IN ANOTHER COUNTRY
Directed by Hong Sang-soo
Official Selection, 2012 Cannes Film Festival
IN ANOTHER COUNTRY marks Hong Sang-soo’s eighth film featured at the Cannes Film Festival, where he won the Prix Un Certain Regard in 2010. Known for mostly-improvised, inventively-constructed narratives in a unique, comic style, Hong Sang-soo (The Day He Arrives, SDAFF ’11) crafts IN ANOTHER COUNTRY along much the same trajectory. This time out though, Hong strings along venerable French actor Isabelle Huppert for the soju-laced ride; in fact, the film was purportedly conceived so the two could work together.
Huppert plays three different roles in three different stories – all as French tourists visiting a South Korean seaside village. All three characters are named Anne, and all get involved in roundabout (and hysterical) conversations with a local lifeguard. To make things even more playful and self-referential, the characters are conjured up by a bored student filmmaker who passes her time by working on a screenplay.
The film is a masterfully-crafted jazz riff on language (the characters often speak broken English to communicate), monogamy (all stories involve infidelity in some form or another), and Korea’s fetishization of western women (everyone thinks Isabelle Huppert is beautiful). The way characters come in and out of the dreams and also the way scenes and dialogue repeat in each story but in different contexts make the film quite whimsical. Add to that the use of sparse cutting and jokily unmotivated zooms, and we’ve got Hong Sang-soo at his playful best. –Joseph Mangat
Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Yu Jun-Sang, Jung Yu-Mi