South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo has been a accurate admired at the Berlin Blur Festival for absolutely some time — he won the Best Administrator award-winning there aftermost year for The Woman Who Ran — and he’s aback afresh this year with addition antagonism entry, Introduction. A abstraction of agnosticism and ambiguity in the realms of family, career and amour, this actual abrupt (just 66 minutes) and visually ambrosial black-and-white ball can be a bit confusing, as the writer-director makes little accomplishment to ascertain the characters and their relationships with one another. But it additionally contains some active affectionate scenes, as the principals feel their way against life-defining affections and decisions.
As usual, there is little artifice per se, but rather a advance of scenes that cumulatively acquaint and brighten the states-of-mind and controlling of the capital characters. Some scenes are bigger than others. Exposition doesn’t beggarly abundant to this filmmaker, so sometimes it’s about absurd to be assertive area and alike who the characters are. The allocution is generally absorbing and emotionally revealing, and occasionally rather lame, alike aggravating. Mostly, the characters are aloof aggravating to acquisition and ascertain themselves. (Almost anybody smokes. A lot. You’d anticipate we were still in the 1960s. There are acceptable affidavit Hong is frequently compared to the backward French adept of such cinema, Eric Rohmer.)
Youngho (Shin Seokho) is aloof such an ambiguous adolescent man. He goes to see his physician father, but the closing is too active with a acclaimed amateur accommodating to see his kid. The adolescent fellow’s adherent Juwan (Park Miso) is in early-adult flux, cerebration she ability like to abstraction appearance in Berlin. She does so, and Youngho follows her there to accomplish abiding she comes back. By the time the administrator is done with all these background he’s half-way through his movie. Maybe money was bound or account were.
The ambience for the additional bisected is rather meatier, partly because it’s abundantly set at a littoral resort restaurant in off-season; it’s arctic out, and no one’s there except for Youngho’s mother, her old acquaintance who’s an “acting legend,” Youngho and his buddy. The aliment is said to be great. The amateur promises not to get bashed admitting the actuality that he already is, and he makes the adolescent men vow to break abstaining alike as he plies them with liquor.
Although he’s consistently accepted for his looks and acting potential, Youngho explains to the table that he’s abandonment acting because his aftermost date role complex an all-encompassing kissing arena that he couldn’t go through with because it would be “morally wrong” back he had a austere girlfriend. This attitude unleashes a abuse from the old amateur and exasperates Youngho’s mother, who dismisses her son by saying, “He’s so sensitive.”
A final arena goes deeper, as Youngho and a acquaintance go beyond the alley to the bank and appointment a adolescent woman branch out into the waves. Asked what she’s doing, she replies, “Trying to die, maybe,” abacus that her admirer aloof bankrupt up with her. Youngho himself again plunges into the frigid waters, and the aftermost attempt echoes annihilation so abundant as the freeze-frame afterpiece of The 400 Blows.
Hong writes collections of cogent little scenes like these added than elaborately worked-out dramas in the affected tradition, abrupt chat exchanges that generally blow on analytical affections but leave a acceptable accord unsaid. He acutely believes in beneath is more, except in the cardinal of films he makes. At his best, actuality and elsewhere, he’s able of affecting little assumption endings in a way that’s generally cursory and occasionally feels apathetic but that nonetheless connects, generally back atomic expected.
Even if Introduction feels like aloof that, an appetizer, it still offers up added to bite on than some abounding meals.
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