‘Facing You’: Hong Sangsoo Paints an Extraordinary Portrait of a Mature Woman Coming Back to Her Roots | Culture

A woman, an actress who emigrated years ago to the United States, returns to South Korea. There, she finds her little sister, visits her childhood home and meets a director who wants to work with her. That’s all that happens on the surface of the new movie Hong Sangsoo cinema. What’s going on underneath, those invisible mechanisms that define human behavior so well, is something only a genius like him can grasp.

In front of you It’s one more step in the solid construction of a filmmaker whose maturity is beginning to give off the aroma of a contemporary classic. The artisanal strategies undertaken years ago by Sangso They allow him to release one film after another, gradually forming an atypical cinematographic ensemble. In just over a decade, Sangsoo has become an island untouched by industrial storms. In front of you, An extraordinary portrait of a mature woman who goes back to her roots, it is written, directed and edited by a filmmaker who also composes the music while his small team – three or four people – plays, produces or does photography. In short, Sangsoo lightens the heavy baggage of cinema thanks to the complicity of a stable company that is increasingly rooted in its creative process.

This time, everything happens in a very organic way in which the actors (how good is veteran actress Lee Hye-young) and the spaces they occupy, with these cross-talks of food and drink, have all the importance. Two sisters meet after a long time and know each other relatively little. With tea and a cake on the table, we guess a certain family account. It is only in their way of sitting that we feel a certain pain and a certain secrecy. Like a furtive walker who lets himself be carried away by chance, Sangsoo brings us closer to the most insignificant details, those which are capable of making nothing into everything. From the stain on a shirt, that little blemish that matters little to the protagonist, to the visit to the family home, where nothing needs to be underlined to guess the pain and the nature of her melancholy. But, without a doubt, the centerpiece of the film is this meal washed down with a lot of alcohol between the director and the protagonist, whose culmination in the rain is of a romanticism so tragic and carried away that it makes your hair stand on end. on end.

The subtle game of seduction and drunkenness of the two characters is of a hyperrealism which appeals more to the poetic than to the exact. With the serenity of a sage, Hong Sangsoo gives us a lesson (although this word does not go well with his cinema) of life through a drunken woman and man in the rain.


Address: Hong Sang-so.

Performers: Lee Hye-young, Cho Yun-hee, Kwon Hae-hyo, Shin Seok-ho.

Genre: drama. South Korea, 2021.

duration: 85 minutes.

Premiere: July 15.

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