- 2012 -
Written and directed by Sang-soo Hong
This film is a reflection on creativity, as well as the themes and motifs that make up storytelling, It's seen through the imagination of a troubled young girl writing a screenplay. As devised by the director, multiple movie/stories with the film riff and repeat, play off one another, barely skirting cliche and eventually descending into wish fulfillment and hopefulness. All this is played out by a group of performers who enact the girl's screenwriting. The three scenarios that we see all take place in a coastal town in Korea where a French director, or actress, or women (all played by Isabel Huppert) is visiting and having an affair of different varieties depending on the individual story.
There is a reoccurring bit where she meets lifeguard (a very very funny Jun-Sang Yu) who speaks in broken English as he teeters between seduction, friendship, and dealing with the language. That Huppert is French makes it more amusing. They all grapple in English, while making asides, having arguments and commenting in Korean (which we see translated)
Huppert is dryly brilliant as always and the Korean actors are hysterical. This is as tricky as any Bunuel film. As the dialogue grows more repetative and wooden and cerrtain words repeat it starts to sound like a language tape, but then we go back to understanding this is filtered through the mind of a young girl - not the movie really. "You are so beautiful" characters keep telling Huppert's character. The girl is playing with own self esteem and fantasies.
This is a meta-movie within a movie of the highest order, and brilliantly conceived.