Aging poet Ki Joo-bong (the second section of Grass) arranges to meet his grown sons – Kwon Hae-hyo (film director of In Front of Your Face) and Yu Jun-sang (film director of The Day He Arrives). Only one of them is playing a film director in this movie and I’ve forgotten which. The other is going through a divorce which he’s hiding from dad, who wants to tell his estranged family that he feels he doesn’t have much time left.
Meanwhile upstairs, Kim Min-hee and her friend Song Sun-mi (also her friend in The Woman Who Ran) have been through some stuff and are hiding from the world, resting and getting hungrier. Both groups will finally move to a restaurant down the road where the soju keeps flowing, and the dad’s dark prediction will prove correct soon after.
Hotel by the River marks a turn in the director’s work, away from his preoccupation with male-female relationships and toward questions of family and lineage. Instead of observing ridiculous men embarrassing themselves in thwarted romantic misadventures, here we are seeing the wreckage that bad men leave in their wake.