The Power of Kangwon Province
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Cast: Baik Jong-hak, Oh Yoon-hong, Kim Yu-seok
Film genre: Drama
Cert 18, 108 mins, 1998
Hong’s second feature foreshadowed his ongoing characteristically complex, allusive and minimalist exploration of the perceptive gap between men and women. Jisook (Oh Yoon-hong), on a brief holiday in Kangwon with her girlfriends, has a fling with a married cop. Focus then shifts to a seemingly unconnected married professor Sangkwon (Baik Jong-hak), also visiting Kangwon with a friend. Gradually we realise the pair have a shared history which haunts both of them for different reasons. As Sangkwon moves through Jisook’s Kangwon, the film acts as a kind of palimpsest, gradually revealing the power these two ex-lovers continue to have over each other’s lives. A masterful, moving and audaciously structured exploration of subjectivity, memory and how men and women are perhaps at their most similar in their mutual inability to understand each other.