Vancouver Premiere

“[A] sliver of light and delight … The joy of his elusive movie-morsels is that the more one puzzles over their uneven surfaces, the more they glow, like polished pebbles.”

Jessica Kiang, Variety

Few filmmakers tackle the what’s it all for?” of life quite like Hong Sangsoo, whose briskly-made, conversational movies feel spun around big questions gnawing at the director in real time. His 30th feature film and second of 2023 (the other, in water, screened here in January) finds the Korean auteur in a tender and particularly ponderous mood, staging parallel stories that, while never intersecting, echo each other in tantalizingly indirect ways. Sangwon (Kim Minhee) is a successful but dissatisfied actor, recently returned to Seoul and staying with a friend (Song Sunmi) and her cat companion. Uiju (Ki Joobong) is an aging poet with a heart condition, who has stumbled upon late-career success with a generation of young fans. As they each entertain visitors and introspect on a life in art, subtle connections start to emerge in their alternating, ostensibly discrete narratives. Hong here makes unusual but enriching use of expository intertitles, a new conceit for the never-idle director.

In Korean with English subtitles

“[Hong] followers will enjoy its elusive felicities and love puzzling over its enigmatic gaps.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen International

A slippery yet captivating inquiry into the search for meaning, connection, and artistic satisfaction … Hong delightfully evokes a world rich with enigma and possibility.”

NYFF 2023