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Episode 03: Hong Sang-soo

Featuring Nick Newman

Hong Sang-soo portraitFrom the intro:
“The winning film of this year’s Locarno Film Festival wasn’t filled with famous actors nor was it brashly experimental and highbrow. Instead, it was a quiet film about an arthouse director meeting an artist, hanging out, drinking, flirting, and failing. Then the film starts again, giving the director and artist another chance at some sort of connection. It’s Korean director Hong Sang-soo’s Right Now, Wrong Then, and that pitch is devilishly similar to nearly every film he’s made recently. But, the Hong acolytes couldn’t care less. Since 2005’s Tale of Cinema, Hong’s working scripts have become shorter and shorter, now completing a draft half-an-hour before shooting. Instead of taut, normal narratives, characters are thrown into each other, to be attracted and flung apart, all fueled by how much soju they can drink. His shooting style has also simplified: one camera is now used to capture an entire scene, only able to pan and zoom. However, his films are far from simple. Sometimes scenes are mirrored with different characters or repeated as in Tale of Cinema and 2012’s In Another Country. Sometimes reality is never specified, such as the film-within-a-film in 2010’s Oki’s Movie. Regardless of whatever formal twist he’ll give it, certain cinephiles will always be excited when another 80-minute long Hong comes through the festivals.”

“For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity or perception to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols

Guest Nick Newman is an associate editor of The Film Stage and has recently contributed to The Film Stage, The Village Voice, and Little White Lies.

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The painting above is Edouard Manet’s Chez le Père Lathuille (1879).


Resources


Filmography
Title Year
The Day a Pig Fell into the Well 1996
The Power of Kangwon Province 1998
Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors 2000
On the Occassion of Remembering the Turning Gate 2002
Woman Is the Future of Man 2004
Tale of Cinema 2005
Woman on the Beach 2006
Night and Day 2008
Like You Know It All 2009
Hahaha 2010
Oki’s Movie 2010
The Day He Arrives 2011
In Another Country 2012
Nobody’s Daughter Haewon 2013
Our Sunhi 2013
Hill of Freedom 2014
Right Now, Wrong Then 2015

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