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Recensioni
Grass
Hong Sang-soo Corea del Sud, 2018
In the more than 30 years since he directed his first feature, the South Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo has refined his seemingly rudimentary style to the extent that it can deliver some surprisingly elaborate effects.
April 18, 2019
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This precise and highly constructed composition has the impulsiveness and the daring of improvisation—as if the screen were a white page on which Hong were sketching in black ink with no chance of erasures or corrections.
April 18, 2019
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Its pleasures––the crisp black-and-white photography, the way DP Kim Hyung-koo films people talking to one another, Hong’s alternately funny and incisive dialogue, a young couple heatedly arguing and then gradually reconciling while Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major plays on the café stereo––are genuine and abundant.
October 12, 2018
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It’s an actor’s exercise reminiscent of Joaquin Phoenix windows-to-wall bit in The Master, in which seemingly purposeless repetitive motion yields some private enlightenment.
October 02, 2018
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Hong has taken the familiar elements of his work and exploded them, fashioning a kind of lonely cinematic cubism.
August 31, 2018
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One of those charming minimalist exercises that the Korean auteur pops out with seeming effortlessness in between masterpieces—a “minor Hong,” to use festival parlance. . . . It would be a serious downer if it weren’t for Hong’s customary levity, which here often finds expression through the classical music constantly playing in the café where most of the non-action takes place.
April 04, 2018
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With its laconic pacing, voyeuristic zooms, and badinage between despondent men and women, Grass fits comfortably within Hong’s aesthetic; thematically, it again explores the ontological pain of everyday existence, and the tumult that rises between lonely souls. In quotidian imagery — a half-empty cup of coffee, a cigarette smoked alone, a MacBook in a coffee shop window — Hong finds poetry.
February 28, 2018
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The result is an exquisite hangout movie whose probing, sardonic approach to character and conversation treads familiar terrain for the increasingly prolific Korean director. Indeed Hong confronts this would-be criticism head-on, with Jung Jinyoung’s filmmaker voicing his fears about “recycling material”. Yet though its themes aren’t exactly experimental, its slim 66-minute running time is, dispensing with the arbitrary idea that a fully formed film need fit neatly within the 90-minute model.
February 26, 2018
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The film raises countless engaging questions (see below). It feels as if it takes place over the course of a single afternoon and evening, but out in front of the café, a pot with young sprouts is shown in a later shot to be flourishing with full-grown leaves. I’ll freely admit to being both stumped and captivated by this latest collaboration between Hong and Kim, a project that seems to be growing darker with each new chapter.
February 18, 2018
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Hong’s willful disinterest in the absurd requirements that world-renowned filmmakers must continually produce bigger, more ambitious films makes him one of the most unabashedly honest and modest of contemporary auteurs. . . . A brief but truly unexpected use of lens focus and shadowplay, for this usually formally minimalist director, ripples with uncertainty. Whatever state of existence Grass is taking place on, one thing is for certain: It’s Hongian playfulness of surprisingly soulful intrigue.
February 16, 2018
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Without reinventing the Hong wheel even a little bit, “Grass” is a deceptively potent entry in the canon, a thimbleful of purest, concentrated Hong-brand soju. It may be yet another series of two-way or three-way conversations, that take place in a shared public space over cups of coffee and, later, stiffer drinks. But it’s almost as though those elements have become generic constructs in Hong’s work, so familiar from other titles of his that here they require no set up or explanation.
February 16, 2018
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