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In Another Country

January 22, 2016

In Another Country (2012)
Director: Hong Sang-soo
Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Yoo Jun-sang, Kwon Hae-Hyo

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Synopsis: A young Korean screenwriter, struggling for money, invents three stories about a mature French woman, Anne (Isabelle Huppert), coming to a sleepy Korean seaside town…

Review: This slight and insubstantial Korean riff on a Lost in Translation style scenario is a work that won’t linger long in the memory, though at the very least it does provide one or two bizarre comic diversions and showcases a hitherto underdocumented corner of the globe (namely, a quiet Korean coastal town).

The humour is very wacky and East Asian: mimicking the European woman’s vanity at her pedestalisation by the Koreans, the Koreans’ gawky and deferent attitude to her, and there’s a play on the general inscrutability of the Korean sensibility to Western eyes. Hong Sang-soo tries to create an ironic narrative tapestry, à la Woody Allen’s Melinda and Melinda, in having the same scenario of Anne coming to Mohang play out multiple times only with marginally tweaked raw materials each time. Sadly, the film is in such an unassuming, minor key, it’s almost instantly forgettable, although if nothing else, it does hint at the presence of an unusual, eccentric filmmaker with his jarring use of sharp pans and focuses, plus a nice feel for photography. (January 2016)

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