Director: Park Ki-yong
Cast: Lee Mi-yeon, Jin Hee-gyeong, Jung Woo-sung
Film genre: Romance
Cert 18, 90 mins, 1997
Four intimate encounters take place in Room 407 of Motel Cactus, a ‘love hotel’ in Gangnam, the southern part of Seoul. The redecoration of the room tells us that time passes between these episodes: the same woman appears in the first and third parts, the same man in the third and fourth. Park builds a rather downbeat view of what passes between women and men – not just the bodily fluids, also the assumptions, expectations and needs – but the long-take aesthetic and expressionist/impressionist imagery make it easy to engage and sympathise with some of these characters. The many famous names on the credits include cinematographer Chris Doyle, co-writer and assistant director Bong Joon-ho, assistant director Jang Junhwan, and stars-to-be Jung Woo-sung and Lee Mi-yeon. If you’re curious why a ‘love hotel’ would be named ‘Cactus’, well, that’s a question that also strikes at least one of its customers.