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    Woman Is the Future of Man

    All beds are off

    "Woman Is the Future of Man" is all title and no point — a time-shifting jumble of scenes that mostly end in dull sex.


    One character in "Woman Is the Future of Man" tells another that a girl they once knew has gone to the city to turn tricks in a so-called "club room." In fact, he says, it's very common for college girls to work in the sex clubs there because it feeds the clients' fantasy that they're surrounded by innocent virgins. "We Koreans," he concludes, "are too fond of sex."

    Written and directed by: Sang-soo Hong.
    Cast: Ji-tae Yu, Tae-woo Kim, Hyeon-a Seong, Ho-jung Kim.
    Cinematography: Hyeon-gu Kim.
    Edited by: Seong-weon Ham.
    In Korean with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    NY Film Festival 2004

     Bad Education
     House of Flying Daggers
     Infernal Affairs trilogy
     Look at Me
     Notre Musique
     Or (My Treasure)
    • Sideways
     Triple Agent
     Woman Is the Future of Man
     The World

     Official site
    Philadelphia Film Festival 2005
    • Overview

    • Official festival site

    • Clean
    • Crying Out Love in the Center of the World
    • Evilenko
    • Frozen

    • Machuca
    • Or (My Treasure)
    • Winter Solstice
    • Woman Is the Future of Man
    Maybe this movie is also too fond of sex. Its story is a deliberate jumble, in which two thirtyish men rehash their past, future and alternate-reality relationships with women. In one of the first scenes, guy A picks up a local waitress on the pretext that he's a filmmaker and wants her for a film that uses non-professional actors. (And maybe what follows is that film?) A couple scenes later, guy A gets up from the same table, leaving guy B to pick up the waitress on the pretext that he's an art professor and wants her to model nude for a painting because he likes to use non-professional models. Either way, everyone sooner or later winds up in bed.

    Given that, you'd expect "Woman Is the Future of Man" to be good, racy fun. Given such a thinky title, you might at least expect it to be, in some way, profound. It is neither. If the talk seems to be about something at first, that idea is quickly dispelled. The film really has the dour mood of an arthouse movie, the sophistication of a student movie, and the structure of a porn movie. It's a series of minimally connected situations, a little introductory chitchat, a little feeling-up — or perhaps a tactful "Want to suck me off?" — and then the clothes disappear and the deed is mechanically accomplished. I guess the Koreans are too fond of sex to worry about a nice dinner and conversation first.

    Maybe it's the disorder in time and logic that garnered this film a Palme d'Or nomination at Cannes. The film is a mind-tease that might appeal to some serious film types. Fine. But really, who cares? If the characters' relationships and agendas are flimsy and constantly changing, their talk is increasingly directionless, and their outcomes are increasingly predictable, the film becomes at best an abstract exercise. Anyone who can bore the viewer with sex probably isn't fond enough of it.

    OCTOBER 19, 2004

    Reader comments on Woman Is the Future of Man:

  • Woman is the Future of Man   from Kris, Mar 29, 2005

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