul.
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Symon Parsons *

Director: Hong Sang-soo

Writer: Hong Sang-soo

Starring: Lee Eun-joo, Jung Bo-suk, Moon Sun-keun, Lee Hwang-Ui

Year: 2000

Runtime: 127 minutes

Country: Korea


EIFF 2000

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