South Korean master Hong Sang-soo crafts yet another delightful, soju-saturated tale of love thwarted, in this story of a heartsick Japanese man who travels to Seoul to attempt a reunion with the woman he still pines for.
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+1 extra star for the "dream" pastille: that single light touch manages to wipe off the stupid zoom-ins, the awkwardness bearing the stamp of Swanberg as if he filtered Rohmer through his style and wore the corrupt product w/ anti-elitist pride (Adibas, Nokea, Rowmer, Swineberg), and apparently teases sardonically our all-accepting, hypersensitized, indiscriminating multiculti notions: these guys are wacko but that's
Hong's take on globalization. Though soju is still consumed, it is the wine bottles that stand out in the mise-en-scène. It is the American who communicates most fluidly and aptly with the local people. Culture has become an aesthetic rather than a geography, an aesthetic which people consume and appropriate, in ways that vastly simplify their true nature.
English as a global lingua franca and the awkwardness of its (mis)communication is surprisingly unexplored territory in Hong's oeuvre. I wager we'll see more films in the vein of Hill of Freedom and In Another Country.
Seemingly light and fluffy, but with a lot going on behind the scenes (the American café owner, the indebted Korean nephew, etc.). The usual Sang-soo tropes are on display, but I'm game as long as he keeps using them to great effect like he does here.
Lo atractivo de Sang-soo es que siempre reinventa sus modos para armar su trama. Están los cambios de tiempo. Su filme luce como una especie de rompecabezas, pero que no necesariamente le otorga una complejidad dramática. Algunas piezas incluso (como su secuencia final) parecen solo completar lo que ya se daba por aludido. "Hill of freedom" es un retrato más sobre el melodrama, la infidelidad, alcohol y comida.