Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors

The cinematic trend of older man/younger woman fetish fantasies is parodied and exposed in Hong's dryly engaging third film. Jules and Jim filtered through Seoul and soju, Virgin recalls the playful feel of early Rohmer or Truffaut, complete with impressive black-and-white lensing and a spirited disregard for narrative convention. Soo-jung is an attractive television writer “torn” between two men: her alternately downtrodden or overbearing-but always married-boss Young-soo, and his friend Jae-hoon, a wealthy gallery owner. The story of Jae-hoon and Soo-jung's courtship is told from each of their perspectives in turn. His recollections remain peppered with references to his fancy sports car; hers are, needless to say, quite different. Both versions, though, involve a blur of increasingly drunken dinners, dates, and fateful meetings. Proving that anywhere alcohol goes, love stumbles, Virgin (named after a Marcel Duchamp work) uncorks lines like “How about if I be your girlfriend only when you drink?” to cynically unveil the truth and confusion behind love and desire.

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