The little girl is beautiful and shining in “In Front of Your Face” (Dangsin-Eolgul-Apeseo). The 11th film by South Korean writer and director Hong Sangsu.
Who was invited to Cannes. An easily overlooked film with its subtlety tells the story of one day in the life of a middle-aged actress. Who, at a step pregnant between life and death.
He agrees to meet a somewhat goofy film director at a coffee shop. Typical of Hong’s work, the casual storytelling makes everyday life run slowly.
And without incident until the revelation in the last act gives the film meaning. Fans at the festival will surely love it. But newbies must be careful: it takes patience to get to the hidden truths. But they are as clear as Zen Koan.
To say that Hong is a prolific director is an understatement:
His creative achievements in mid-2021 include the current arc in the new part. Premiering at Cannes and the 66-minute play “Introduction”. Which is awarded “Silver Bear” for best screenplay at the Berlinale February.
Hong worked with professional performers. And is involved in directing, scriptwriting, camera work. And even composing music in famous one-person shows. Respecting his methods and skills, this film. While limited to a few modest sets around Seoul, has a pleasingly professional-quality look.
Sangok (played by Lee Heung, a prominent South Korean actress from the 1980s). Visits her sister in Korea and sleeps on the sofa. After living in United States(USA) for many years, quitting acting for modest jobs, he returned home on one rare visit. The central tension comes with his sister (Cho Yonghi) on a morning walk.
And attentive viewers notice that he seems to be holding back something while talking. We heard their thoughts: “This moment is a gift; Paradise. “He tries to live consciously in the present without interfering with the past or the future.
That philosophy was put to the test. When she pours a drop of soup at her nephew’s noodle shop. And dyed her elegant pale pink blouse. His brother thought he should change clothes with the principal before lunch. But Sangok let him go because his appearance was not significant.
The meandering dialogue between the sisters has an improvised authenticity and brings out their stark contrasting characters. Sangok has a Zen-like mind and reflects everything he does; Sister Yeonok looked surprised to herself every time she thought about it. Like the sudden realization that they barely knew each other.
The truth appears on the main stage, which is in an empty bar:
Between Sangok and the director (played by Kwon Haehyo from Hong Kong). It was their first meeting, and he awkwardly expressed his deep admiration. For his performance in the old movie he liked.
They were alone – he knew the owner. And had been given the key to the lock they were both very drunk in Soju. Then Sangok revealed why he couldn’t make a film with her. As they left the bar, the rain suddenly hit them, so no one cared.
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But the real insight into the film came early the following day. Sangok and his sister are waiting for the director to pick them up. He offers to take a quick trip together so he can take their picture. (He also admits that he has more personal interests.)
When Sangok wakes up, he finds a message on his phone, which causes him to explode with a loud bang. We see her point of view. And we are strengthened in our understanding of her as an amazingly centred woman. Who, as she says, has seen reality. She is there, Right In Front of Your Face.