Right Now, Wrong Then at Facets

My latest blog post for Time Out Chicago is a review of Hong Sang-soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then:

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To borrow a phrase from Raymond Carver, Korean writer/director (and School of the Art Institute alum) Hong Sang-soo makes films about what we talk about when we talk about love. When men and women are attracted to one another, how exactly do they communicate? How do specific turns of phrase become gambits designed to seduce? Why does flirtation sometimes become awkward and occasionally go horribly wrong? The prolific Hong has turned such questions into a veritable cottage industry, cranking out 17 character-driven comedies—many featuring innovative two-part structures—in less than 20 years. Hong’s latest, the ingenious Right Now, Wrong Then, receives its local premiere at Facets on Friday. It is an ideal introduction to this singular filmmaker’s work and the funniest movie of the year so far.

The premise: Cheon-soo (Jeong Jae-yeong, hilarious) is a pretentious “arthouse director” from Seoul who arrives in a university town the day before his new film screens at a local festival. He meets and immediately falls for Hee-jeong (Kim Min-hee), a beautiful but shy painter. The sexual tension between them is palpable as they spend the day engaged in a series of conversations at a coffee shop, a bar and a restaurant before parting ways at night. Although Hee-jeong is clearly attracted to Cheon-soo (not to mention impressed by his celebrity), he seems to be trying a little too hard to woo her and ultimately drives her away.

But wait: halfway through the film, the narrative unexpectedly starts over. The two characters meet again for the first time, only now Cheon-soo is more honest and relaxed. They again visit the same coffee shop, bar and restaurant, but the conversation flows more naturally and the two seem to connect more intimately. By having the same chance meeting play out in two separate realities, Hong offers a whimsical, droll and ultimately profound metaphysical inquiry into the nature of communication. He asks viewers to question how minor variations in word choice and intonation of speech can lead to different outcomes. It’s fun to watch — and even more fun to think about afterwards.

For more information and screening times visit the Facets website.

 

About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

33 responses to “Right Now, Wrong Then at Facets

  • Nathaniel Kanter

    If this movie could be summed up with just one word, it would be honesty. This film demonstrates the elements of the new wave Korea films through a focus on action, emotionally synergistic camera movement, and serves as an odd meta-commentary on how to converse with people properly not just of the opposite sex.
    This bulk of this film is made of primarily the long-winded conversation between the two main protagonists Hee-Jeong, and Cheon-soo. Although this film isn’t as violence packed as the other movie, it puts a subtle focus on the comedy of our own awkwardness. The cringe humor mostly stemming from the first half of the film with the director is a little too hyped up trying to impress the yearning painter. It doesn’t fail to capture every quip, every twitch, and every nervous chuckle that simply radiates a feeling of mutual social ineptitude with the audience. It’s this attention to detail to evoke a connection between director to the watchers.
    For such a slow-paced movie, it compensates the lack of thrill with a focus on the emotions of the characters. For example during the first half of the film, the almost vertigo inducing zooms on Cheon-soo invokes a synergistic feeling of distress. This is put to the max on the climax of the first half were this Hee-Jeong lives up to the rumors and blurts out in his drunken stupor about being married and the shockwave reeling in the pour heartbroken artist. This is taken in an opposite light during the second half during Hee-Jong critique of Cheeon-soo’s motives, painting, and motives to paint. Although the painting itself is completely out of the shot, we can see the director has cast aside his libido in order to focus on his fan’s brushwork and gives a genuine opinion on her flaws even if it ended up upsetting her. The camera also serves as a symbol of clarity and soberness(metaphorically speaking) as the first main difference in the second half is that Heong-Jeong takes a birds eye over the area as if he was taking a new angle of this new area for him.
    For the drunken nature of this film it also serves to provide a few guidelines on how to properly hold a proper conservation and how to have meaningful relationship. The first main reason why the director couldn’t charm the intrepid artist the first round because he was dishonest and uncivil. He was stringing her along with stale material in hopes of sweeping her off her feet as if he were still in his prime. Furthermore he was so hyped up during the cafe scene that every could feel Cheeon-soo’s discomfort. This introduces the socially inept with some simple guidelines on how to behave in a conversation. Now that what is not to be done is revealed we can see how charismatic a person can be free of detractors as demonstrated from Heong-jeong managing to make the joy of paper and writing utensil seem sexy. This path of honest and transparency allows Cheon-soo to not only be aware of the person he is, but come to understand him as well. This communication is what leads the second part of the movie end with her inspired to watch the directors films fully as it reminds her of the qualities he has demonstrated. It may be a work of fiction producing works of fiction but it still has value lessons that aren’t so far fetched in life.

  • Jazlyn Castaneda

    Right now, Wrong then was a movie I really enjoyed because of the way it showed both side on how a date could go. It can either go right or it could go wrong it all depends on how each person acts and what they say. For the first half of the movie the conversations between both characters was a little too hyped especially Cheon-soo when he tries so hard to get Hee-jeong’s attention. He never even tells her that he’s married which makes things really awkward at the Party they go to and the lady starts questioning him and the facial expression on Hee-Jeong drastically changes. In the second part of the movie they are more relaxed and are more themselves, Cheon-soo doesnt try as hard and actually tells her that he’s married. When they are eating at that sushi place they “fake marry” with a ring that he claims to have found on the floor and slowly after they begin to fall in love but they never actually tell each other, but we can tell by the way they talk to each other and how they act.

  • Kate Franks

    Right Now, Wrong Then serves as an incredible way to look at how we communicate, how intonation and word-choice matters, and how it can actually be a deal breaker or maker in the end. However, when looking at this from a few step backs, this film seems almost as though how humans learn to communicate with one another. When growing up, people learn how to become more eloquent, confident and honest. However, very rarely does any of this come naturally, rather people learn how to communicate purely by using trial and error, just like the set up of the plot for Cheon-soo and Hee-jeong. In the beginning, Cheon-soo is very cocky, and seems to lie or at least “paint over” the truth, in order to keep his date with Hee-jeong going as he is married. She has none of this and ends the date fairly abruptly. In the second part, Cheon-soo is honest with Hee-jeong, and though she knows upfront that he’s married, she still develops feelings for him and wants to keep engaging. Because of the essential “re-do”, it allows for us to see how Cheon-soo had messed up with another version where he doesn’t. It lets the audience understand what is and is not acceptable in Hee-jeong’s eyes, and maybe our own. This film is a great look into how people not only communicate with one another, but how they learn to communicate properly and effectively.

  • Renato Matusima

    The film Right Now, Wrong Then is a great example of how the works of society and social structures shape the way we think and communicate with one another. When director Ham talks to Yoon for the first time he stutters and acts nervous because she was so pretty. Communication is key, and it is how everyone including director Ham is able to express how he feels with Yoon, they both seem like people who are almost unhappy and want something new. When Yoon and Ham are drinking they are very expressive and release their tension in order to loosen up. Once they are in Yoons friends cafe in the first half one of her friends talks about Hams wife which Yoon had no idea about resulting in her feeling like she got led on and was another one of Hams girl. After this the film started over which was very unexpected and then you see the real meaning about communication hidden in the films second part. In the first part of the film we were shown Yoons painting in her studio and it was abstract but her strokes while painting were just single thick lines which is a metaphor for trying again over and over until you get it right. The fact that Hong Sangsoo did not film both parts of the film together instead waited a couple of months to finish the film shows you how him too was doing a redo on his film. You can tell it is later into winter because the ending scene had snow and it got much colder. This was a really nice way to see how communication and how you can really only learn by failing and redoing things.

  • Alex Barrett

    The film Right Now, Wrong Then was very eye opening. I thought it showed the viewers how different ways of communications are important. It showed us how the different way you say something can change the whole situation. I felt that the first time the characters were more guarded and closed off and the second time they were more open and comfortable with each other. I thought that it was very interesting to see the different outcomes from the film and the difference between the first time they meet and had trouble communicating they never meet again but the second scene where they were more comfortable and honest with each other they saw each other the next day. I thought that it taught the viewers a very important lesson which was being honest with your true feelings and those you feel it with. You shouldn’t hold back how you feel and if you aren’t honest with your feelings you might miss out on something.

  • Janet Camacho

    This film was definitely one of the funniest we’ve seen all semester. Cheon-soo had all of these awkward comments and responses during the first half of the movie that just made us laugh. What made them awkward were little details like his tone of voice or how fast or slow he was speaking. One example of this is him saying that he gets happy for no reason when he gets a paper and pencil. However, in the second half of the movie, things were much more relaxed, natural, and less awkward. We notice Cheon-soo acting different with Hee-jeong. For example, he is more honest, and is acting more like himself. This lead to some hard moments between the two of them, like when he talked about her painting she got pretty mad. However being honest and having good communication is the core of a good relationship. We can see this in the way the two stories ended. In the first one they just kind of went their own ways, but in the second one they ended on a really good note and had a big impact on one another. Like how Hee-jeong said she would now watch all of his movies. In the first half, their relationship looked like more of a fling, but in the second half it looked like they really fell in love with one another. It’s interesting to see just how much communication affects our interactions, and even a slight change in how it’s done can leave you with a completely different outcome. I was a bit confused when the first part suddenly ended, and then the movie seemed to start over again, but once I understood what was happening, I really appreciated it. Being a Korean movie, it’s neat to see Hong Sang-soo touching on the subject of separation, almost like borders, which connects with Korea being separated into the North and South.

  • Tania Jacob

    Right Now Wrong Then was a terrific movie. It was different from the other movies we have watched this semester because for the first half of the movie, the characters were very talkative and not as “natural”. Then, in the second half of the movie, they were “more honest and relaxed” like you mentioned in your article. I personally enjoyed the second half of the movie because it seemed so much more natural and they weren’t trying so hard to be someone else. One of my favorite scenes in the second half of the movie was when they got “married”, I thought it was so beautiful and they truly loved each other. I kept thinking something was going to happen between them but nothing happened. This truly is a story about two “alone” people united by a form of art, a director and a shy painter. Overall, I liked the concept for the film and the simplicity and I would recommend watching it again.

  • Max Taddeo

    This movie differs greatly from previously watched movies in class. Though it is a genre that doesn’t often have violence, the past Korean movies that we have watched all contained lots of fighting and violence. All the others, leading up to this one, have had blood and gore but not Right Now, Wrong Then. This movie is about the relationship between two people and the idea that subtle differences can end up being quite impactful. One part that was most noticeably different in the second half was that his lecture seemed have been a success and you don’t even get to see what happens during it. In the first part he gets all emotional and is cursing when speaking in his lecture, and the audience seems off put by it. It was really a train wreck. In the second part, the night before seemed to have gone better than in the first part. The next day when he is giving his lecture you don’t get to see what he says to the people, but it isn’t hard to see that he did a good job. It’s interesting to see how the timing and use of emotion can play so differently into various situations. It’s emotion and honesty that worked best for him in the second part and seems to be what ruined his lecture in the first part. When you watch the first part Cheon-Soo is never very straight forward and doesn’t communicate too well with Hee-Jeong. For example, when they are getting dinner Cheon-Soo talks about the rings and marriage rather than in the second part where he brings up that he is married. He also says to Hee-Jeong that he wants to marry her. Another time where they choose to exclude something from the second part is the painting. He is honest about how he feels about the painting the second time and everyone watching wants to know whether or not it’s the same painting as shown in the first part, but that is something that you never get to see. Regardless that she doesn’t appreciate his criticism, she seems to like him more in the second part. It’s another reason that the second part is about honesty and being genuine. Nobody likes a brown nose yes man and the change in Cheon-Soo the second time through demonstrates that. I liked the movie overall. I thought that since the movie was going to show the same events twice that it was going to feel repetitive and annoying, but it varied enough to keep it interesting.

  • Alexander Miehl

    This 2015 film by Hong Sang Soo is a delightful romp through romance, humor, communication and awkwardness. As you stated, the first part of the film it seems the characters come across a bit too strong, but in the second half the characters allow themselves to relax and be a bit more honest and upfront. This reminds me of the premise of the Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day” except the characters are unaware that it is happening.

    I think this is a situation that we all dream about. We all have conversations that we wish we could go back and redo. We all wonder how a situation would have played out if we did things just a little differently. This reminds me of an episode in “Seinfeld” where George reflects on his life and how everything he does ends up wrong. With the encouragement of his friends he decides to do the “opposite” of all his instincts. It ends up being good advice and things start to go well for him.

    In a sense, this film is similar to that episode of Seinfeld. In the first part of the film the characters connect well, but it just seems like the male protagonist, Cheon Soo, is trying to say and do whatever he thinks the female protagonist, Hee Jeong, wants him to say or do. In the end, he pushes her away and he ends up upset and discouraged. When Director Hong gives us the unique chance to see their relationship play out again, the characters are a bit more themselves. Cheon Soo is much more honest and open about himself and his past, and Hee Jeong calls him out on his poor choices. We begin to see how this approach changes the direction of their relationship. Even when he goes over the top with his openness, by getting undressed in front of her friends, she is still very much interested in him. Cheon Soo ends up being happy and satisfied with how his relationship with Hee Jeong ended, and so does she.

    This is truly a rare look into how things look when we just change a few small details. Hong does an incredible job of showing the same movie twice, yet still making it entirely distinctive at the same time.

  • Kyle O'Shanna

    Right Now, Wrong Then does something that the majority of people do on a regular basis: think about how things could have gone if we were to do something just slightly different. Director Hong Sang Soo invites the viewer to first observe an awkward, forced, fail of an attempt at Cheon Soo winning over Hee Jeong. In the first half of the movie, we see the cocky womanizer director role played out all the way to embarrassment and failure to connect with Hee Jeong in a meaningful way. Hong Sang Soo changes the main character in the second half of the film to be an honest, calm, yet passionate man who Hee Jeong genuinely begins to admire and fall for. In doing so, Hong creates a parallel universe in a sense; a place everybody can relate to; where just by changing some actions very slightly there are much different and usually more desired results. There is certainly a theme of honesty in this film due to Cheon Soo’s change of character and therefore a change in end result where him and Hee Jeong are able to actually connect and care for each other. That being said, I think another theme prevalent is of longing. This film expresses very well that people have intense longing for certain things: connection, love, and if that fails, the longing for those situations to have gone a different way. I find it very cringe worthy but at the same time comforting to see such realistic scenes shot such as at the sushi restaurant. These scenes show what an intimate date with two people trying to get to know each other might actually look like. There are pauses, there is awkward eye contact, there are moments you think they might kiss and the moment passes, and always entertaining; alcohol being present. In both halves of the movie in multiple scenes, there is conversation that is so obviously forced, so incredibly dishonest and full of effort, that you are reminded of times in your life that similar things happened, and while you may shake your head and cringe, it is all too understandable.

  • Mark David

    Right Now, Wrong Then was a really entertaining movie, it really kept my attention and was really funny as well. The protagonist Cheon Soo meet Hee-Jeong and falls hear over heels for her immediately. He tries so hard to win her over, but he tries so hard that it actually turns the girl off. They do have a long time spent together at the Coffee shop, the restaurant etc but unfortunately she just feels like he is too clingy and trying too hard and no girl wants a guy who tries so hard. Suddenly in the middle of the movie it almost like it restarts, they meet again they go on the dates but instead of being clingy and trying too hard, he flirts well, he knows the right things to say and do. It’s like it’s some twin that was the better version of him, thus the title Right Now, Wrong Then. The first time he was wrong, but now he realized how to do it so he is right now. Overall a really interesting and good movie. I would definitely reccomend it.

  • Megan Atwood

    Right Now, Wrong Then was really good and I liked how it kept my attention the whole time. I really enjoyed how Cheon Soo meets Hee-Jeong and falls in love with her right away. Cheon Soo tries to hard to win Hee-Jeong over but she starts top not like him as much. They spend a lot of time together in the coffee shop and the restaurant where he gets drunk. But unfortunately she feels like hes a little weird and that he is trying to hard to get her to like him. Then out of no where the movie starts restarts and they meet all over again. This time he is not to clingy or to tries to hard to get her to like him. But this time he flirts pretty well and he knows all the right things to say or even do. Its kinda like its another version of himself that’s better. That’s probably why the title is Right Now, Wrong Then. The first time he wasn’t doing things right but he figures out now how to do things right so he does. Overall this movie was really entertaining and interesting in how it was laid out. I’m total going to recommend this movie to other people because it was really good. I just think it was really cool how they redid the begin but two different ways on how he acts. I liked how they showed how he acts can have a different out come to things if he acts laid back or if he acts to clingy.

  • Matthew J. Strehler

    Right Now, Wrong Then was an interesting exploration into how people communicating in different fashions can lead to drastically different results. I was originally confused when the movie restarted halfway through, but I think that it was interesting how the director used the more relaxed, more honest conversation to show that sometimes it is possible to try too hard. The director’s sense of humor definitely shined at different parts throughout the film, making it one of the more interesting films we have watched in class. I think that it was very interesting how he chose to have the man undress in front of the woman’s friends and how it eventually led to them being closer, instead of her being disgusted by his actions. I think that the director’s main idea in making this movie is that organic conversation can be better than forced conversation and that communicating openly and honestly is ultimately better. I loved the touch he threw in at the end of the first half where the woman’s friends completely call him out on his lies and flattery. I think your article was a great summary of the movie.

  • Branden Wagner

    The film “Right Now, Wrong Then” demonstrates right from wrong… but with dating. At the start of the film, the male protagonist, Cheon-Soo, sees Hee-Jeong outside from his room and starts worrying about how he’ll approach her. Of course, he has very little, if any, confidence at all and acts kind of nervous around her and kind of says whatever will make her happy. He also does this when the two are together in a room that she paints in and after she stops painting to take a look at her work. He basically says that it looks great and that she seems like a professional, which is what she wants to hear but it’s obvious that those words are not his honest words. Eventually, Hee-Jeong starts to like him so much anymore because he seems to clingy, attached, and to nice. And so, eventually, they split and most likely never see each other again.
    The second time around, which is the middle of the film, he notices her but is more confident and honest this time around. Now, instead of being clingy, attached, and saying what Hee-Jeong wants to hear, Cheon-Soo says his honest opinion especially with the painting. This time with the painting, he actually critiques it a bit which upsets her but he is being honest hits time around. Being upset, she asks if all directors are like this. He replies with I guess we are. Now instead of just throwing himself at her feet, he is being honest with her and if anything, acting how you should around another person in general. Now, this time, when he is with her and her friends, he acts more like himself but he is a little tipsy when he’s there. So tipsy that he even takes his clothes off in front of Hee-Jeong’s friends. Later on, hse finds out about this, and while walking alongside him. However, she isn’t mad at him, instead she laughs and acts more understanding. This is due to him being more himself and honest with her and so, she acts more understanding than she probably would’ve in the first half of the film. This is most likely to him acting the right way now instead of acting the wrong way then.
    Altogether, this film shows not just how to act around someone you have feelings for but also just how to treat other people in general and just be a normal, honest human being.

  • Lloyd Trinidad

    Hong Sang-soo’s 2015 film, Right Now, Wrong Then, is about a filmmaker, Cheon-soo, and he arrives in town a day earlier than he is supposed to because he is having a screening for his film. Having nothing to do for the day, he goes to a temple and meets a painter, Hee-jeong. The film continues with the two of them spending their day together, going to a coffee shop and getting sushi. The film is interesting because it is split into two halves that are identical but has slight changes in its dialogue. The first half ends with Cheon-soo being exposed as being fake and a liar whos intentions for hanging out with Hee-jeong is to try to get into her pants. The second half ends differently, having Cheon-soo being portrayed as a much more honorable man and developing a real relationship with Hee-jeong.
    Right Now, Wrong Then being split into two halves, Hong decides to title the first half, “Wrong Then, Right Now”, and the second half taking the title of the entire film. My personal interpretation of the titles of the two halves is that since in the first half of the film, Cheon-soo is shown as a man that is trying too hard. He is consciously trying to say the right things to Cheon-soo but he comes off as being fake. This is where the title comes in. He is being wrong right now in his approach with Cheon-soo. For the second half, titled “Right Now, Wrong Then”, can be interpreted as Cheon-soo being right in his approach with Hee-jeong and acknowledging that the previous half was wrong. Also, with Cheon-soo being a filmmaker, the difference between the two halves can show the different drafts of the same script. Hong shows this through the different camera angles, lighting, slight changes in the dialogue, and even the change in the weather.

  • crdgirl1

    Right now, Wrong Then is an interesting and funny movie that really captured the power of conversation, timing, and being genuine has on relationships and perspectives. We see our characters in the same setting twice with two different approaches to conversation. Our main character Cheon-Soo, specifically, has this change and it is quite interesting how his second approach is more genuine, thus creates a better outcome for our two characters.

  • Emily Belga

    This movie told me a lot about intentions and integrity. It seemed to me that the differences that allowed a more genuine connection between them were subtle, and they take root in the mind of Cheonsoo before he even spoke. Ultimately, by contriving expectations in his own head, he botched their connection in ways he would never have anticipated. She recognizes him as someone famous, but is not familiar with his work. I think this affected the way Cheonsoo began to perceive himself during their encounter. I wonder how the film might differ if Heejeong was the protagonist. I do believe that people can always enjoy time with other people, but to furnish a genuine connection requires effort and sacrifice by both parties.

  • My Top 100 Films of the Decade | White City Cinema

    […] “By having the same chance meeting play out in two separate realities, Hong offers a whimsical, droll and ultimately profound metaphysical inquiry into the nature of communication. He asks viewers to question how minor variations in word choice and intonation of speech can lead to different outcomes. It’s fun to watch — and even more fun to think about afterwards.” Time Out Chicago capsule here. […]

  • Jerry Jordan Majaducon

    This film follows the perspective of our main characters Hee-Jeong and Cheon-Soo. The premise of the plot with the do over mechanic is to see the dos and do nots when pursuing a relationship. At first Cheon-soo is awestruck at Hee-Jeongs beauty causing him to be a nervous mess that doesn’t tell her that he’s married.
    Cheon-soo’s lies eventually caught up to him when they are at a party and it is exposed that he was married which he never told Hee-Jeong about, making her feel like she was a side chick that was led on by him. Film then do overs and Cheon-soo is more honest and tells Hee-Jeong that he is married but she slowly falls for him anyway.
    In an article by Mark Jenkins: “Regular viewers of Hong Sang-soo’s psychologically acute work have probably been asking themselves that for years, as many of the Korean filmmaker’s movies spin variations on a single setup: a middle-aged art-film director dallies, often inconclusively, with a pretty young woman (or two).” I was surprised and impressed that the filmmaker was able to get so much out of a simple plot, but I suppose that is why it works. The setup is simple and flexible enough that it can be spun in many different ways.
    The do over perspective of seeing how the date between them could go right or wrong was really interesting showing that underlying intentions and split decisions can make or break an encounter, as shown when Cheon-soo was a bit pushy when trying to gain Hee-Jeongs attention. Most people in the world aren’t born charismatic or know what to say at the right times. Communicating is a skill that is usually gained through experience by trial and error as seen throughout this film.
    The scene where Cheon-soo and Hee-jeong eat at a sushi place and he pretends to have found a ring on the floor to give to her was a very heartwarming scene showing how far they’ve come as a couple. Goes to show that to truly bond with someone, you have to be honest with your feelings lest you miss out on what could be.

  • Zuriel Zepeda

    Right now, Wrong Then is a very interesting movie that I saw. With today’s media, with all of the number of superheroes, sequels, remakes of action movies from the ’80s this movie provides a refreshing change. So many other movies have explosions and they are so loud with the end of the world plot thread seen over and over again. But with this movie, it’s about a guy who is a director of films and people call him director. He met a girl named Yoon Hee-Jeongat at a museum palace place; they talked, went to get coffee, and more talking, then they went to a sushi bar and talked some more. While getting sushi, the director and Jeongat drank and got drunk and talked even more and went to Jeongat’s senior friends, and the director embarrassed himself in front of Jeongat’s friends because he was talking nonsense.
    The weirdest part is that the movie has so many long shots, but the audience doesn’t take note of that because the dialogue is so interesting. Sure, we get a camera zoom to a character and pans or sway, nevertheless, the camera sits still and doesn’t move. Also, the actors within the movie do a fine job of remembering their lines for so long. It’s like a play and if you mess it up when shooting, you gotta do it all over again. Some scenes took more than 5 minutes. However, it is a blessing and a curse, because this method may be the most cost-effective due to the fact that the whole scene takes place in one location and the director Hong Sang-soo, does not have to move the camera that much.
    The most interesting part of the movie must be the second half of the movie which literally repeats itself. In the second part of the movie, the director learns his mistakes from the first half and tells Jeongat how he really feels. He explains that he has a wife and kids and needs to go back to Seoul but he has fallen in love with Jeongat. They both understand this relationship isn’t going to work and simply move on. The director tells Jeongat goodbye while Jeongat watches the director’s movie for the first time.
    Sometimes in life, the most interesting parts of life are actually the simplest. A deep conversation is much more interesting than a special effect or an explosion. You don’t need the extra bells and whistles to make an excellent film.

  • Krystian J

    In the 2016 Korean film “Right Now, Wrong Then at Facets” shows another work of emotional storytelling by Hong Sang-soo. The movie starts with a flashback of Director Hong Sangsoo being played as Jae-Yeong Jeong while taking a young female on a date. This film differs from the others watched in class from the Korean New Wave as this contains more emotion, frustration, and love as opposed to violence. This film focuses on emotion by showing their expressions and reactions to one another’s awkward and puzzling behavior. Along with zooming in on characters and having long uncut scenes make the film feel raw and believable and at times relatable.

    Communication between the two characters is what makes this movie romantic yet awkward from the beginning to the end. Jae-Yeong plays an honest character that shows his true emotion and love towards Min-hee. Soon we see a change of mood. During the dinner Min-hee is listening to new information about Jae-Yeong, Eventually leaving after not being able to listen to more of it. During this long take, we see all the emotions she has to go through and how Jae-Yeong blows off some of the comments that are made about him.

    As mentioned in the article the movie has two parts to it and we quickly see the change of mood and emotion during the turning point. The differences of the characters are seen during the second half of the movie and I believe this is what the title is stating Right Now, Wrong Then. Love isn’t always love at first sight and first impressions aren’t always reality.

  • Rosa Inserra

    Right Now, Wrong Then is an excellent film that shows how important everything you say is. It’s a film that really makes you think about all the conversations you’ve had and how you would change them for a better outcome. I really like that the story started over and Cheon-Soo was given a second chance with Hee-Jeong, even though both of the endings were sad because they couldn’t be together but they at least ended on happy terms. While the film didn’t do anything experimental with how it was shot, there were many long takes throughout. Almost every scene had a static camera shot with the cinematographer controlling zooms or tracking the actors. I really like that they did that because it let the viewer focus more on the story and the characters rather than experimental camera shots. Overall this is my favorite South Korean film that we have watched so far.

  • Giuseppe Inserra

    Right Now, Wrong Then, directed by, Sang-soo Hong is a film that experiments in many different ways and does so very well. The most obvious way is how this film is essentially the same film twice but with vastly different results. This is achieved through subtle changes in the dialogue between Ham Cheon-soo and Yoon Heejung. This entire film feels like a choose your own adventure book or a video game in which your choices matter and therefore affect the rest of the game moving forward. In these platforms, you make choices that can make or break your relationships with people as well as change the outcome of the ending and everything in between. These subtle but still noticeable changes in dialogue help these two characters to connect better and be more honest with each other, especially when Cheon-soo actually tells Heejung that he is married instead of her finding out during the party with her friends. Also one of the coolest shots in this film is when all the things Cheon-soo was not telling Heejung are being revealed and all the while the camera is slowly zooming in on Heejung face and her look of utter sadness and disappointment and just looks like she feels as though she has been perpetually lied to by this man she thought cared for her.

  • Genevieve B

    Right Now, Wrong Then, directed by Hong Sang-soo is an artistic film that shows the same story but in a (some times literal) different. The film follows a film director Ham Chunsu as he tries to seduce and hook up with an artist he meets in a historic palace. Then the story repeats itself with different camera angles, lighting, and the way the characters interact. One difference between the two timelines in the film was the scene in Yoon’s art studio. The paint she uses the first time is a neon orange to paint an abstract piece, and the second time around, she is seen using a neon green with a piece we do not see. As Mark Jenkins pointed out in his review, “Hong spotlights the mechanics of film making, and not simply with alternate renditions of the events.” This is seen in the angles in which the scenes are shot changing, in the studio the first time we’re somewhat behind Yoon, the second the camera is almost beside her. This use of subtle differences makes the film more enjoyable to watch, like doing a little hide and seek. In addition to the way scenes are shot, the differences in their talking is seen between the two timelines. The choices that Ham makes are slightly different, though the outcome of the day remains the same but on slightly different notes. All in all Right Now, Wrong then is an artistic movie that was interesting to find the differences in.

  • Amel Djurovic

    Right Now, Wrong Then directed by Sang-soo Hong is a look at how differently people can get aquatinted and befriend each other based on how they act and the words they use. The story follows Cheon-soo, a film director as he meets Hee-jeong, a local painter. He instantly is attracted to her and they proceed to hang out throughout the day. At the end of the day, it is revealed that Cheon-soo recycled a lot of his praise for Hee-jeong’s paintings with old interview quotes. It made Hee-jeong feel horrible and made them end on bad terms. The story then pans out to the same day, and in this Cheon-soo is different. He is more honest and does not shy to try and help Her-jeong’s work. He just ends up being more relatable and creates a relationship with Hee-jeong. I found it interesting how when Cheon-soo was being more honest, he ended up on better terms with Hee-jeong rather then when he just said anything to make her feel better and try to impress. One example I can think of is the different ways Cheon-soo acts is how he treats the woman at the beginning and end of each day at Suwon. In the first day, he flirts with her and it shows us he is somewhat of a womanizer. The second day he treats her more a s a friend rather than a girl he is interested in. He even says on the first day that it is unlikely he will hang out with the girl, but still leads her on anyway. I think it speaks volumes into the right way of communicating not just with a person you are interested in, but to everyone. I agree with the article that his different choice of words in the two different nights are the reason that he ended on good terms and bad terms in each ending. I also like the way it was filmed. It did not feel like a movie and it just felt like we were following the pair in their day together. The movie did not feel like a movie, more as us third-wheeling them. Overall, Right Now, Wrong Then directed by, Sang-soo Hong is a film that shows the right and wrong way to act towards people, especially people you are interested in relationship wise.

  • jodino beaubrun

    Right Now, Wrong Then, a film directed by Sang-soo Hong is a film that kind of reminds me of a dating simulator. I only say that because we are given 2 different chances to see Cheon-soo make Hee-jeong fall for him. Cheon-soo is a director who falls for Hee-jeong, a painter who he wants to make fall in love with him. This film really shows how different words and how you act can really determine the outcome of what you want. Cheon-soo’s story with Hee-jeong is similar in both parts but, in the first part Cheon-soo seems more like a stuck up producer and not really himself. He is too forward with everything that he is doing and even tries to be someone that he is not. The director is trying to get out the point of saying why lie to try and impress someone if that is not who you really are? It’s just like the article stated he is trying too hard to woo her and she ends up parting ways, this results in the bad ending. But in the second part it’s like we learn to not make the same mistakes as the first part if we want the good ending. So this time Cheon-soo is more truthful and even though he embarrasses himself in front of Hee-jeong friends at least he is being true to himself. Hee-jeong even questions him about it and ends up calling him unique. He even received a kiss because he was just being himself and that is what made her really happy. Once again the article ephasese it saying how the minor word choices really do impact the outcome of love in scenarios. The film overall was pretty good, it felt like implementing two stories was unique and made me understand how words are a very powerful tool.

  • Petar Spasojevic

    This week’s movie was Right Now, Wrong Then which was directed by Hong Sangsoo and he made his debut as a director back in 1996. With this movie it came out in 2015 and it had a lot of positive feedback for Sangsoo. Personally it was not my favorite movie that we have seen in the class. Contrary to the many Korean films I have seen lately in this class that were assigned by you, in which the originality, the creativity, the excellence of the stories and the great representations generally prevail, in this film all these aspects fell short of my expectations. I expected a lot more, not least because the little synopsis I read about the film was quite promising. In recent times, this was the first Korean film that deceived me. I did not feel special empathy for any character and found the performances at a level below what is normal for Korean actors and actresses. To me personally the acting could have been a little better and the directing was well done, but I truly feel that it could have been amazing. Now this film did win many awards, but it truly did fall short of my expectations. The reason that I did not like it as much as the other Korean movies that we have seen was simply because the movie for me was too long. I have seen great movies that have been amazing that have been over 2 hours. For example Batman was almost 3 hours, but it was just filled with amazing moments. For this movie what went wrong was that the whole movie basically ends at around an hour and then it starts over. This truly confused me and made me dislike the movie less and less as time went on. The whole movie plays again, but it was edited to show that Ham-Chun-soo is not exposed for being married and then after that a few more other things were changed as well. This, to me, seemed so weird and stupid. Now, if this was done like An Oversimplification of Her Beauty, where it added layers to the characters after restarting, or something similar, I could perhaps get behind the movie. However, with the movie just basically rewinding so Ham Chun-soo could have a favorable outcome with Hee- Jung, I was disappointed. If only because it seemed like a few scenes were changed and the rest were sliced in from the first hour you watched. So congrats to the editor for making it seamless, but it didn’t make for the best story this odd choice. I like movies that go all the way through with nothing being repeated, but this was simply repeating the whole first part of the movie, but just changing a few things within the story line. It was just weird because the other Korean movies that we have seen up to this point have been nothing like this. It truly caught me off guard. The movie simply was not awful I just truly feel that it could have been made better by just adding more unto the story instead of changing a few things and making us watch the whole movie again. Aside from it being weird that they made us watch basically the same movie twice the camera angles and the music that was involved did play a good role in the story lines, but just simply making me watch the second part threw me off. The article states, “The two versions use different lighting and camera angles, and only one of them has voiceover narration. Even the weather changes, although both episodes transpire on the same day in the same place.” When I was watching this I truly did see a change, but the story was still the same so it still felt like I was watching the same thing. The article also states that the same thing happens, but not exactly and to me they could have just have made a 15-20 minute clip of a throwback and shown what truly happened. The movie for me was simply at the bottom of all the movies that we have seen so far.

  • Marvin Delos Reyes

    The film “Right Now, Wrong Then” directed by Hong Sang-soo is different from the other Korean films that we have watched. First off, there are two parts to the film that happen in the same day which include the same situation happening but with different aspects. The differences starts with Heejung’s introduction to Cheon-soo’s real personality through his demeanor when he approached her. The first part is named, “Right Then, Wrong Now” while the second part shares the same title as the film. As Jenkins mentioned in the article, Cheon-soo’s demeanor is different in the two sequences of when he goes to dinner with Heejung and her friends. Jenkins describes Cheon-soo’s acting in the separate parts as, “One time, he’s gentle and diplomatic; the next, he’s brash and candid. The humor of the characterization is broader in the second version, and yet Ham’s appeal is stronger, too” (Jenkins, 2016).
    Other differences between the two parts that Jenkins mentions is- different lighting, camera angles, and only one part has voiceover narration. In the first part, there wasn’t any snow but in the end of the film there was snow. One personal comment that I have is that in terms of visual appeal, it displayed a lot of colors. Another important thing that I noticed are some of the lengthy scenes including Cheon-soo and Heejung which Jenkins mentioned. This is a good representation of how Sang-soo’s style is. After watching the film, you can also tell that he was influenced by French cinema which Jenkins mentioned. For example, the film incorporates the making of a film just like in the film “Contempt”. Sang-soo gives a newer style because he gives us two parts to the scenario which is something that not a lot of directors do. In conclusion, Sang-soo gave us a film that is very different because of the two parts with the same scenarios, the difference in lighting, camera angles, and voice narration. Sang-soo finely represented his influence from French cinema with the incorporation of his own unique style in Korean cinema.

  • Luchinni Mandayo

    Hong Sangsoo’s “Right Now Wrong Then”/”Wrong Now Right Then” is an interesting film dynamic that allows viewers alike to marvel at the different approaches a director can take on a film. As the article states, the differences in the two different versions can be scaled from playful to profound. Hong Sangsoo uses different camera movements, lighting, and even has one filmed with a voice over while the other is not.
    The contrast between the two films is instant, as the first few minutes are almost night and day. The first part, “Wrong Then Right Now”, can be taken as a more reserved and toned down approach to the film, both aesthetically and physically. In the first part, main character Ham Cheon-soo is seen talking to Heejung and the scenery is not well lit. It appears to be a cloudy day and the information of Ham being a famous director comes out from Heejung noticing herself. In comparison, the second part has Heejung and Ham talking in a more sun-lit area, specifically with it beaming on Ham. As Jenkins in the article points out, “One time, he’s gentle and diplomatic; the next, he’s brash and candid”, and this is reflected throughout the whole movie.
    I initially found this film to be entertaining and boring. At first I didn’t like the concept of seeing the same story twice over. However, due to reading the article prior to watching the film, I was able to nitpick and notice all the cool little changes and details made to the film. The vibrancy and color is what really kept my attention on the film and overall it was a great experience.

  • taha

    Right Now, Wrong Then was a low budget film on the different scenarios one can take to approach someone. The scenes had minimal cuts and used one angle throughout conversations, allowing you to feel like you’re truly present within the convo.
    It starts off with a art director, (Ham) who comes from Seoul to Suwon to give a speech about one of his movies. In the midst of that, he comes across a very pretty woman who catches his attention. He starts a conversation and finds out that she is a painter. Getting to know each other, they go get coffee, Yoon takes him to his place, they get drinks, and have a good time. Ham was trying to express his feelings toward Yoon, and she seemed to be invested. Yoon later invites him to one of her friend’ house. Ham meets the individual and starts introducing himself. This whole time, Yoon was never told of Ham’s current love-life. It was basically implied that he is single but Ham seems to have accidently said that he was married and has had a wife since he was 23. As expected, this upset Yoon and when Ham tries to confront her about it, she wants him to leave. When he went to give his lecture the next day, he was very worked up when the subject of “words” came up because him saying all the unnecessary stories to her friends yesterday is what wrecked his chance with Yoon. He then goes back to Seoul, quite disappointed.
    The movie then restarts itself, having Ham play his cards a little different. The beginning scenes of part two felt very similar. But this time, Ham felt more confident and less hesitant. This is likely due to him not faking who he is and being authentic. This time, when they go to get drunk, Ham reveals to Yoon that he is married with two kids. They both realize that they unfortunately cannot be together, but this ending leaves Ham going back home gaining a new friend, instead of being heart broken for a lie.
    The reading mentions how there were many profound differences and upon reading the article, I realized the different lighting mechanics, camera angles, and weather changes. I hadn’t realized those at first, but looking back they provided a different setting and atmosphere.
    This movie showed the psychological thoughts that one can go through when they see someone they’re interested in. It also shows how honesty is usually the best route when it comes to situations with relationships involved, as this film portrayed. Ham had two different outcomes. One in which he tried to reach for a desire he couldn’t which inevitably hurt both Ham and Yoon. The other, having both realize the unfortunate reality, yet still being friends.

  • Tom Atkins

    In Sang-soo Hongs art movie, a married film director falls for a painter. We all have had instances of wanting to go back in time and say or do something different in hopes of a better outcome. This film tries to portray the bundle of emotions that comes with such wishes.
    Ham Cheon-soo arrives a day early to a town that is screening his movie. As he roams around and kills time he meets Yoon Hee-Jeong. From the beginning, you can tell that Ham is interested in Yoon. After she finds out who he is and the two hit it off, they decide to get coffee and talk. There aren’t many camera techniques in this movie. One of the only camera methods used is zooming up to the subjects. It is timed very well with the dialogue in order to enhance the emotions that the characters are feeling. It would zoom in when we find out a secret, one of the characters felt distraught or uncomfortable and such. I also really enjoyed the colors in this film. I think they fit well with the mood in each scene. In the first attempt to seduce Yoon, Ham fails to mention he is a married man. Once the secret is out, Yoons’ opinion of him changes and so do the feelings she thought she had for him. It took Ham a while to get Yoon to lower her walls. Once she finally did she regretted it.
    The second half of the movie is another chance. This time, Ham is way more honest than he was before. You can tell from the beginning, the way he approaches her and asks her out, and the way he comments on her paintings. I believed that because of a different approach this time, there would be a different outcome. There was, but not the one I expected. I thought they would end up together.
    “Hong’s film is not one of the many recent art-films that attempt to submit its characters to their fate. Should the relationship between either version of Han and Yoon ultimately disappoint, the fault is not in their stars.” I agree with this quote from the article the most. Although we saw two people try love not once, but twice, and they still did not end up together shows how life does’t always work out like in the movies.

  • jmartyniouk

    Right Now, Wrong Then by director Hong Sangsoo is one of the most fascinating film I have seen that is told through an interesting narrative plot device. It’s rare to see a movie that tells the same story twice through different perspectives and through different ways but with different endings. Here’s a quote from Michael Smith’s article to further prove my point: ” But wait: halfway through the film, the narrative unexpectedly starts over. The two characters meet again for the first time, only now Cheon-soo is more honest and relaxed. They again visit the same coffee shop, bar and restaurant, but the conversation flows more naturally and the two seem to connect more intimately. By having the same chance meeting play out in two separate realities, Hong offers a whimsical, droll and ultimately profound metaphysical inquiry into the nature of communication. He asks viewers to question how minor variations in word choice and intonation of speech can lead to different outcomes. It’s fun to watch and even more fun to think about afterwards.”
    I agree with this quote as in the first way Director Ham is a gentleman but hid a deep dark secret that he is already married from Yoon that broke her heart and thats why she left him and didn’t want to be friends which is why she didn’t show up to his lecture or film screening. In the second story Director Ham is constantly criticizing Yoon’s paintings and insulting her loneliness and Yoon speaks her mind and is way more emotional than she was in the first version as she express her anger and her sadness. This time Director Ham is more honest and tells her straight up he is already married during an emotional scene at a sushi restaurant that had me in tears. The only mistake he made this time around was stripping naked in front of Yoon’s friends but at least he apologized for his mistake. That’s why Director Ham and Yoon become friends in the true ending.
    I also really love the camera use in this movie. There is a ton of zooms in this movie mostly on Yoon so the viewers can tell how she feels by the look on her face. This movie is mostly told through body language and emotions which helps showcase how different ways of communication leads to different outcomes and that is why this movie is a masterpiece.

  • Vazeer Khan

    Right now, wrong then directed by Hong Sangsoo is one of the most interesting films I’ve ever seen. The camera movements and lighting are what I liked from the two parts of the movie with the same story. I personally don’t like movies that end and start over again. They should’ve separated two parts and made two movies and should’ve added some amazing moments to give like a thrill. Cheon-soo meets Hee-jeong in the movie and starts liking her. Cheon-soo was an honest guy in the movie and probably that’s why he started liking him too. “Ham invites Yoon to a coffee shop, followed by a visit to her studio. Later they eat at a sushi bar, where they get drunk. Then Yoon takes Ham to a small party where two older women extol his films. The night ends when Ham walks Yoon to the home she shares with her mother. In an epilogue set the next day, Ham appears at a screening of one of his movies, the event that brought him to Suwon”(Article). Their relationship started growing and his honesty and work ended up getting a kiss from her. There were some scenes that were lengthy and uncut when they both were having a conversation. It was an interesting movie to watch, but probably not the best one I’ve ever watched.

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