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NYFF 2018 Review: “Hotel by the River” (2018) ★★★★


hotelbytheriver

Can someone sense death? Is it possible to feel at some point that the end is coming? This is something not easy to feel, however, it was so real while watching Hong Sang-soo’s latest, “Hotel by the River”, as if the hotel itself was built for the same reason – as farewell to life.

“Hotel by the River” follows a famous poet, Ko Younghwan, who was invited to stay at the hotel named Heimat, by the Han River. Suddenly, without any apparent sign, he becomes obsessed with the thought that he might die soon and invites his estranged sons, Kyungsoo and Byungsoo, to visit him for the very last time. But he gets distracted by two female friends, one of whom tries to recover from a destructive relationship that will eventually inspire the poet to write another masterpiece.

Shot in fascinating black and white, the movie brings its own mood to a level where you as a viewer will be left stunned, if not speechless. All the non-stop dialogues, the discussion about life, revisiting the past, what went wrong and what could be done, “Hotel by the River” delivers the metaphor of life and shows its beauty through the eyes of one person who is quite certain – the end is coming.

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