Huh Moon Young, HONG SANG SOO

Seoul, Korean Film Council, 2007 (Kindle edition)

This is a useful introduction to Hong Sang Soo's films, accompanied by an interview with the director.

Huh underlines his formation and some of his foreign sources, confirmed by the interview, in particular his early reading of Roberto Bresson's Notes on Cinematography, and his interest in Cezanne's paintings. He was partly influenced by Neorealism. His favourite directors are Ozu Yasujiro, Louis Bunuel, Carl Dreyer, Eric Romero. He appreciates Gide, Chekhov, Dostoevsky, Hemingway, Camus and Sartre.

Huh sets his work against the background of "the Asian Minimalist school", comprised of directors such as Taiwan Hou Hsiao Hsien and Japan Kitano Takeshi, and assigns Hong high "potential and individuality" within this movement.

Hong's dialogues are often improvised by actors on a general script. He directs their positions and repeats postures to underline moments in the script. "Objects take on meanings other than their customary ones in Hong's films". He states that he denies clichés and pursues "cute things".

His general purpose is "to show the incoherent and fragmented nature of human life as it is". As he says himself: "I believe my films are not made to express a story, but to feature some fragments".

[Roberto Bertoni]