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South Korea, 2012, 89 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Art/Filmmaking, Korean, Romance
Program: Contemporary World CinemaLanguage: Korean English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Sang-soo Hong
Producer: Kim Kyoung HeeEditor: Hahm Sung WonScreenwriter: Sang-soo HongCinematographer: Yune-jeong Jee, Hong-yeol ParkPrincipal Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Kwon Hye Hyo, Jung Yu Mi, So-ri Moon, Moon Sung Keun, Jun-Sang Yu
Writer/director Hong Sang-soo’s amusing cross-cultural character study stars Isabelle Huppert, times three. She plays different French tourists—all named Anne—in a film student’s triptych of scripts exploring how Koreans relate to foreigners and to one another.
In the first, Anne is a famous French filmmaker on holiday in a seaside town with her friend Jongsoo and his very pregnant wife. Jongsoo wants to rekindle a flame with Anne, but she doesn’t reciprocate. The second has Anne as a married woman on holiday alone, meeting a Korean film director for a tryst that is spoiled by his unfounded jealousy. The final episode shows Anne as a recent divorcee whose husband had an affair with his Korean employee. In her malaise, Anne is further confused by a monk’s cryptic advice.
Huppert lends Hong’s relaxed film an international appeal. The characters’ awkward yet amusing exchanges show the strain of being a stranger in a strange land (everyone communicates in English, which is no one’s native tongue), and we see that Anne’s Korean hosts are overeager to show their best. In the end, we’re left feeling that Anne is isolated, even alienated, if superficially polite—epitomizing the unattainable foreigner.
- REBECCA CARO
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