South Korean cinema’s radically banal Hong Sang-soo
Terrifying techno thrillers or grisly horror flicks are the more familiar face of South Korean cinema today, but one of its star directors, Hong Sang-soo, in the French capital this week, looks instead at daily banalities and their cruel and comical details.
“Life is too complicated to be interpreted in an ideological way,” he told AFP ahead of his master-class at Paris’ Cinémathèque, which is holding a retrospective of his work this month and screening his tenth feature, the Cannes-winning “Ha Ha Ha”.
“Most conclusions are lies,” he said, explaining the absence of political talk or context in his films, often set in or around Seoul and focused on fraught emotional relationships between thirty-something writers, artists, businessmen and teachers.
“It is always a tiny but concrete thing from reality that shakes my convictions, and it is precisely this discovery in itself that interests and stimulates me the most.”