Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Novelist's Film

In Hong Sang-soo’s
 The Novelist’s Film, now playing at the Bunina famous novelist, Jun-hee (Lye Hye-young), visits another writer, the proprietor of a bookstore/teashop who declares “I don’t write anymore. I doubt if I will do it again” They are joined by another woman who has given up acting to study sign language with which she renders, “The day is still bright, but soon it grows dark." In another encounter the novelist describes herself as lacking in "charisma," employing the word in its English form. The fungibility of languages is an early subplot that foreshadows the promiscuous bartering of lives (a child peering into a shop window is a proto-voyeur). Jun-hee meets a director she hasn’t seen in years. Neither have read or seen each other’s most recent book or movie and vie for attention. All of the characters long for something they don't have and all attempt to get it in awkward encounters--in particular, the one between the novelist and a famous actress Gil-soo (Kim Min-hee) with whom she collaborates on the "novelist's film." 
There's a web of minutiae which make up what's essentially a palette of creative forms. With the exception of one scene, The Novelist's Film is shot in black and white. The movie is comprised almost entirely of slow pans in and out; the claustrophobic settings mirroring the isolation of these dreamers. The scale of The Novelist's Film is much smaller than either Ryusuke Hameguchi's Drive My Car or Bong Joon-ho's Parasite, two recent offerings from major Korean directors, but one can't help remarking on the self-reflexivity and concern with artistic process that characterizes the work of all three directors. The current renaissance of Korean cinema is  reminiscent of the great era of Japanese directors like Ozu, Mizoguchi and Kurosawa.

and read "Drive My Car" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

and also read "Parasite" by Francis Levy, TheScreamingPope

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