6 Weeks Continuous Project
< Maybe New Hong Sang-Soo > Week 5
Shinji Aoyama talks about Hong Sang-Soo. Something stun is happening in ”And Then”

Naruyoshi Kikuchi and the Korean movie director Jang Kun-jae have talked about the series project "Each Hong Sang-Soo". This time, film director Shinji Aoyama talks about the latest 4 works and past works together. What has happened with the latest work ”And Then”? This is a discussion on movie director Hong Sang-Soo, which only the director Shinji Aoyama can talk about.


”Right Now, Wrong Then”

Hong Sang-Soo seems to have launched a new axis with ”And Then”. He stopped drawing a film director. For example, the movie director is naked in ”Right Now, Wrong Then” (lol). ”And Then” removed the special position of a film director and made a very common presence as the president of a small publishing company of the main character. There seems to be social status, or probably not. He is making drama from there. Some viewers may think "He ran away", but it seems to me that he got into a new place.

Women have become stronger. He has been making films with strong women, but it got even stronger. It was from ”Claire’s Camera”, that it became completely female first. To me, it switched to something like an independent "women's strength" which is a little different from the past. The strength of the compositional force also changed in ”And Then”. He seems to be trying to make something stronger than before.


”Claire’s Camera”

I watched the first feature film ”The Day a Pig Fell into the Wall”, but I just remember that was rather orthodox. My impression changed with ”Woman on the Beach”. Until then I thought they were movies in the power of production. Actually, it was not different from other (directed) films. That suddenly changed the style with ”Woman on the Beach”. I felt his will to make movies at Synopsys. Good ventilation? Suddenly introducing an expansion like happening in the drama. It must have been the charm of Hong Sang-Soo and his personality.

The final stage of ”And Then” seems like domino toppling. Something stunned is happening. The iteration of the situation is the same as the other movies so far. However, the hero has forgotten the past. I think it is very clever to establish this structure. Repetition leads to forgetfulness. He did it! It makes me think it’s the same way, but it is different. It is like a world comic story of rakugo to melt gradually. Great! I do not know if this can be used again, maybe. Still I wonder how he did it very well.

Speaking of Hong Sang-Soo, it's a strange zoom. Just feeling a certain skill to the zoom at the beginning of ”And Then”. That was a mystery. I wouldn’t like to compare this formalist with other directors, but this person may be seriously interested in Luchino Visconti. Visconti is good at Pasqualino De Santis (photographer/director of ”The Damned”,”Death in Venice”, ”Conversation Piece” and ”The Innocent”) , and it may not feel so much. Here I feel something like the power of the poor in zooming. For example Quentin Tarantino zooms poorly, which is a parody of Hong Kong movies. The zoom of Hong Sang-Soo is not like that. If taking time to cut and configuring it is not something he would dare to. With no time or money, he would not dare. I cannot help feeling "the power of the poor" in the conviction that you can go zooming. The beginning of ”And Then” was a proof of the real zoom.


”On the Beach at Night Alone”

For example, the peculiarity of the theater of ”On the Beach at Night Alone”. Although the heroine freaked out, she started to laugh suddenly, and the atmosphere of the bar changed. That’s about it. His movie always has that lightness. While holding a usual small party, taking it with one cut, it gradually zooms and concentrates on the heroine. That directing seems realistic at first sight, but maybe that was the last phase of the stacking of the haunting zoom. It must be Hong Sang-Soo's camera work. To reach there, and to "get used to it", it is okay to think he has been accumulating a lot of strange zooming. When you notice, getting close to the subject works. As a strategy, for example, there is probably a sense of incompatibility if there is no zooming so far and there is only a zoom there.

I think ”On the Beach at Night Alone” is actually close to ”Night and Day”. ”On the Beach at Night Alone” was a story returning from Hamburg to South Korea, and the latter is also a story from Paris back to South Korea, with a strong metaphor at the end. A mysterious man appears in the ”On the Beach at Night Alone”. Like putting a bad delusion in the heroine straight on to the screen. In other words, previous ideas have been continuously used in ”On the Beach at Night Alone” in making. ”Claire’s Camera” is in the process of change with slight continuation. ”And Then” is getting out of there. A different aspect appears. In the past the repetition of Hong Sang-Soo 's films are something like writing impersonation of what was done, that is to say, confess and repent. However, ”And Then”, the drama develops beyond that iteration. It turns over the drama setting that the forgotten is remembered. Moreover, Kim Min-hee stands only to listen to it. This is a new axis as a way of drawing women. There are things that are unintentionally attracted.

That's fine to shoot a camera on a tripod. It is really trustworthy from the bottom of my heart to see his determined attitude to say with occasional zooming, movies are fine as they are. He is unique as a director and stands out as a formalist. I dare to say Visconti, but instead of inquiring the predecessor, he is a person who should follow Filmography as a single writer. Like watching Pedro Costa's movies, or Leos Carax movies, we watch Hong Sang-Soo's movies. As an audience, he is a rare existence that wants to take such attitude.


”And Then”

Written by:Toji Aida(相田冬二)

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