London Korean Film Festival
Never released in the UK, LKFF regular Hong Sangsoo’s debut heralded a striking new international voice back in 1996. Here, Hong follows four people in their 30s through the streets of Seoul. Disillusionment slowly takes hold of this 80s generation who fought for political freedom, only to now find themselves adrift in an unrecognisable brave new world. Consumerism, vanity and selfishness are the order of the day, a mere decade later. Unprecedented in both his domestic success and formal invention, Hong has been central to Korean cinema ever since. While quite different in style to his later more minimalist films, what is immediately apparent in this debut is Hong’s ability to put very real human beings, warts and all, onscreen. Hong’s trademark self-deprecating compassion uncannily generates a wistful magic. Profound meaning is conjured out of the thin air of everyday living. A landmark in Korean cinema.