London Korean Film Festival
There is a sequence at the centre of Hong Sangsoo's economic enigma where a writer (most of the characters here are writers, actors or both) is seen repeatedly going up and down a staircase. Her indecision, catching her in a strange limbo between here and there, might as well serve as the key motif and mood of this slippery, ambiguous film. Different characters drift in and out of a back-alley cafe in Seoul, looking for new inspiration or accommodation, speaking of their hopes and regrets - while A-reum (Hong's regular muse Kim Minhee) eavesdrops on their conversations, typing up her observations into what she describes as "sort of a diary, but not a diary." Episodic, meandering and offering the mere ghost of a narrative, the film, too, is neither this nor that - but the apparent simplicity of Hong's monochromatic long takes conceals a theatricalised artifice whose players may merely be A-reum's fictions, or even lost souls.