DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema
Director - Hong Sang-soo - 2022

"Greasy movie"
Festival darling Hong Sang-soo presents a meditation on the life of the filmmaker; his style remains as conversational and spontaneous as ever - live from San Sebastian

QUICK SNAP: LIVE FROM SAN SEBASTIAN

The latest feature by one of South Korea’s (and perhaps the world’s) most prolific filmmakers is a highly confessional and seemingly autobiographical piece of drama. Well-know Korean filmmaker Byung-soo (Kwon Hae-hyo) and his art student daughter encounter the older, friendly and deeply curious Ms. Kim (Lee Hye-young) at the entrance of the recently renovate building of which she’s the landlady. The three enjoy a meal together, where the young woman reveals her interior design ambitions, while the director shares his most intimate secrets and frustrations. Byung-soo is obviously’s Sang-soo’s very own proxy.

Byung-soo constantly complains about the nature of the film industry. He claims that it is ruled by greedy investors with little interest in the artistic merit of the films. Cinema costs a lot of money, and the contents of a movie have to be arduously negotiated both before and after filming. He also questions the point of film festivals, a comment which evokes laughter from the crowds. There is a constant struggle between money and creative freedom.The middle-aged director confesses that he longs for a break. Perhaps two years without making a movie. Is this a hint that Sang-soo might be about to start a respite? Fortunately for us, Byung-soo soon changes his mind. He now wants to make no less than the 12 films on the Jeju Island, Korea’s largest and highly mystical island.

His daughter claims to be a huge fan of her father, yet is unable to name her favourite film, even after her father presses her for an answer. She enjoys the fact that his movies are highly conversational and realistic. This is naturally a reference to Sang-soo’s extensive portfolio and highly convivial filming style, reminiscent of Nouvelle Vague auteur Eric Rohmer. I myself have seen about 10 films by Hong Sang-soo, I have enjoyed most of them, yet I can barely remember their titles let alone the storyline.

The focus of Walk Up is on spontaneous conversation and commensality. About 70% of the film takes place around the dinner table. The camera remains static and non-intrusive, allowing most of the conversation to flow freely and without inhibitions. I doubt that these interactions are scripted. Characters drink a copious amount of wine, eat meat and smoke cigarettes as they share anecdotes, banal pearls of wisdoms, but also their most sincere emotions. There is no conflict. The food and the drinks are lighthearted and easily digestible, much like the film per se. Watching a Hong Sang-soo film is much much like having dinner out with a group of friends: it’s mostly relaxed and enjoyable, yet you will barely remember the details the following day (particularly if the meal was washed down with the same amount of alcohol as in the film).

Conspicuous in her absence is Sang-soo long-time lover and muse Kim Minm-hee, who has starred in nearly all of the director’s recent films. Instead, she appears as production director. She sat beside the director during the film screening at the impressive Kursaal, San Sebastian’s largest and most prestigious movie theatre.

Walk Up is showing in the Official Competition of the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival/ Donostia Zinemaldia. Sang-soo is accustomed to winning top prizes at a-list film festivals across Europe, and it wouldn’t be surprise if he snatched an award or two.



"Greasy movie"

By Victor Fraga - 23-09-2022

By Victor Fraga - 23-09-2022

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based writer with more than 15 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a dirty Latin immigran...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
A small family of four lives in a [Read More...]
Another year has gone by, and DMovies is [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]

Read More

Have a Nice Day (Hao Ji Le)

Liu Jian
2017

Victor Fraga - 17-02-2017

When the capitalistic dreams of the Chinese turn into a bloody nightmare - this filthy animation is a delightful surprise now in UK cinemas [Read More...]

On the Beach at Night Alone (Bamui Haebyun-Eoseo Honja)

Hong Sang-soo
2017

Victor Fraga - 16-02-2017

Korean indie director examines the love life of a famous actress taking some time out, and achieves something previously deemed impossible - from the BFI London Film Festival [Read More...]

Claire’s Camera (Keul-Le-Eo-Ui Ka-Me-La)

Hong Sangsoo
2017

Victor Fraga - 21-05-2017

Korean film set in Cannes and starring Isabelle tells a very plain and yet moving story, with a very French flavour à la Eric Rohmer to it - showing on July 23rd as a teaser of the London Korean Film Festival [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *