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Film Series: Runs & Limited Engagements

Hotel by the River

Gangbyeon hotel

2018, Hong Sang-soo, South Korea, 96 min.
With Ki Joo-bong, Kim Min-hee, Song Seon-mi

Show Times

  • Fri, Apr 19th 2:00pm
  • Fri, Apr 19th 6:00pm
  • Sat, Apr 20th 3:15pm
  • Sun, Apr 21st 5:00pm
  • Mon, Apr 22nd 8:00pm
  • Tue, Apr 23rd 6:00pm
  • Wed, Apr 24th 6:00pm
  • Thu, Apr 25th 8:00pm
First Chicago run!

"The most watchable and inviting thing that Hong has made in a very long time. At times, it almost feels like the raw material for a bonafide romantic-comedy, albeit one that’s haunted by a slippery kind of sadness."--David Ehrlich, Indiewire

"One of Hong's most unexpectedly poignant works, self-reflexive in a way that feels searching rather than rote."--Ben Kenigsberg, The New York Times

Prolific Korean auteur Hong works a fresh variation on such favorite ingredients as vain men, frustrated artists, chance meetings, missed connections, miscommunication, and the elusive beauty of muse Kim Min-hee. The film is dominated by its main location, a riverside hotel set amid a crystalline landscape of snow, ice, and glass, its pale contours etched in crisp black-and-white images. In this hushed and dreamy setting, two parallel plotlines intersect intermittently without quite merging. A young woman (Kim) comes to the hotel after a messy breakup and invites her best friend (Song) to help her nurse her sorrow. Meanwhile, a well-known, heavy-drinking poet (Ki) is taking advantage of the hotel-owner's hospitality for an indefinite free stay. He summons his two bickering sons (one a rising film director) in order to tell them that he has had a premonition of death, despite his doctor's assurances that he is in perfect health. Hong characteristically explores his wayward characters through subtle observation, suggestive parallels, and wry irony, this time deepened by a wintry chill of melancholy and mortality. In Korean with English subtitles. DCP digital. (MR)

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