In Another Country

With a Rhomer-like freshness, South Korean director Hong Sangsoo delivers a series of irresistible and charming skits about the adventures of a French woman and a Korean lifeguard. These romantic variations come from the imagination of a young writer whose family is ruined and struggling. She finds refuge in her writing and her characters come to life in this tasty comedy.

In Another Country is a pretty cheerful change of direction for the filmmaker. The fun he has, putting the Isabelle Huppert character in perilous situations, is quite contagious. Renowned for her extreme performances, the actress exhibits here her youthful grace and lightness. She flirts with a big guy who sings to her, scares a future father and wanders, her slender figure and foreign looks contrasting with the environment.

The dialogues are filled with voids due to the language barrier. The humor of these situations comes from cultural differences and the difficulty to be understood – for example, this absurd scene where she asks the lifeguard for the location of a lighthouse, the latter eventually ending up asking her the same question. The characters’ awkwardness makes them wildly endearing. Later on, just like a teenager that would be ashamed, she ignores him while her friends are around. The following days, she however goes see him.

Using this basic structure, Mr. Sangsoo transposes his plot in various settings, switching roles but always keeping the romance between the 2 characters as a recurring theme – the way they meet will always vary though. In another story, Isabelle plays a French director who, after waiting in vain for her lover in a beach house, goes for a walk and ends up running into the lifeguard.

Mr. Sangsoo, as we know it, likes to place directors in movies-within-a-movie, with a strong dose of creativity and imagination. In Another Country is a tribute to films as vehicles for romantic encounters. The director films the miracle of these unique moments, which are recreated multiple times. For the filmmaker, this is a love story that never ceases to repeat itself in different modes and his joy is communicative.

Director: Hong Sangsoo – Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Yu Junsang – Running time: 1:31 – Year: 2012 – Country: South Korea

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Sandrine Marques

Sandrine Marques

Sandrine is a French freelance journalist who lives in Paris and writes passionnally about cinema.
Sandrine Marques

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