Nobody’s Daughter Haewon
Hong Sangsoo’s gentle, melancholic comedy focuses on listless Seoul student Haewon and tilts at bathos and self-delusion with wit and charm.
Why does Seoul student Haewon keep dozing off? Is she depressed by her mother’s departure for Canada? Tired of her relationship with her teacher, the fickle – and married – filmmaker Seongjun? Will the events of the coming weeks rouse her from her listlessness, or will she carry on dreaming. With its focus on fraught male-female relationships, mix of gentle comedy and meditative melancholia, and playful way with narrative repetition and fragmentation, this is clearly a Hong Sangsoo film. That it’s related, like In Another Country (which played in last year’s LFF), from a woman’s point of view makes little discernible difference to Hong’s view of human foibles: the various men hitting on Haewon are again prone to bathos and self-delusion, while she herself is as insecure and indecisive as Delphine in Rohmer’s The Green Ray. Like that patience-trying heroine, she’s rightly regarded with bemusement and compassion – wherein lie the film’s wit and charm.
Hong Sangsoo made an astounding debut in 1996 with his first feature film, The Day a Pig Fell Into the Well. Since then Hong has consistently enjoyed using a complex and highly ordered architecture, under a seemingly random surface created by spontaneous circumstances, in depicting the characters in his films. Renowned for his unique cinematographic language and unprecedented aesthetics in filmmaking, Hong Sangsoo is considered one of the most established auteurs in contemporary Korean cinema.
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